The Goose Girl

By Shannon Hale,

Book cover of The Goose Girl

Book description

In this beloved first book in the Books of Bayern, from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Hale, Princess Ani must become a goose girl before she can become queen.

Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life listening to her aunt's stories and…


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Why read it?

5 authors picked The Goose Girl as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book is based on the Grimm’s fairytale, which is only a few brief paragraphs long, but the author brings such a luscious language of storytelling that fills you with a sweet, gentle magic. Princess Ani was born with a word on her tongue and a gift to speak the language of horses. By the very first sentence of this novel, I was captivated. It’s such a beautiful imagining, I lived in this book for days after I finished it. I love it when books can do that to you. 

This is an old favourite of mine. Based on the Grimm’s fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she could become queen, this story follows Ani – our princess – as fate forces her to disguise herself among her enemies and discover her destiny. The magic of this novel is in how Ani can speak and understand the language of animals. It’s charming and cosy and completely unputdownable.

“Some people are born with the first word of a language resting on their tongue though it may take some time before they can taste it.” The Goose Girl shouldn’t really be here. It is one of the countless examples of traditional fairytales retold. But, as it happens, it’s my favourite of the old stories, and this is a refreshingly new version still firmly embedded in fairy-tale land. It begins with a princess who can speak the language of animals, and who wouldn’t want to be able to do that?

Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl is a fairytale retelling in which a princess is engaged to marry a prince of a far-off kingdom. On the way there, she’s betrayed by her lady-in-waiting, who takes her place and leaves her to die. The princess makes it to the kingdom and becomes a goose-keeper, only to befriend and fall in love with the prince on her own. This is another Bildungsroman I read for the first time as an adult, and I couldn’t believe more people weren’t talking about it. Hale’s prose is like her storytelling—it flows slow and sweet like honey.…

From K.B.'s list on fantasy bildungsroman.

What happens when the legends of the past turn out to be true? The Goose Girl is Shannon Hale’s take on the fairytale of the same name, but Hale takes the old story to new levels, by putting her princess, Ani, in a world where the forces of nature have their own language. Learn to speak that language, and you can be powerful, but those powers are dangerous and come at a cost. I loved this book for the beauty of the world Hale creates and the rich journey she takes each of her characters on as they learn to…

From Adina's list on literary fantasies for young adults.

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