Genre: MG/YA Fantasy (depending on which bookstore you visit)
# of pages: 400 (Bloomsbury pb)
Amelia's Age-Level Suggestion: 10< (great for upper elementary and beyond!)
Another old review that I haven't posted over here yet :) Counting down the days until Friday, when fun-reading begins again!
Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani's journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny.
As of right now, 6,990 fans have given The Goose Girl the top 5-star rating, and only 62 have given it a 1-star. I guess I'm going to be #6,991, because I obviously have found a new treasure!
This was the first book I had read since finishing the epic saga The Bridei Chronicles in December 2009 (adult historical fantasy by Juliet Marillier - which I also highly recommend!), and I was relieved to have something less perplexing. I generally love fairy-tale retellings, as long as they dont go too "realistic," which is pretty much the modern euphemism for "trashy." I'd actually forgotten about the "Goose Girl" tale, as it never stuck out to me as one of the Grimms' major stories, but I found this book to be a fun but substantial read.
I will say, I could have used more character development. I like my villains to be explained, and I kept wondering as to why the villains in this story (including a backstabbing "frenemy" who could very well be Regina George's ancestor) went to the trouble of doing their deeds. Jealousy? Is that it? The perspective followed the main character, Ani/Isi, all throughout and I could have done with a shift to some other characters, just so I could get a better understanding of what they were going through. I really liked Shannon Hale's characters, but I didn't really feel that they were as developed as they could have been. I especially liked Geric, and I agree with lots of other reviewers that he should have had more scenes! But Shannon Hale deserves a pat-on-the-back just for writing a clean, sweet romance (note, that's my thing: I really like clean, sweet romances...that may just be me, though!)
So if you like YA books where both characters have vice-like behavior, this book is NOT for you, haha! Okay I'm kidding...but seriously, this was a great book! Oh and the other books in the series - Enna Burning and River Secrets, are also incredible as well!
Final Rating: 5/5. Even with the sometimes lackluster character development, all the other elements of the story came together nicely, and The Goose Girl gets extra points for just being so enjoyable--so that bumps it to as perfect a rating as I can give it! Try the Books of Bayern sometime - they're pretty fast reads and you'll be glad you did!