Monday, June 2, 2008

Number Two

Book number two for me in the Quest Challenge was The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale.

The setting for The Goose Girl is the mythical kingdom of Kildenree in the nebulous time of fairy tales. The story begins with the birth of Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee who does not open her eyes for three days until welcomed by her aunt who is able to converse with animals. Like many other fairy tales, the heroine is unlikely: quiet, shy, timid;an anti-hero(ine), if you will. But one of the biggest accomplishments for this story is that it just kept changing from what I expected.

Just after her 16th birthday Ani learns that she is betrothed to the Prince of Bayern and she sets out on a three month journey through the pine forests and Bayern Mountains to meet her future husband. During the journey Ani's fate takes a turn for the worse and she finds herself in Bayern not as a Queen but as a Goose Girl.

The development of Ani (the "anti-heroine" ) from awkward and dutiful to heroine of the people is a change that occurs subtly throughout the story. The reader discovers with Ani the fire that burns within her, that ultimately transforms the "dutiful" Ani to the Ani that realizes the dark truth and decides to act upon it. This development of character is heartfelt and seemingly impossible from the Ani that is introduced in the beginning chapters. I loved that the reader was able to make the journey with Ani herself. No glimmer of what would lie ahead for this character. We were reading along as the development was occurring.

I do so love Shannon Hale's use of language.
Her imagery is unique and beautiful.
page 11
when Ani's aunt leaves her and "her chest felt like a gutted walnut shell."

Shannon Hales is a master at styling a book. I felt completely IN the setting as I read it. The tale was infused with magic and the language reflected the magic - lush and tactile. The magic Shannon Hale incorporates is not the "wave your magic wand type" but instead a magic of being able to hear and speak to the elements and animals. The animal talking was well crafted; Hale stayed true to the way that animals talk, not letting Ani have long conversations with them, but rather getting ideas such as "danger" or "good grazing land" from them. The geese were especially well written - truly evil and loyal creatures that they are. I had never thought about having geese as an attack animal before but after a few park visits myself I am reminded that it is a great idea.

I love how Shannon Hale tweaks a fairy tale, I adore her writing style and once again I was swept up into one of her stories!! A great summer read and one I have already recommended to others. 5.0/5.0

Book reading aside the summer is finally off to a great start!!

Three days of English Language Development classes for the new school year are over! Wahoo! House guests are gone, babysitting duty is done and I am ready to kick up my feet and enjoy the summer. Wow! I feel energized and ready to conquer closets, drawers and laundry! My TBR pile is towering and I have just 3 weeks to finish 3 more books for the Quest challenge - I'm ready! I do believe I will change one of the books I was planning on to The Magician's Nephew by CS Lewis as it is our book group read of the month. Let's work smarter, not harder!! Who cares that it's going to be hot - a diet coke, a fan and a good book. Terrific!

1 comment:

Carl V. said...

I am so glad that you enjoyed this. Shannon Hale is a delightful and talented author and it makes me smile when people discover and enjoy her books. Her website: is a wonderful place to visit. Not only is her blog interesting to read but she also has extras, like DVDs do, about each of her books. Very fun. I hope you enjoy the rest of the books in this series as well as her other novels.