Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Goose Girl (Books of Bayern) Paperback – April 21, 2005
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From School Library Journal
Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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.
Shannon Hale has taken that brief, bloody, magical tale that may be familiar to you and fleshed it out in a story written for a YA audience, but sufficiently skilled, lyrical, and well-plotted in the telling that an adult like me was engrossed and loath to put it down even to have supper.
In this retelling, the Princess Anidora-Kiladra (Anifor short) is a misfit in her own family. Even as a newborn she evidenced a strangeness: She didn't open her eyes for three days, not until her aunt (gifted with a special "speech") spoke her into wide-eyedness. This hint of a special power of speaking is hinted at from the opening, but develops beautifully. We see the not-well-loved child, Princess Ani, grow close to her aunt, who can speak to animals. She learns the language of swans, she learns some of the bird dialects, and she senses something latent in herself, something she cannot fully enunciate.
It turns out that out of political considerations (fear of war), the Queen--who has the gift of people speech, ie persuasive to humans) betroths Ani to the prince of the neighboring acquisitive, hawkish kingdom. En route (as in the fairy tale) Ani's lady in waiting, Selah, who is deceitful and potent in people speech, gains many of the guards to her side, and they mutiny. Ani must hide in the forest of this foreign land, where she is befriended by a forest widow and her son.
Ani ends up, as the Princess in the original tale, working as a goose girl for the king whose son she had been fated to marry. Without a persuasive gift of speech of her own, she is at the mercy of the powers around her. From privilege to the lowest echelon of society. A drastic change of status.
What will she do?
She ponders how to fix what has been damaged (and it's more than just her status). And, in the process, she begins to develop her gift. She learns goose speech, which is (surprisingly) not like swan speech. It's a gift that will serve her well. The start of a new journey of acquisitions--of insight, of power, of perspective, of friends, of confidence.
Through the treacheries and friendships and tests and hardships, she begins to understand what her privileged and curtailed palace life had kept her from learning. And she learns one very important thing: She can speak to the wind. The fairy tale glosses over this great gift. Hale develops it as part of the evolving plot and part of the evolving, maturing Ani.
We know, from the fairy story, that she will get her prince, and their romance develops believably and sweetly in Hale's tale, somewhat reminiscent of EVER AFTER, the film retelling of Cinderella. We sense that her trials will only make her a better future ruler, one who has walked in the shoes of the poor and oppressed and outcast and unjustly accused.
Because it is a fairy tale retold, we know the ending though not all the details of how to get there. The special pleasure here is in the details.
A marvelous, magical story. RECOMMENDED for young and middle-aged and old.
Mir of Mirathon blog
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.
And too, like any ripping yarn worth its salt, there are plenty of opportunities in Goose Girl for the good guys to square off against their particular nemeses, but I found myself rolling my eyes a bit as one of the villains moved from hero to hero, distracted from dealing a death blow only by someone else daring him or challenging him to come fight. After the book was over, I compared said moments to that classic scene in The Princess Bride where Inigo Montoya finally gets his revenge on the six-fingered man. Why, I asked myself, did I cheer for Montoya and the perfectly obvious resolution to his storyline, but roll my eyes at the parade of such scenes in Goose Girl?
I put the question to my wife, and, as usual, she had the answer. Princess Bride tells its fairy tale with tongue firmly planted in cheek, playing with storybook conventions even as it exploits them. Goose Girl thrives on its fairy tale past, but is a much more serious novel. I suppose that's why I needed a bit more from the ending than what it delivered.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would recommend this book 📚 to anyone
👌👌👌👌👌 👌 👌 👌 👌 👌 👌 👌 👌