Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Rating : 5.0/5
Number of Pages : 383
Number in Series : #1
Reason for Reading : Twisted Fairy Tale Challenge, Young Adult Challenge, Once Upon a Time II Challenge, gift from my best friend

A wonderful re-telling of The Brothers Grimm tale of the same name. Ani (Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee) is the Crown Princess of Kildenree who has the gift if being able to speak to animals and has a very special bond with her white horse Falada. When her father suddenly dies her life changes as her mother reveals a plan to marry her to an unknown Prince in Bayern. She sets out on her journey with a small number of guards, a cook and lady-in-waiting Selia. Along the way Selia is unmasked as a traitor who wants Ani's possessions and idenity. Selia has the gift of people-speaking and uses this to get her own way.

Ani flees into the forest as the rest of her guard who remained loyal to her are cruelly killed. She gains help from the forest folk who take her to see the King and tell him her true tale. She finds she lacks the courage to tell her tale and becomes assigned to looking after the Kings geese. Hardship befalls her along the way to reclaiming her birthrite, but luckily she finds friends along the way who accept her as a goose girl and one of them. She also starts to think more about the third gift of nature speaking which no one has displayed for many years.

What can I say, I adored this book immediately. I really related to Ani who felt different from the other children growing up. She was a bit of a loner and missed her aunt and her tales when she left and who felt such pressure at being the Crown Princess. There were lots of twists and turns and the story telling was beautifully woven. I have to admit to having only cried reading two books, but this had me on the verge of tears in a couple of places which is a very good thing. I hope to read the other two books that follow this tale very soon.

14 comments:

Clare said...

This sounds really good, I love books like this - have to look out for it :-)

Ladytink_534 said...

Sounds like a sweet story! I love re-tellings of popular stories. Oh, and I have an award for you!

Nymeth said...

5.5, yeah! I can't say I'm surprised that you loved it :P You do have to read the others soon! They are so so good.

Becky said...

I love this book. And I love Shannon Hale. She's such a must-read author. My favorite would either by this one or Book of A Thousand Days.

Melody said...

What a nice coincidence!! I'm currently reading this book and I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it very much. Now I can't wait to get back to the book...

Stephanie said...

Sounds like a wonderful book. I have it on my list of books to read someday. Maybe I should move it up the pile!!

Kim L said...

I haven't picked up this book, but I might have to for the once upon a time challenge. Thanks for the recommendation.

mariel said...

Ahh I am so glad you love this book. I think it might actually be one of my favourites! Plus the other two books are wonderful follow ups. I love both classic fairytales as well as some of the wonderful retellings around. And I like the way that Shannon Hale has continued this into a series to give more depth on some of the other characters.

Enjoy the next one!

mariel said...

Ooh ooh, also for shannon hale fans! It looks like she has a new fairytale-esque graphic novel coming out later this year...Rapunzel's Revenge!

And a fourth book in the Bayern series is in the works...potentially titled "Forest Born"...

tanabata said...

I'm really looking foward to reading this one. It just arrived yesterday so hopefully sometime soon.

Joy said...

I don't even like fairy tales and I enjoyed this one. I hope you enjoy the next two in this series. I haven't read those yet, but plan to read Book of a Thousand Days soon.

Trish said...

I've heard such great things about Shannon Hale--why am I just now hearing about her?? Glad you liked it; I really need to check her out!

Debi said...

If I had to rate it, I'd give it a 5/5 too! Like you, I just adored it from page one!

Framed said...

I rated it a five also. And I liked Princess Academy and Book of a Thousand Days just a touch bit more. Can't wait for the fourth in the Bayern series and her Rapunzel book.