**The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Where I Got the Book From: I bought the paperback version with the Alison Jay illustrated cover (like the one left, except that one is a picture of the original hardcover, which I LOVE) from Barnes and Noble.
Imagine that you are a princess–you live in a luxurious palace that is filled with hundreds of servants, you can go on exciting rides on your very own horse, who is also your closest friend, any time you want. But think again: what if, even with all the riches surrounding you, you were lonely and constantly self-conscious of your actions? And, just what would you do if your own mother commanded you to marry a prince from a faraway land, a prince you’ve never even met? Or perhaps worse: what would happen if an acquaintance you trusted turned her back on you and forced you to face the troubles of lower class, the threat of death, and the possible outbreak of war?
Yikes. Talk about harsh. Well, that’s exactly what Ani, short for Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, goes through: unable to live up to her mother’s expectations of a proper Crown Princess, Ani is sent away from her home country of Kildenree to the country of Bayern, where she is to be wedded to the prince. However, her own lady-in-waiting, Selia, leads a mutiny, forcing Ani to run away from her escorts and try to stay in Bayern–but as a humble goose girl. Although her new path is tough, Ani learns valuable lessons and gains many things; for example, she learns the gift of friendship, story-telling, and communication with animals and the wind. However, when Ani discovers that Selia plots to start war with Kildenree and Bayern in order to hide her deceit, Ani knows it is about time that she takes back her rightful title and throne. But with even all her new talents, gifts, and loyal friends, will Ani succeed in bringing justice and fairness to all?
I really, really, really liked this book. I can’t say I absolutely loved it (that’s what I would say about my #1 favorite book), but it is definitely one of my favorites. Shannon Hale’s writing style shines more in this book than in any of her other works, and the simple Brothers Grimm tale was beautifully retold. Would I recommend it to someone seeking a good read? Absolutely. It is like no YA novel I have read before.
Pros: As I said before, the writing is stunning, and the lyrical style perfectly fit in with the nature-speaking concept; the character development is extremely realistic one oft forgets that this is fantasy and not historical fiction; in addition, I thoroughly enjoyed the humor inserted here and there (a few times I would recall a
hilarious scene while at school or somewhere else, and would have to really fight to stifle my giggles. In that case, I can’t even imagine how funny and comical Austenland is. 😛 ).
Cons: Even though I love the writing, sometimes I wished there was a tad bit more dialogue in some parts
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction
Original Release Date: August 8, 2003
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