Author: Shannon Hale
Publish date: 2005
Source: purchased ebook
"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. The richly rendered, medieval folkloric setting adds to the charm." (Goodreads)
The only previous Shannon Hale book that I'd read was Austenland, which I liked. The Goose Girl was 1.99 (I think) for the Kindle a while ago and at the urging of Christina at BookTasty, I bought it and read it while on vacation last week. It took me a little while to get into it but I ended up loving it! Shannon Hales wins again!
Like I said, I'd only read Hale's Austenland before and holy wow, are these books different, but awesome. The first thing I really noticed about The Goose Girl was the writing style. It is very fairy tale-esque and really set the scene for the story. It was simple, but not too simple, if that makes sense. I liked all the descriptions of the setting and felt like I was able to picture Ani's world.
I didn't know this particular fairy tale, but was able to become invested in it after a few chapters. I think it started slow for me because the first chapter takes place when Ani is a child. As soon as it jumped to the present time of the story, I was sucked in. I liked Ani as a character and was rooting for her the whole time. She was a strong girl and I felt so frustrated for her when things went wrong. When a book can make you feel as angry as the characters are...it's good.
If you haven't read Shannon Hale, I would definitely recommend this (and Austenland!). I believe there are three other books in the Books of Bayern series, and I plan on reading them soon. Who knew I liked fairy tale retellings?