Cassie's Reviews > The Goose Girl

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
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Aug 07, 08

bookshelves: fairytale, ya-fantasy

Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee was born the Crown Princess of Kildenree, but her mother didn’t feel she was fit to rule and instead arranged a marriage with a neighboring kingdom, passing the title on to Ani’s brother. Ani was always a strange child, she didn’t open her eyes for the first three days after her birth, and her aunt taught her to speak with birds. It’s no wonder her mother didn’t feel that someone who could be considered a witch should sit on the throne. So off Ani goes with her Lady-in-Waiting Selia to be married to the prince of Bayern, in order to bring peace to the two neighboring kingdoms.

On her journey, Ani is betrayed by Selia and soon finds herself alone in a foreign land, with Selia’s guards hunting for her and her former Lady-in-Waiting stealing her name. Taking a job as a goose girl (a girl who cares for the king’s geese) puts a roof over her head and allows her to save up money to return home and tell her mother of the betrayal. That is, until she finds out war’s coming and she no longer has time to return home, but must instead take back her name and her heritage to protect her kingdom.

This is the first Shannon Hale book that I’ve read, and I now understand why everyone’s been singing her praises. The story was well-crafted and captivating, and I immediately wanted to go out and buy the next two books that take place in this world. Happily, she’s the not the kind of author who feels the need to rehash a finished story, and the other two books are about secondary characters from The Goose Girl, and I look forward to reading them.


Here’s another fine book with a strong heroine who didn’t exactly ask for her position, but rose to it none the less. Ani as the Crown Princess never really felt like she could fulfill that role—she simply thought she would have to. When she loses her role as the next ruler of Kildenree, she finds herself unsure of who or what she will become next. Even though she’s betrothed to a prince, she knows she’ll never be the ruler, just the wife of one. Still, she doesn’t really think about all of this until she finds herself alone in the woods without her name or royal identity. She redefines herself, becoming a goose girl and finally stepping up and becoming a princess in action, not just in title.

The magic in this book is well worth mentioning. Instead of traditional “wave a magic wand” or have a fairy godmother appear magic, Hale crafts a world of people-speaking, animal-speaking, and nature-speaking. These rare magics allow Queens to command attention and for Ani to learn to talk to the wind. It’s great to see such unique magic woven into an already excellent story. The animal talking was also well crafted; Hale stayed true to the way animals would talk, not letting Ani have long conversations with them, but more getting ideas and things like “danger” or “good grazing land” across. The geese were especially well-written, as anyone who’s been around geese knows that they’re both truly evil and incredibly loyal animals. A goose would make a good attack animal for an evil overlord, now that I think about it.

Read the rest of my review at Bookwyrm Chrysalis :: YA Fantasy Book Reviews
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