12/10/2004 Entry: "Goose, Raven, Goblins -- More from Edith"
THE GOOSE GIRL – Shannon Hale
Ani is a princess who is able to learn and speak the language of animals. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the gift of speaking to people (I’d call it charisma), which the kings and queens of her country have always had. Probably because of this lack, her mother decides that even though Ani is the Crown Princess and was supposed to become Queen, she will be married to the prince of the neighboring powerful kingdom. Ani feels hurt and deeply betrayed as she’s sent off with a royal retinue.
Near the end of her journey, she has to flee for her life. She is saved by peasants, dons a disguise, and becomes a goose girl as she tries to figure out how to reclaim her rightful place. When she acquires the post of Goose Girl, Ani slowly and incrementally makes friends and learns the difficult speech of the geese. One of the men she meets is one of the prince’s guards who has problems with his horse. He visits often, bringing her lunch. She falls in love, of course, but the romance is not to be.
Ani is forced to decide on a course of action.... There were many tense moments as Ani eludes her captors, and I wondered how she could possibly be saved approaching the gripping ending. This book is a nice blend of adventure and romance. Definitely recommended.--Edith
I saved this book for the plane trip to Worldcon. I hate traveling and knew I could count on Briggs to distract me from the stress. Preeti already gave a summary of the book, so I’ll only add that I also loved this book.
Briggs is, hands-down, a master at creating likable, decent heroes you fall in love with: strong, capable, and above all, honorable. What also amazes me is how very good she is at creating satisfying endings even though you know there’s another book to come. I detest being left hanging and won’t usually read duologies or trilogies unless I’ve got all the books in my hot little hands, but I know I can trust Briggs not to leave me angry and unsatisfied at the end of a book. And in any case, it’s never a hardship to re-read any of her books in preparation for the next. She deserves to be in hardcover.--Edith
Like Preeti, I thought this book was worth reading, but the characters weren't as compelling as THE HOLLOW KINGDOM. Since Emily and Seylin were too young and uncomplicated to be really interesting, I think they merely provided an excuse for Dunkle to tell Sable's much more engrossing story. The blurb misdirects us as to who the "main" characters are. I thought Dunkle did a good job showing how the two elf women overcame their fear of goblins, although I think it happened a little too quickly.
The ending was definitely tacked on to foreshadow the contents of the next book, and it made an unsatisfying ending. Those of us who are Dunkle fans would have read the next book without that ending. Not a good editorial decision, IMO.--Edith