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Shannon Hale – The Goose Girl

December 19, 2007

124. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (2003)

Read by Cynthia Bishop with a full cast
Length: 10h 11 min (300 pages)

Genre: Young-adult fantasy; Fairy-tale

Started: 01 December 2007
Finished: 19 December 2007

Summary: Ani, the crown princess of Kildenree, has the unique and feared gift of animal-speaking. During a public ceremony, her mother the queen shocks her with the announcement that Ani is not to become queen, but is instead betrothed to a prince from the neighboring kingdom of Bayern. On the road to Bayern, Ani is betrayed, and must enter the city in disguise and seek work tending to the royal flock, while simultaneously working to avoid capture, reclaim her identity, and prevent the destruction of her home.

Review: This book is an expanded, more detailed version of the lesser-known fairy tale of the Goose Girl, similar to (and inspired by) Robin McKinley’s Beauty. It did a very nice job of turning all of the characters, particularly Ani, into multi-dimensional people. At the same time, however, I feel like some elements (the wind-speaking in particular) that were retained because they were part of the original story were given too much time and space in this telling without adding much to the plot. Overall, I thought it was a nice story, although a little longer than it warranted and without any twist or hook to really grab my attention. 3 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Most fans of fairy tales would enjoy it, although I think there’s not quite enough meat to really interest adult readers.

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