"She was born with her eyes closed and a word on her tongue, a word she could not taste. Her name was Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she spent the first years of her life listening to her aunt's stories and learning the language of the birds, especially the swans. When she was older, she watched as a colt was born, and she heard the first word on his tongue, his name, Falada.
"From the Grimm's fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she would become queen, Shannon Hale has woven an incredible...tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can lead the people she has made her own."
I really liked The Goose Girl. Imaginative, emotional, evocative, Shannon Hale's novel hit all the right notes with me for a fantasy/twisted fairy tale. In particular, I liked that Hale properly developed her primary protagonist. As a reader, I was glad I had the opportunity to see what Ani saw, to feel what she felt, and, more importantly, to see how she grew and developed as an individual - and a queen.
The Goose Girl is surprisingly complex. Although I picked up a copy from the children's department of my local library, Hale's novel is incredibly intricate, integrating political strife and astute psychological observations that give the story an unexpected depth.
And I loved the fairy tale storyteller element to it. It felt like cracking open a Grimm fairy tale book, magical and adventurous, but, at the same time, it felt different and new and exciting - and I really liked that about The Goose Girl. It's geared for a younger audience, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
I understand why Hale developed the story as she did, why she so carefully paced it to show Ani's development as an individual and a prospective queen; however, I feel like some of it was just fluff. I can't say I didn't enjoy the asides, the brief detours into mysticism and lore and political conflict, as it did help to develop Ani as a character.
But, sometimes, it slowed me down which I didn't enjoy.
Political Insurrection. Murder. War. Blatant prejudice. Poverty.
This book had some surprisingly mature themes.