The Goose Girl: Sweet and irresistible

book review shannon hale the bayern books the goose girlYA 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.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches 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.

View all posts by Kat Hooper


  1. Thanks Kat! I’ve been meaning to try her books for some time. They sound great, and she’s a Person Who Says Interesting Things on the Internet, too.

  2. The book is sweet and simple and feels like a children’s story, but then there are some scary and upsetting parts, too. Like the real Grimm fairytales, I guess.

    I already have Princess Academy on my MP3 player. These were available for free download from my public library

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