The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern #1) by Shannon Hale

Fantasy, 383 pages, published in 2003

After having her travelling companions turn on her and take her place, Princess Ani is stuck alone in a new country where she was supposed to marry the prince.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is absolutely going to be a biased review because I have loved this book for years and read it a ton of times!

This book is based off of the fairytale, also called The Goose Girl, by Grimm Brothers, but I didn’t know anything about the original when I read this (I still don’t, if I’m being honest).

I think one of the reasons I love this book so much is because it feels very soft and whimsical. The magic is very soft and not a huge part of the story, but I think it helps to add to the atmosphere.

Ani starts this book as a privileged, if looked down upon, princess, but she goes through so much change throughout this book. She recognizes that she has had an easy life so far, even if it was mostly loveless, and learns how much inner strength she has. At certain points, she is completely alone, but that also allows her to realize how she is without anyone else telling her who she is.

Ani also has to create all new relationships with the people around her. Some are easily formed friendships, but others are reluctant tolerance. I like how varied all of these relationships are. When I was younger, I thought the romance in this book was the best thing ever, and I still enjoyed it a lot, but there actually wasn’t too much emphasis on it.

This book balances on the edge of middle grade and young adult, though it was probably young adult when it was published, but is now considered more middle grade because of how the young adult category has shifted. Either way, it is definitely aimed at younger readers, but also doesn’t shy away from tough topics. It deals with betrayal, death, grief, and minimal violence and fear without going into too much detail, which I appreciate.

This whole series is on Audible’s new Plus catalogue, where you can listen to as much as you want from the selection, so I will be definitely be listening to the rest of this series soon! I’ve only read those a maximum of twice, whereas I’ve read The Goose Girl probably close to 10 times at this point.

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