Review: Shannon Hale – The Goose Girl

The Goose Girl
Shannon Hale
Ani is the Crown Princess, but she has some unusual talents that mean she doesn’t fit in with what her mother wants. Sent with her lady-in-waiting to the kingdom of Bayern, she encounters problems she wouldn’t have imagined.

Ani is a really likeable character. It’s not really her fault that as a child she didn’t understand what her mother wanted of her or that she has been given special gifts. Ani gets to be far more resourceful as the novel progresses, and is less self-centered. I think her high idea for the populace would be difficult to bring about in any practical sense, but at least she tried.
This novel is based on a fairytale, so most readers will have an idea of how the story turns out. My memory was a little sketchy, and I had completely forgotten about the outcome for the poor horse. It was obvious the first time that Geric was something more than he appeared.
It often takes something special to retell a story well while still adding some twists. The ending is particularly good – even if you know things will win out in the end, you wonder how that can possibly happen.
I’d place The Goose Girl firmly in the realm of teenage fiction/fantasy. Nothing too confronting, only a chaste kiss here and there. The tortures devised for poor Ani and for Selia aren’t exactly nice, but they aren’t explicitly described as they were in the original fairytale.
I got this novel for my birthday, but it was still a bit of a guilty read. It was very easy to read though, and didn’t take up all that much time at all. Knowing the audience it was aimed at, I wasn’t too critical and could just enjoy the retelling. There are more books in this series, and I think I would like to own and read them some time soon. I’m impressed by Hale – this is probably a comforting reread for me.

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