Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, also known as Ani, is the Crown Princess of Kildenree. She was born with a word on her tongue. She always knew that she had the gift to converse with birds, but always wondered if she possessed another gift. Maybe she even had the fabled gift of wind or fire speaking. Before she can find the answer to this question her father dies after falling off a horse. She thinks she will secede her father, but is shocked to hear that her mother has pushed her aside and made her brother the new king. If that is not bad enough, Ani finds that her mother has arranged her marriage to the Prince of Bayern (the neighboring kingdom). Ani has no choice but to go, so she packs her bags and sets off with a group of soldiers for protection and her lady-in-waiting Selia. With only weeks left to their journey one of the soldiers Ungolad, along with Selia stage a mutiny. The reason being that Selia feels that she is much better suited to be a princess than Ani. With all the fighting and mayhem occurring, Ani is able to escape. She heads to Bayern on her own, always in constant fear of being found. She goes to the king of Bayern, originally in hopes of telling him her true identity, but finds out Selia has taken her identity. Ani thinks better of it and asks for a job. She is assigned the job of tending to the king's geese, hence the name the Goose Girl. She loves her job, and is quickly able to figure out the geese's language and comes to understand the geese. Ani also befriends many of the other workers who maintain the king's animals. The whole time she works, Ani plots a way to regain her identity as a princess. Meanwhile, she befriends a castle guard, develops amazing friendships, and discovers the answer to a life-long question.
Wow! This book was absolutely amazing. It is now one of my favorite books. It has just the right amount of adventure, and romance in it for me. I would recommend this to any type of reader, whether they are an avid reader, or someone who cringes at the sight of books! It has a delightful plot line, and was a stunning first novel of Shannon Hale's. Now I know I am a tad late on reading this, and obviously Shannon Hale now has many other books out, but I think this one is my favorite. At first I didn't realize what all the hype was about Shannon Hale, but then I read Princess Academy and I loved it. After reading the Goose Girl, I think I have a new favorite author. I cannot wait to read more of her books, and anxiously await new books to be written!