In the kingdom of Kildenree, magic exists. Ordinary people can be born with words on their tongues with allow them to speak with animals or have a gift with people so that any word they speak sounds like the truth. And in the old tales it is rumored there is a third gift: the ability to speak with one of the elements. Yet most consider that only a story.
Princess Anidori of Kildenree was born with one such word on her tongue, but she has grown up without knowing what it is. Although she has all she could ever want, Anidori (Ani for short) has never felt comfortable with who she is—a princess. Her beloved aunt teaches her the tongues of the swans on the pond when she is young, but even that does not last; Ani’s mother, the queen of Kildenree, doesn’t approve of such things and her aunt leaves her before long.
Meanwhile, the Queen has a different fate in store for Ani. She has an arranged marriage with the prince of Bayern to prevent a war, someone she has never met. But before Ani reaches Bayern, she is betrayed; with everything taken from her, she tries to find a way to reclaim her crown and prevent a war that is brewing within the city’s walls.
The Goose Girl was a fun, well-written fantasy. Ani was a well-developed character who developed further over the course of the book, and Shannon Hale’s supporting cast was amusing, entertaining and excellent. I’d recommend The Goose Girl to kids and adults ages ten and up.