Avon Van Hassel

Building Worlds and Filling Them With Magic

Wow, February went a lot faster than January, didn’t it? I’m surprised I actually managed to get this book read on time! I’ve had it on my list for a long time, and bumped it up after I wrote my own retelling of the Goose Girl, Golden.

Setting

I found Hale’s setting descriptions vivid and vibrant (especially the food, you knows know me). The geography feels suitably grand, with months of travel between Kildenree and Bayern, and believable differences between the cultures. It’s comfortably familiar (easily Britain or Germany), while also delightfully exotic (like a piece of well-researched historical fiction or fantasy).

Characters

I really liked her characters. Even the ‘baddies’ felt believable. Ani had a very convincing arc from sheltered and insecure princess to brassy and self-assured goose girl, to brave an confident princess again. She learned her magic, she learned people skills, she learned perspective. I felt like she had satisfying growth, and I liked her more than a lot of female protagonists.

The aunt was my favourite character. She was only around for a little while, but she was super cool. The other kids looking after the castle livestock, Gilsa, and even the queen were all really well rounded.

Plot

The only real criticisms I have are that sometimes Hale gets from Point A to Point C without much B to speak of. Sometimes I’m not sure how we get from one situation to the next, a lot of things come out of nowhere.

One example being the romance with Geric. Hale is a talented and skilled writer throughout the book, but I found the flirting with Geric to be agonisingly awkward, shoe-horned, and unrealistic. He didn’t realise she was a peasant. He allowed her to take over the training of his horse. He assumed she, a peasant, could read. He flirted openly and hard and awkwardly as a ten-year-old, and then broke it off with the weirdest break-up. It just didn’t feel organic or believable at all.

It’s annoying because the rest of the story was watertight. I found myself wracked with dread, even though I had to keep reminding myself that I know how this story ends, I wrote this story, myself, for goodness’ sake. She had me on the edge of my seat over a story I know backwards and forwards, like it was the first time I’d heard it.

Ani learns slowly by fumbling and trial-and-error, she changes plans, she adjusts to the circumstances. Sometimes, she has serendipitious luck, but not in a way that feels like railroading.

Themes

Just as in the original, the main themes are betrayal, the dichotomy of rich and poor, the idea of deceptive appearances, and poetic justice. The plot more-or-less follows closely along the one laid out by the Brothers Grimm, but more. So, it’s not so much a retelling as an embellished telling, adding layers of detail on top of a sturdy frame. So, you don’t have to worry about this book and Golden being too samey.


So, that’s it for me, this month. How did your reading go? Did you read Goose Girl or Cinder? What did you think?

Join us in the Facebook group for next month’s books!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Jane Austen's World

This Jane Austen blog brings Jane Austen, her novels, and the Regency Period alive through food, dress, social customs, and other 19th C. historical details related to this topic.

countryhousereader

Country House History - people and places

Underflow

Prayers to the Gods of Olympus

The Forest Witch

Singer of Spells, Tea Maker, Artist

GLOW RECIPE

Natural Korean beauty, hand-picked with love

carnobodua.wordpress.com/

Viewpoints of a Gaulish Polytheist

Gather Victoria

ANCESTRAL FOOD. HERBAL WISDOM. MAGICAL COOKERY. SEASONAL CELEBRATION.

Colonies, Ships, and Pirates

Concerning History in the Atlantic World, 1680-1740

The Old Shelter

Dieselpunk author - Historical Fantasy Set in the 1920s

Dun Brython

A Brythonic Polytheist Blog

Words That Burn Like Fire

Welcome to the Adventure

The Druid's Garden

Spiritual Journeys in Tending the Land, Permaculture, Wildcrafting, and Regenerative Living

Jacob Devlin

Please don't feed the dragon.

omnomnomdeplumeblog

A blog about writing, food, witchcraft, and science.

Discover

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

%d bloggers like this: