Review: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern, #1)She can whisper to horses and communicate with birds, but the crown princess Ani has a difficult time finding her place in the royal family and measuring up to her imperial mother. When she 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 and wanders on the royal estate. Does she have the pluck to reclaim her rightful place? Get ready for a fine adventure tale full of danger, suspense, surprising twists, and a satisfying conclusion. The engaging plot can certainly carry the tale, but Hale's likable, introspective heroine makes this also a book about courage and justice in the face of overwhelming odds

This review is going to be short as I'm in the garden, in lovely weather (IN MIDDLE OF APRIL!)

I feel sorry for poor Shannon Hale, most of the reviews I have read for her books have had a paragraph dedicated to the fact that she is a LDS, and that itself has had her compared to Stephanie Meyer. I have to point out that Shannon Hale is ten times the writer Meyer is.

The Goose Girl tells the story of Ani, a princess who, while on the road to meet her fiance from faraway a land, is attacked by her maid, who takes her place and continues on to the city, impersonating the princess. Ani takes the place of a Goose Girl in the castle, while trying to work out how she will get her rightful place back.

While the plot is basically an exact copy of the original fairytale, making it... well a little less than original, Hale's writing is beautiful and poetic enough that readers will accept this, she writes in a light, airy voice that helps create the fairytale setting, her descriptions are beautiful.

The characters are amazing as well, I especially liked the side character Conrad, the other Goose Herder, until the end he dislikes Ani and doesn't trust her, but by the end he becomes a loyal friend, ANi's friend Enna has the best characterisation, she is strong and kind and loyal. I felt that the characters of Geric and Ani were quite flat, and because they were main characters Hale didn't really put much effort into building the characters up, which is a shame because that little bit more characterisation would have really improved the book.

One more flaw was how easily the solutions were to the problems. A secret passageway... that was SO obvious!

Overall rating: B+

Stand alone/series: First in The Books of Bayern 
Released: November 3rd 2003 (Paperback)
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 383
Book obtained via: Bought!

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