“The Goose Girl” by Shannon Hale
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
The book has a bit of a pacing problem. I liked the beginning of the book. The set up was nice. The middle dragged a bit for my taste. It does build the world and make the characters seem real but it definitely could be more exciting. The end definitely makes up for the slowness of the middle. I could feel the tension of everything coming together. I was just as anxious as any of the characters.
I am completely in love with royal drama. It’s so fun and exciting! The take over happens so smoothly, I had to sit back and stare at the book in horror. Hale was able to completely draw me in and I was just as upset and confused as Ani. I haven’t read the original Goose Girl story by the Grimm Brothers but that didn’t hinder me from enjoying the book.
The characters were realistic for the most part. I actively hated Selia. Ani is a decent character. I initially disliked her because she came off as a bit spoiled but when you scrape away all the princessness she’s a good girl at heart. Geric is pretty sweet. He has a very gentle nature so you can’t help but develop a fondness of him. I wasn’t thrilled by the names in the book. I always have a really hard time keeping up with who everyone is in books where the characters have difficult names. It took me quite a while but I think I was able to keep everyone straight in my head.
The bottom line? I really liked it. I think I would have loved it if the middle hadn’t been dragging.