Tag Archives: The Goose Girl

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

The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern #1) – Shannon HaleTitle: The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern #1) by Shannon Hale
Publishing Info: November 3, 2003 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Library
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 26, 2014

    Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani's journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her.
Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny. Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can become queen of the people she has made her own.

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For On the Same Page’s September post, we read THE GOOSE GIRL which is one of Amy’s favorite books. She had read it and loved it but Alyssa and I have never read it so we chose it as one of Amy’s picks! We all have fairly similar reading tastes with minor variations here and there so even though THE GOOSE GIRL wasn’t really on my radar before this, I was hoping I would love it just as much as Amy did!

Fairy tale adaptations can be a tricky thing for me. I love SO many retellings and some of them are actually some of my favorite books/series — but I think in order for me to really fall in love with a fairy tale, I’m usually hooked into that modern twist as well. Looking back on the book, I think I figured out and actually ended up using that for this month’s post as a sort of discussion! Unfortunately, it was just a combination of very, very little things that I’ve discovered make a big difference for me as a reader and I was SO upset that this combination of elements just didn’t work for me.

I feel like SUCH a black sheep. I think just about everyone I’m friends with on Goodreads who has read this book has given it four or five stars and I really, really tried but I just wasn’t getting along with THE GOOSE GIRL. It was really general tone of the book combined with setting/time period and for some reason that combination really just doesn’t seem to work for me in anything I read. (I had a similar experience with Cruel Beauty which I didn’t realize was sort of the same deal going on until just now. (And Alyssa and Amy also loved it while I did not so maybe I should have seen this coming?) It’s not a bad book. It’s not bad writing. This was really, truly “It’s not you — it’s me.” The whole talking-to-animals thing just generally doesn’t work for me either so that was just one more thing that was thrown into the mix (and a big part of the story)!

I actually did a full discussion on why the book didn’t work for me so I won’t really rehash it here (even though this is my review) so really think of this as more of a collection of thoughts than a review (and see the previous post for details)! I’m so sad I couldn’t get into this but the good thing is that Amy knows and she’s not disowning me or phasing me out of the friend group. (She promised.)

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Ani // Character Obsessions: Speaking with animals, avoiding bad guys, politics.
SO many reviews say how strong of character Ani is but I just really had trouble connecting with her. For reasons unknown, she just felt very YOUNG to me and I just didn’t feel that depth in her character. She may have been strong but I just didn’t feel that depth. I really wanted to like her but I just had troublesssss.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Lesser-known fairy tales. I actually have no idea if this is really “lesser-known” or not but it is for me because I hadn’t really known much about it before this book! It’s interesting.
Left Me Wanting More: Everything. I just was not handling this book well. I finished, but it was really hard because I just couldn’t connect to really anything. It all seemed like something I SHOULD like but in the end, it didn’t work out.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

The ratings for this book are generally high. Like, really high. I’m a black sheep on this one, but I guess check out my opinions and those of others to see where you may fall!

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

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On the Same Page: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

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ON THE SAME PAGE: THE GOOSE GIRL by SHANNON HALE
On pin-pointing why some books click and others don’t

It wasn’t until I started writing my review for THE GOOSE GIRL — originally intending to use that as my post for On the Same Page this month — that I finally came up with a good topic to really dig deeper into my experience with the book. THE GOOSE GIRL is one of Amy’s favorite books and with Alyssa and I never having read it, we chose it as one of our group reads. Honestly, before we chose to include THE GOOSE GIRL as one of our On the Same Page books, it wasn’t even on my radar. I actually thought it was a middle grade book (it has a sort of middle grade feel at times, I think, but the age range of characters is more young adult) and there was just something about it that I couldn’t quite pinpoint that just didn’t jump out at me, begging to be added to my TBR.

When I started the book, I started feeling that dread creeping in. The feel of the book was pretty much what I had anticipated (or did it come off that way BECAUSE that’s what I was anticipating? Self-fulfilling prophecy? Hard to say) and I was so upset that no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get into the book. It was one of Amy’s favorites!!! I was seriously in fear that she would disown me if I didn’t like it and I didn’t even give it a rating on Goodreads when I finished because I didn’t want her to see and know my true feelings. I really worked hard to get into it, but I just wasn’t connecting and the overall feel just wasn’t clicking with me. (Alyssa started the book after I had finished and told me, “Oh, yeah, I can see why you didn’t’ like this.” She just knows my tastes haha.)

It dawned on me once I started to try and write my review for the book… Why didn’t I enjoy THE GOOSE GIRL? I enjoy many, many, many other fairy tale adaptations/retellings. Hell, The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite series of all time! So what’s the deal? I took a quick look at what I loved about The Lunar Chronicles and saw that aside from characters and plot and all of those easy-to-analyze things about a book, the series just has a completely different feel and the feel that makes the big difference for me is the setting. I would say the majority of the fairy tale retellings and adaptations I’ve read are either set in the present day or have a futuristic feel while books like THE GOOSE GIRL tell the story in a more traditional setting. Its original story is by the Brothers Grimm and it was originally published in 1815 and the book definitely takes after that sort of feel — I’m no fairy tale expert so forgive me for sound uneducated on this little section, but I feel like so many of the traditional and original fairy tales are difficult for me to connect with because that’s just not a time period I connect with. I’m guessing that if these fairy tales — when first penned — weren’t written as if they were in the present day, then they referred to times even before that time period, pushing the setting of the fairy tale even further back into history. From the historical fiction I’ve read, I’ve found that I’m extremely picky about what time periods work and what don’t for me and I think the general feel of the time period in THE GOOSE GIRL was one that just wasn’t clicking for me.

Seems unfair, right? It totally is. I don’t know why only certain historical settings/feelings work for me and some don’t. I loved the His Fair Assassin trilogy even though it was set in the 1400s — a time period I would never have expected to enjoy — and I really enjoy several high fantasy settings like in A Game of Thrones, Graceling, and Throne of Glass.  Then on the other hand, I didn’t really enjoy the feel of Cruel Beauty and that was a retelling as well. So what’s the difference between these? The only possible explanation I can come up with is the tone. Yes, all of these are fairly serious books with heavy subjects, meanwhile with dashes levity to keep the book from getting too dark… But I feel like there’s an overall feeling that I got from THE GOOSE GIRL and CRUEL BEAUTY that I didn’t get from the others that somehow had me feeling like something was missing.

Every way I try to describe what didn’t work for me, it just comes back to that feeling. For THE GOOSE GIRL, I was hoping to connect to the book in spite of the feel that I was anticipating but I was either searching for it and found it, or just failed to connect to the characters and plot despite it. I can’t help but wonder if it was the exact same story but told a bit more modern or set in a different time period or added a few more light moments, could that have changed the whole book for me?

I feel like the more we read, the more we realize what we won’t connect with and tend to avoid it, whether the specific reasoning as to why that feeling is there is apparent or not. It’s been two and a half years (at this point) since I’ve started my blog and I’ve tried many different age ranges, genres, topics, and characters and even still I’m never sure if a book will work for me or not but I think that more often than not, as readers we start to learn to trust our gut! I’m still glad I read THE GOOSE GIRL even if I didn’t enjoy it as much as Amy and Alyssa because it was a reading experience that helped me understand a little bit more about myself as a reader. I wish I had connected more (and Amy said she won’t disown me) but it was definitely an interesting experience to analyze after finishing!

Don’t forget to check out Alyssa’s and Amy’s posts about The Goose Girl today too!

Alyssa (Books Take You Places)
Amy (Tripping Over Books)