Archive | April, 2012

The Goose Girl – Shannon Hale

20 Apr

Series: The Books of Bayern, #1
ISBN: 9781582349909
Genre: Fantasy – Fairytale Retelling

Audience: Middle Grade / YA

Overall Rating: 8/10

When Princess Ani develops the ability to communicate with animals, her mother decides to send her away to be the queen of a foreign land. Ani never makes it that far. Betrayed by her guard, Ani is left to fend for herself and takes a job as a goose girl in the palace where she was meant to be queen. As she devises a plan to take back her crown, she befriends the eclectic mix of common workers who provide her with a life she didn’t know she could have. But she learns that while it might be difficult to prove who she is to the king and the prince she was meant to marry, finding who she is will be a different challenge altogether.

First off, I want to say that I’ve been meaning to read this book for years but never picked it up. It was well worth the wait. The Goose Girl is based on the story of the same name by the Brothers Grimm and is every bit as magical as could be hoped. While I’d never read the fairy tale and can’t vouch for how well it stuck to or contributed to the fairytale, I can say that the plot was enjoyable.

That said, I did see the little twists and turns coming. The plot was not at all surprising to me, but it was one of those that didn’t bother me because the book was well written and had wonderful characters to back it up. Really, the predictability of the plot was what dragged the score down more than anything else, and you see that the score isn’t that low. I’m definitely going to read the sequels. In fact, I’m about twenty pages into the second one.

Though Ani wasn’t, perhaps, my favorite of main characters, she was an effective and efficient one. I liked her realistic view of the world, and her willingness to accept a Goose Girl position was done in a realistic and intelligent manner. That is, there was no expected whining as one might get when dealing with a princess-turned-goose girl, nor was there an unrealistic automatic acceptance. Ani slid into her new role gracefully but naturally.

The other characters were the most fun. Enna, Geric, Conrad—I even liked Ani’s mother. All of them provided a fun, eccentric cast that made for an interesting book.

The setting was one of my very favorite parts of this book. The world is brought to life in vivid descriptions that made me feel like I was in Kildenree and Bayern. Each country had its quirks which pushed the story further. And like I said, it was all gorgeously described. I could find no fault with it.

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