I love Shannon Hale! Flashback to Decatur Book Festival 2012 when I met her and got my Princess Academy book signed. She is so sweet, and I love love love Princess Academy. I’ve been meaning to read Goose Girl since the meeting, and it’s been over a year and I finally accomplished it! I wish I didn’t wait so long for a plethora of reasons:
- I think this book is geared more towards middle grades. It surprised me that I found it in the YA section. I enjoyed the fractured fairy tale, but I would have loved it more when I was younger.
- I love fairy tales. Ever since I watched Adam Gidwitz, author of A Tale Dark and Grimm, at the Decatur Book Festival the year before (2011), I’ve loved them. He talked about the original fairy tales and all their magic, so I had to buy the whole collection of Grimm tales. Goose Girl is based off of one called- you guessed it- “Goose Girl.”
- If I read it back in 2012, I could have had a signed copy!
The Crown Princess is a strange girl. Her aunt/ nanny told her all sorts of stories about the wind and animals speaking, and nobody but the pair really believe it. Once the princess became old enough to graduate from little girl activities, her aunt went away leaving the misfit Ani to continue her lessons alone. Ani and her lady-in-waiting Selia ready themselves for the day Ani rules to kingdom. But instead of allowing her the crown, her mother hands it off to her younger brother. Ani is forced to marry the prince of the neighboring kingdom as a peace agreement. On her journey, the guards betray Ani and she ends up disguising herself as the neighboring king’s goose girl to stay alive.
I enjoyed the whole plot, and I loved her take on the Grimm tale. I read it before I read this book, so I pretty much knew the skeleton of the plot. The interesting thing was to see how she took a quite absurd tale (read it, it’s strange) and wove it into a more modern version.
Otherwise, I feel the storyline is predictable. I don’t know if I can judge that accurately, considering I read the story it’s based off of. All the same, there aren’t many twists and turns in the book. Everything is pretty straightforward. Even the big “surprising” change of events didn’t faze me.
I did love the characters. I thought they all had many layers to their personality. The princess, Ani, is very easy to sympathize with. She isn’t at all very princess-like. She has very real problems and insecurities. I could even understand the antagonist, Selia, and her motives behind her treacherous acts. I loved how well Hale portrays the characters. She molds them into authentic people.
Also, she turns a crazy fairy tale into an imaginable story. If you read the original “Goose Girl,” you’ll see what I mean. It’s hard to picture the characters in that story actually coming to life. Hale brings them to life, and tweaks the story to make more sense.
I recommend this book for fairy tale lovers, middle grade readers, and princess aficionados. I could definitely see this story being a fabulous Disney movie!