Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me a review copy of this book.
The newest edition and the cover
that I have.
Princess Anidori spends the first years of her life listening to her aunt's enthralling stories. Little does she realise how valuable her aunt's strange knowledge will be when she grows older. At the age of sixteen Ani is told that she must leave her homeland to marry someone she has never met. But fate has much worse in store for he in this original and magical tale of a girl who must understand her own incredible talent before she can overcome those who wish her harm. A story of betrayal, jealousy and romance.
My review and thoughts
I thought that I knew the story of the original Brother's Grimm fairytale from the Ladybird books I used to read when I was very small but it turned out that my vague memories of this did not match up to the story so I think I was remembering something different.
I decided to read The Goose Girl on one of the last days of the October school holiday week when I was feeling a bit tired and fed up of being in the house all day and I discovered a wonderful escape.
I was introduced to Anidori, a young Princess who is gifted with being able to speak to animals after spending time with ad being her Aunt in early childhood. Ani feels foolish and insecure as she is shy and unable to converse uneasily with others without feeling awkward unlike her imperial mother The Queen and her lady in waiting Selia.
Soon after the death of her father, Ani is told that she will not become Queen by her mother and is sent to the land of Bayen to marry its Prince accompanied by her guards and lady in waiting. Yet it turns out that she does not know who she can trust and who would readily betray her for their power greediness.
Ani is a very relateable character and it was lovely to feel like I was accompanying her on her journey through hardship and sorrow, pain and joy in a quest of self discovery and to gain justice. Despite her anxious surface, Ani is really a strong character inside who will rise readily to challenges that involve bringing about justice and helping her friends. Ani's romance is adorable too although I won't give anything away about it!
What I loved about this book the most is that although it is fantasy to its very heart, Shannon Hale's writing made it seem completely real and true as though the lands of Bayern and Kildenree really exist. This is something I have rarely encountered and believe is the mark of a truly talented author.
The reason for this is her beautifully eloquent and evocative language that is at times also poetic but it is not in the typical fairy tale language of 'fluttering fairies' and 'happily ever afters' but dramatic and full of built up suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat. There is even a battle scene near the end creating a tense atmosphere.
My favourite part of the book was near the end because that is when I felt the secondary characters came to life the most for me and their emotions jumped out the page. I won't give any spoilers about this though!
The Goose Girl has all the ingredients needed for a page turning fairy tale retelling and enchanted me with a tale set in two magical lands that tell of enchanting powers. I can't wait to read the rest of the series now, which follows the stories of secondary characters in this book!
I would recommend the Goose Girl to anyone who loves escaping to another world in a book, particularly children and teenagers.
Stephanie (Books Are A Girl's Best Friend)