As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

April 28, 2011

THE GOOSE GIRL by Shannon Hale, 2003

The Goose Girl (Books of Bayern)Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani's journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny. (Amazon)

Reviewed by Shelby N, bookworm extraordinaire

Most fairy tale retellings that are on the bookshelves of the nation are exactly that.  They are retellings.  Sometimes you cannot even tell what fairy tale the author started out with.  Not with Shannon Hale!  Instead of retelling a fairy tale, she creates one.

As you can guess from the title, the story Mrs. Hale chose to retell is 'The Goose Girl'.  This story takes place in the fictional cities of Bayern and Kildenree.  The main character is the Crown Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, or just Ani or Isi.  The story tells of her journey, not just to a foreign land, but also of her journey into finding herself.  Ani grows up with birds and horses as her friends, as she can converse with them.

After having her mother rob her of her right as future queen, she is sent to distant Bayern to marry a Prince she has never met.  True to the original story, Ani's lady-in-waiting over powers Ani, and tells the King and Prince of bayern that she is the Crown Princess, leaving Ani as a goose girl.  With the help of many new friends, who know her as Isi, some geese, an unexpected love, and her newfound powers over wind, Ani defeats her lady-in-waiting and reclaims her title of Princess.

'The Goose Girl' is not a fairy tale retelling in which the plot barely resembles the original story.  Instead, it dives into the story and deepens the plot.  The original tale may leave readers asking 'Why?' or 'How?'.  Mrs. Hale fixes these problems with imaginative ideas.  One thing I did not like about the original 'Goose Girl' was that the prince Ani weds loves the false Princess, but the minute she is charged of being a traitor, loves the real Princess.

Mrs. Hale cleverly comes up with a solution!  Whereas many fairy tale retellings I have read are sometimes choppy to read, this wonderful story is easy to read.  With beautiful sentences, strong characters, and a wonderful plot, this is a must read for all fans of fantasy!

Market: Young Adult
Language: None
Sensuality: None
Violence: Mild
Mature Themes: Death

Book formats:

To learn more about the author, visit: Shannon Hale


Anonymous said...

This is one of my all-time FAVORITE books--an essential for any fiction lover's library, in my opinion! Shannon Hale really is such a terrific writer! Thanks for this great review, Shelby.

Alix said...

I really must get this book, I've heard only wonderful things about it. Thanks for the great review.