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The Goose Girl (Books of Bayern) Hardcover – August 8, 2003
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From School Library Journal
Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
Ani, a crown princess, learns at an early age that her special gifts are not those valued by her queen mother and her future subjects. She is eventually sent to marry a prince in a different kingdom, but along the way is overthrown by her lady-in-waiting. Ani becomes a servant, tending geese, while she searches for a way to return to the marriage and throne that is rightfully her own.
Hale has reimagined the story in such a way as to give us a strong, if flawed, heroine with a conscience. In this book, the reader isn't left wondering how a princess could allow herself to be displaced so easily from her birthright. We are also given a magical reason for Ani's successful sojourn with geese. Ultimately, Hale's prose is the book's greatest asset. Ani and her world are vivid creations, ready to be shared during a long, quiet read.
If you enjoy fairy tale novelizations, such as those by Robin McKinley and Donna Jo Napoli, this book will make a great addition to your bookshelf. If you simply like historical fantasy, forget the fairy tale, this novel will also please. Royalty, deception, intrigue, treason, and redemption make up a story that doesn't obviously derive from a fairy tale.
For those who are not familiar with the Grimm's fairy tale this book is based on, this review contains some things you may consider SPOILERS. Know that it follows the original story line in all the main points, but fleshes out the characters and gives cool explanations for the abilities of the maid/princess/etc to do the things they do. (But, like, really? You never read that fairy tale? So good. Go read it.)
One of my very fave fairy tales as a very young Mir was "The Goose Girl". I especially loved reading aloud the rhymes--'Alas! alas! if thy mother knew it/Sadly, sadly, would she rue it," and "Blow, wind, blow." I was horrified in that particular, sensitive way of children that someone would decapitate a lovely horse such as Falada, the beloved, talking horse of the princess protagonist. Clearly, evil was afoot if such a dastardly deed was conscionable. I imagined Curdken's chase for his cap. (In my chikdhood's version of the tale, that was his name. In other versions--and in this retelling--it's Conrad's hat that goes rolling over hill and dale, sparking his pursuit. And I delighted in the horrible, terrible justice that befell the villainess. Just thinking about it makes me feel 6 years old all over again, feeling the magic of the story--all the stories--and how to a child, all this was so plausible: that a horse should talk, that the lock of hair should speak (some versions have drops of blood on a hanky), that a princess should command the wind, that justice would prevail.Read more ›
Goose Girl matches the tone and magic of fairy tales, while delving more deeply into character and consequence. I fell into the no-nonsense prose and moved swiftly through the tale, happy that the story's slower, more poignant moments didn't necessarily read that way. Unfortunately, Hale's even style also dulled some of the more exciting moments; there were at least two occasions where I felt serious action in the book demanded more electric, exciting prose. It almost felt as if surviving a rather vicious coup carried the exact same weight as playing chase with a goose.
But the narration always reminds us that what we are reading is a fairy tale, and like most fairy tales, this one has its pleasingly predictable ups and downs, and its happily ever after. I did think the end game was a bit messy though. I accept those "I have you now, Mr. Bond - but I'm not going to kill you until you've had a chance to escape/be saved" moments in some fiction (see for example, um, well, almost every James Bond movie) but in books like this I am a bit disappointed when the protagonist puts herself in a bad position, and then lives to tell the tale only because the bad guys didn't run her through when they had the chance.Read more ›
ME (at pg. 10): This is so lame. Why doesn't this woman use contractions?
ME (at pg. 25): I've got a million things to do. Something please happen.
ME (at pg. 50): I hate fantasy.
ME (at pg. 75): This is probably the stupidest book I've ever read.
ME (at pg. 82): OH MY GOSH, I CANNOT PUT THIS DOWN!
And then I read sans sleep. But sleep is a nasty habit anyway. I'm trying to quit. Hale adapts the Grimm fairy tale with surprising accuracy, and adds different twists.
Story goes: A princess, on the way to her betrothed's kingdom, is usurped by her Lady-in-Waiting, and she is forced to take care of the goosies. And then, in the end, all is revealed, and everyone sings and dances, except for the Lady-in-Waiting, who dies in a barrel full of nails. That's Brothers Grimm for you.
Okay, so it has a slow beginning and formal language, and that wasn't cool. It also lacks any sort of humor, sadly enough (except a very funny line about eating chickens.) But it's intense. And suspenseful. And that was cool. Hale's able to draw the reader along and get them involved in the book. I yelled at it more than once, something I haven't done since "Harry Potter."
I think how she put the character in constant danger (she's being hunted by mutineers, has fled into hiding, that sort of thing) is what involved me the most. The characters ho-hum to being with, but are more likeable the further you get into the book. In fact, I didn't care a fig about wuz-her-face until around the middle of the book. Very intense, though.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is so well written, that even as an adult, I read and then read again this great expanded retelling of the classic fairy tale.Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
This book was purchased at the request of my teenage daughter so I cannot provide a helpful review. What I can say, from my daughter's actions, is that the book "smells"... Read morePublished 29 days ago by William Barrows
Just my kind of love story. I like fantasy, knight in shiny armor books and this was the best I've read in a while. Just enough magic to be interesting. Very good read.Published 1 month ago by Wendy C. Bonzo
I am a real fan of Shannon Hale and I loved this book. I fell in love with the young heroine and enjoyed every page of it.Published 1 month ago by BevyBee
Awesome book! good service. book was in good condition. The book is such a good read. I highly recommend it.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Easy and enjoyable reading. I liked it so much that I'm starting another book by Shannon Hale.Published 3 months ago by Kristin Trowbridge
I love this book because it's not completely about a princess but about an amazing adventure & how she is defeated but carryall on anyway 💃🏼🐥🐣🐎🐴
I love a good fairy tale and this met all expectations. My sister, who runs a small library in southern Utah, recommended this book to me. I had so much fun reading it. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Charmaine