Thursday, May 29, 2008

Shannon Hale: The Goose Girl

The Goose Girl: A
Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree

In reading my second book for the Herding Cats book challenge, I chose to read The Goose Girl. Hale based Anidori’s story off of Grimm’s fairy tale of the princess who must be the goose girl before she is able to be princess.

In the land of Kilendree and Bayern, there are people who have the ability to speak to animals, nature, and/or are people-speakers (those who are really good at talking with other people). Anidori is born without knowing her true talent (“She was born with a word on her tongue, a word she could not taste…”) but she is loves and develops a close relationship with animals, able to communicate with her beloved horse, Falada.

She is an awkward girl, shy around people and is really comfortable around animals. When her father passes away and her mother sets up an arranged marriage for her with the prince of Bayern, Anidori is angry, but chooses to comply.

It’s on her journey to Bayern where there are betrayals, adventures, running-and-screaming, and action. It’s also through this journey, and the process of righting what has been turned upside down that Anidori is able to become a stronger woman, a changed person. It involves geese, trickery, stories, and some love-sighs.

I hate to be so vague, but I hate spoilers even more… and where’s the fun in reading a story where you already know the twists and turns?

I was impressed with this story and I feel like many teens would enjoy reading this fictional, fantastical twist to the original Grimm’s tale. Her characters come to life in the story and the reader is able to root on the good guys and boo the bad ones. I especially liked the ending and the way that Anidori is able to stand up for herself and finally, speak that unspoken word on her tongue.

Do give it a try – it’s a very fast, light, and enjoyable read.

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