fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsYA fantasy book reviews Shannon Hale The Bayern Books 1. The Goose GirlThe Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

As the oldest child of the King and Queen, Crown Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee (Ani) is being groomed for the throne of Kildenree. Much to her mother’s disappointment, though, Ani doesn’t seem to be leadership material. She doesn’t have the ability to persuade and motivate people like her mother does and, oddly, she seems to communicate better with animals than people.

Nonetheless, Ani is shocked when her mother declares her little brother to be heir and sends Ani off as a bride to the prince of Bayern, an aggressive neighboring kingdom. She feels betrayed by her family and things only get worse when she encounters more deceit and betrayal on the way to Bayern. Because she has a difficult time standing up for herself, Princess Ani is soon usurped and tending geese instead of taking her rightful place beside the Prince of Bayern. But this goose girl is determined to get her name back.

Based on the Grimm fairytale “The Goose Girl,” this book is the first in a series of companion novels by Shannon Hale (The Bayern Books). Whether you’re familiar with the fairytale or not, you’ll be pretty sure how the story ends — it’s unlikely to surprise you. But perhaps what will surprise you is how exciting the story is anyway. It’s fast-paced, beautifully written, emotional, and satisfying. Even though I was often frustrated with Ani’s forbearance and lack of confidence, I was enchanted by her story anyway.

According to Amazon, The Goose Girl is marketed to children ages 9-12, but there is enough violence and murder (and even scary things that happen to animals) that I think it’s better suited for the YA crowd. I listened to, and enjoyed, the Full Cast Audio production and recommend this version. The Goose Girl is a sweet and irresistible story for teens, adults, and the bravest little girls and boys.

~Kat Hooper

YA fantasy book reviews Shannon Hale The Bayern Books 1. The Goose GirlA delightful and well thought-out take on the old fairy tale, this is one of my favorite fairy tale novels. Shannon Hale has created a detailed world in which some of the odd details of the original fairy tale are reworked and make much more sense. Hale has made the story into a strong coming-of-age tale with heart and humor and a little romance.

This book shouldn’t be missed by anyone who likes novelizations of fairy tales.

~Tadiana Jones

The Bayern Books — (2003-2009) Young adult. Publisher: She was born with her eyes closed and a word on her tongue, a word she could not taste. Her name was Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she spent the first years of her life listening to her aunt’s stories and learning the language of the birds, especially the swans. And when she was older, she watched as a colt was born, and she heard the first word on his tongue, his name, Falada. From the Grimm’s fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she could become queen, Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original, and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can lead the people she has made her own.

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  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

  • Tadiana Jones

    TADIANA JONES, on our staff since July 2015, is an intellectual property lawyer with a BA in English. She inherited her love of classic and hard SF from her father and her love of fantasy and fairy tales from her mother. She lives with her husband and four children in a small town near the mountains in Utah. Tadiana juggles her career, her family, and her love for reading, travel and art, only occasionally dropping balls. She likes complex and layered stories and characters with hidden depths. Favorite authors include Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson, Robin McKinley, Connie Willis, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Megan Whalen Turner, Patricia McKillip, Mary Stewart, Ilona Andrews, and Susanna Clarke.