by Shannon Hale
Brief Summary: The Crown Princess has been strange since birth. She didn’t open her eyes for three days, she was constantly communicating with animals and she nearly died on a failed attempt of running away. Things haven’t improved for Ani ten years later. She’s unsure of her ability to rule and her brush with death has kept people believing she’s frail and should be handled with care. Her mother, the queen, seems to agree when she announces Ani will instead be marrying a neighboring prince.
Ani thinks her mother has betrayed her and life is falling apart around her. But, like a good princess, she complies. On the trip to Bayern, however, there’s more betrayal, and Ani is soon without any trace of her former self. With help from her unusual abilities and friends made along the way, Ani sets out to right the wrongs of her past and redeem her hope of the future.
Kell’s Chatty Review: I’ve been wanting to read a Shannon Hale book for, like, ever. So I was really excited to finally get around to picking this one up. I very much so enjoyed it. There’s something ridiculously old-school about the writing style that I felt like I was reading a fairy tale or classic. Ani’s development over the book is awesome and I loved the many changes she went through over the course of the novel. Will def. be picking up the next in the Books of Bayern series.
On Familial Life: I loved that Ani’s home life wasn’t picture perfect. With a lot of fairy tale-esque books, the hero/heroine’s family is kind of glossed over as these benevolent people or their the most awful people on the planet. While Ani’s father may be seen as the former, her mother is portrayed with both good and bad traits and it made the situation believable.
And Another One: I didn’t think it was, but according to Hale’s website, The Goose Girl is actually based on a Grimm fairy tale. Will have to look into that…
One True Loves: (Pretty spoiler-y in this note kids) So I’m not sure I was a fan of Geric. This might be because we never really got to hear anything from his point of view (except a few brief passages towards the end). He just seemed a little…oh I don’t know…apprehensive about many things. And personally, if my protagonist is smart and witty, I want my protagonist’s OTL to be the same. I realize that’s not how it works and he did redeem himself a bit, but there were times that I was like, man, Ani you could do SO much better. And that’s usually not what you want in a love story.
On the Whole: I adored the secondary characters of this book. All so very, very colorful (almost literally). They were unique personality-wise and I was cheering for them (or despising them for the bad guys) all through the end.
What life lesson I learned from this book: if being escorted to a new country, choose your own guard.
What I most wanted to do after reading this book: I always want to go riding whenever I read a book with horses in it. Now, I want to witness a birth and hear it say its name and speak it back so we can be BFFs (that made no sense to anyone who hasn’t read the book. And it probably was totally grammatically wrong. Just go with it.)
Re-Readability Rating: 2.5
Where this book came from: My personal library.