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The Goose Girl

May 5, 2008

The Goose GirlWhen I first started collecting books for the Once Upon a Time Challenge, The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale was one of the first on my list. Not only had I read lots of glowing reviews for her book, I also had read and enjoyed her adult novel, Austenland.

The Goose Girl is the story of Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Ani for short, who is the Crown Princess of Kildenree. She was born with the gift of animal-speaking, and with the help of her Aunt, learns how to talk with the swans surrounding a nearby pond. Her mother, the Queen, doesn’t believe in the old folklore of animal-speaking and decides to marry off Ani to a prince in a neighboring kingdom, Bayern, to avoid war. On her almost three month journey to Bayern, her lady-in-waiting Selia and some of her guards attempt to assassinate Ani. After narrowly escaping, she realizes that Selia has planned to take Ani’s place as the new Princess in Bayern and to hide her secret, will declare war on Kilendree.

In the meantime, Ani needs to earn money in order to take the long journey back home to warn her Mother about the impending war. She begins working as the Goose Girl, in which of course she is naturally inclined and quickly learns to speak to the geese. She also begins to realize that even nature has a language all it’s own.

Ani sat under the beech and listened to the wind. It sought out trees, running around their trunks and weaving through their branches, the way a cat arches under a hand, seeking a good scratch. When it touched her skin, she could feel the rumbling, wispy voice that let images of its wanderings whisper out into sound. Not speaking to her, but just speaking, its existence alone a language.

The Goose Girl was a delightful read. I really enjoyed how Hale developed the character of Ani so well. She matures from a shy little girl at the beginning of the book, to a strong woman, ready to lead a kingdom. The supporting characters were also strong, adding immensely to the book.

Hale writes in the Q&A at the back of the book the following “I’m so impressed with writers who grip the reader from the very beginning, but I can’t seem to do it. I’m cursed to have to build a story slowly, it seems.” This would be my only minor quibble with The Goose Girl, the fact that it took me a while to really get into the story. Once I got through the first quarter though, I was totally hooked. The second in the series, Enna Burning, will definitely be on my TBR list.

Above image copied from here.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2008 11:37 pm

    I keep seeing this book reviewed over and over, and the reviews have been very positive. I enjoyed reading your review and I’ll be trying to fit this book in soon!

  2. May 6, 2008 7:11 am

    Thanks to your recommendation, I read this one, too. I also really enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

  3. May 6, 2008 8:22 am

    Sounds like a wonderful story!

  4. May 6, 2008 8:47 am

    I keep seeing this everywhere too and it always gets a great review, I may have to bump it to the top of my TBR pile.

    Thanks for the review.

  5. May 6, 2008 11:56 am

    This is just one fantastic book. Glad you enjoyed it! That quote you posted was one of my favorites from the book. The whole idea of listening to the wind is magical.

    Great review!

  6. May 6, 2008 12:51 pm

    Sounds like a really good story! Thanks for the review…I’ll have to check it out 🙂

  7. May 6, 2008 1:35 pm

    Thanks for the review Stephanie! 2 months ago I couldn’t tell you who Hale was or even that she was an author. Now I see her reviews everywhere–I really need to get with the program! 😉

  8. LisaRD permalink
    May 6, 2008 2:13 pm

    Great review–I just finished this book a week or so ago as well and absolutely loved it. I just became introduced to Shannon Hale a couple of months ago and have been devouring her books like candy… I can’t wait for Enna Burning and The Princess Academy which are next on my list.

  9. May 6, 2008 2:22 pm

    Thanks for visiting!
    I loved this book too. I reviewed it in June of 2007 if you’re interested. Are you planning to read Enna Burning? I liked Enna Burning even more than Goose Girl!

  10. May 6, 2008 2:38 pm

    I need to pay closer attention when I read! I see that did indeed mention that you will be reading Enna Burning.

  11. May 6, 2008 11:34 pm

    Oh, I love this book!! I can’t wait to read Enna Burning next.

  12. May 7, 2008 3:05 pm

    I keep finding my way back to your wonderful blog! Do you mind if I place a link to your review of Goose Girl on my Goose Girl post?

  13. May 7, 2008 5:46 pm

    Yes, this has been a hot book of late. I love that you read a lot of different things. This just doesn’t fit my challenge list at the moment, ha! But it does look fun – and different.

  14. May 7, 2008 7:35 pm

    Ha! I found it. Didn’t have my computer glasses on and didn’t see that the words “good” and “reviews” were links :o)

  15. May 8, 2008 10:33 am

    Beautiful! I’ve heard so many good things about this book, and I always loved the original fairy tale.

  16. May 10, 2008 4:37 am

    I’m not reading your review – yet – as this book is winging it’s way to me so I’m going to come back and comment when I’ve read it 🙂

  17. May 18, 2008 2:27 pm

    I believe I have now read all of Hale’s books and eagerly awaiting “Rapunzel’s Revenge.” I really enjoy the way she writes.

  18. July 4, 2008 12:56 pm

    I loved this book as well.

    A friend lent it to me and I enjoyed it so much. I love how the author took a very simple fairy tale and added so much plot, character development, etc. The Goose Girl isn’t a very well-known fairy tell, so it’s cool that Hale chose it.

    Enjoyed your review too.

  19. ixchel permalink
    February 3, 2011 11:30 pm

    hi i love this book.


  1. The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale « The Bluestocking Society
  2. Princess Academy « Stephanie’s Written Word
  3. The Princess Academy | Paperback Frenzy

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