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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Goose Girl - Shannon Hale

Read for the Young Adult Reading Challenge

The Goose Girl is an expanded version of the fairy tale where a princess is sent to marry the prince of a neighboring kingdom, but on her way there, the princess’s maid steals her identity and the princess is forced to work as a goose girl. Eventually, events conspire to reveal her true identity, and the true princess marries the prince.

Shannon Hale’s story is a lovely retelling, easily as enjoyable as any of Robin McKinley’s fairy tale retellings. In this story, the princess, named Ani, is sent away from her kingdom to marry a neighboring prince because her mother does not believe she has the necessary gifts to rule the kingdom. And while it’s true that Ani doesn’t possess the magical gift of people-speaking (an ability many monarchs have that gives their words special weight), she does possess the far rarer gift of speaking to animals, and to the wind.

After Ani’s maid Selia and her henchmen overpower the loyal guards on their trip to the neighboring kingdom of Bayern, Ani escapes and is able to find work as the goose girl of the royal flock. Her unique abilities, as well as her hiding place among the common people of Bayern, put her in a position to give valuable information to the king to stop a war that Selia tries to bring to cover her origins.

I definitely enjoyed this book. I’d had it on my Amazon wish list for a while, and went in and flagged everything else by the author. (There’s actually a sequel to the Goose Girl, which definitely looks worth reading.)


Rhinoa said...

I am really looking forward to reading this either this month or next month. I keep seeing recommendations for Shannon Hale and this will be my first book by her. Thanks for letting me know about the sequel.

Megan said...

This was my first book of hers as well. (Though I do have Austenland on the list for another challenge.) I'll definitely be reading more.

Joy said...

I think there's actually three in this series and this is the only one I have read thus far. I was surprised to enjoy it as much as I did. I have Book of a Thousand Days on my list to read soon.

Megan said...

Interesting. I saw Enna Burning (Burning Brightly? Something to that effect), but none of the others on Amazon looked related. I'll have to go back when I have a moment and check it out.

Joy said...

I could be wrong, but it's been my understanding that the series goes like this:

The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets

Also, I'm not sure what kind of series it is. They could be more like companion books.

Megan said...

I'll have to go track down River Secrets. I don't think I saw that on Amazon. And I did notice that they called Enna Burning a companion book, although it does look like Ani has a role in it.

alisonwonderland said...

my daughters have read all three books in the "set" - i've yet to read them, but i'm definitely going to read them at some point. nice review! (i did read my first Shannon Hale book earlier this year - Princess Academy, which i loved!)

Nymeth said...

I have a copy of this book and I will get to it in the next few weeks. I'm looking forward to it even more after your great review!

Stephanie said...

I just added this book to my Once Upon a Time challenge list! I read Austenland recently and really enjoyed it - I can't wait to read The Goose Girl!