Parvathy's Reviews > The Goose Girl

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
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's review
Jan 04, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: chick-lit, fairy-tale-retellings, glued-till-the-last-page, living-vicariously, strong-females, young-adult, feel-good
Recommended to Parvathy by: goodreads
Recommended for: Fairy tale lovers,YA
Read from December 30 to 31, 2011 , read count: 1

I love fairy tales and I will read anything which even remotely resembles a fairy tale in appearance. It is because of this same reason that I could never pick out a favorite from the lot but I will tell you one tale that is not in my list of favorites and that is Goose Girl. I have always found this story frustrating and scary regardless of how many times I have read it. The easily bullied, weak princess is the frustrating part and the talking horse head constitutes the scary part. Over the years even though the story has faded somewhat from my mind the feeling I had about this tale stuck with me. So with a title like Goose Girl and knowing fully well that this book is a retelling of that same old story I approached this one with much apprehension. To be frank Good reads rating of 4.25 stars was the only thing that persuaded me to overcome this apprehension(Not having read any of the author's other books).

Having finished reading the book I can honestly say that Shannon Hale's Goose Girl is everything a fairytale retelling should be. Other than the fact that I loved the book, this book also made me love the original fairy tale. If a retelling can make a person fall in love with the original then that definitely is something special. The book answers all the questions that made the fairy tale less likable and that too in a satisfying and believable manner. My main problem with the original story was how easily the princess stepped aside or was forced to step aside for her lady-in-waiting. Because in the original story there was only the princess and the maid sent on the journey to the neighboring kingdom. But in Shannon Hale's tale when Princess Ani is shipped off to a neighboring kingdom as a bride, her scheming entourage mounts a bloody mutiny to replace her with a jealous lady-in-waiting, Selia, and to allow an inner circle of guards more power in the new land. Barely escaping with her life, Ani disguises herself as a goose girl as a way to regain her identity and claim what is rightfully hers not knowing that her little ruse can help her in more ways than one. Other than the refreshing take on the story I thoroughly enjoyed the author's writing style. The engaging plot and the medieval fictional land settings has done it's part to set the mood but it is the heroine Princess Ani that stole the show and made this book a worth while read. At first when she was introduced I would have bet she was going to turn in to one of those weak, whiny, irritating characters that you could never sympathize with. Then as the story progressed her character changed from one of those "too stupid to live heroines" to a likable character with enough strength and courage to do what is right no matter what the odds are. I especially liked that aspect of her character which enabled her to let go of the things she treasured not letting them define her. The talking horse head part which I found scary in the original story was transformed in this book to something magical and praise worthy. Ani's ability to talk to animals and birds and her power of controlling wind made the story all the more interesting and way they manifested in the hands of Shannon Hale fascinating. The Q&A session in the end with the author is insightful and is a very useful addition to the book. Definitely a book for the re-reading shelf.
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