Book Review: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

My daughter and I switched books.  She is reading one of my review books for Bethany House Publishers and I read this book that was recommended by one of her friends.

The Goose Girl is the first in a quartet of books named “The Books of Bayern”.

We first meet up with Anidoro-Kiladra Talianne Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree when she is a wee bairn.  (I’m feeling Scottish today,and if it’s not Scottish, its crap!)  She doesn’t open her eyes for 3 days and the whole castle is wondering what is wrong with her.  Her aunt, not her mother, takes care of her.

Ani is a little…different.  Her aunt teaches her to speak to animals, namely birds.  She also teaches her the old stories of when humans could hear the fire, the wind, the trees and the animals.  But, this is strictly frowned upon by the Queen and her entourage.  The Queen has the gift of people speak…she can weave a spell around people and get them to do her bidding.  And she is very good at that.

We follow Ani through her youth and then her subsequent betrothal to a man she has never met.  She is sent off to another kingdom and that is where the book gets interesting.

A princess, grown in the lap of luxury, is required to learn how to take care of herself.  She is an unlikely but likable heroine, who is interested in taking care of herself and not being beholden to others.

There are a few twists in this story that are foreshadowed and a few that are not.  (You will know what I mean at the end, gentle reader.)

Ani is truly a likable character though this story is a bit plodding at times…the imagery is great.  And Ani truly seems to be humble but not stupid, caring and not contriving.  The other characters are developed well…including the other Forest folks who she aligns herself with.  I suppose, when you are trying to build a whole new world, the topography, the culture and the climate…along with the people who live there, takes a while to develop.  Though, i just might be impatient, gentle reader, and want the author to get on with it.  I do feel like I know both kingdoms well.

I wish for a list of how the author wants the names enunciated.  I hate having names that I have no clue (and not because I cannot read) how they are pronounced.  I continuously try out different names within the same letters to see which one feels better on my tongue.  Sometimes, that never happens and I am still left wondering by the end of the book.

I feel as if the end were a bit rushed…not the actual denouement of the story, but the story of Ani herself and her love.  Though, in true fairytale fashion, that often is the case.

I look forward to reading the next installment, Enna Burning.

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Book Review: The Last Martin by Jonathan Friesen

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I recently met the author of this book, Jonathan Friesen, at a conference in Minneapolis and he graciously gave me this book to read.

I was not sure what to expect…but I loved it!

The Last Martin is a quirky story about a boy named, Martin.  His mother is neurotic in the very best sense and his father is somewhat disengaged.  Martin has a sister named Lani who, as little sister’s go, isn’t so bad.  Let’s throw in a hick Uncle and a very pregnant Aunt and Martin’s life is over before it even started.  How, you ask?  Well finding out that answer makes the story even more fun!  I digress, let me get back to the beginning.

Martin is afraid of just about everything thanks to his Mother being “overly” protective.  Martin is sanitized, steamed and cleaned just about every second of the day.  He cannot get dirty without breaking out in a sweat worrying about germs and microbes.  Sigh.  What a life for a kid, right?

Martin lives in a fantasy world and his main character, the White Knight is a savior.  He battles the Dark Knight and their story starts to parallel what is happening in real life to Martin

What happens next is an interesting mix of friendship, a prune fight, hilarity and of course, the curse.

Martin realizes that with the birth of his new cousin, a boy also to be named Martin, that he will die…because there can only be one Martin in the family.

Martin is now on quest.  Break the curse, get the girl, make some friends and well…live like he is dying.

The only challenges I had with this book was continuity, within the story within the story.  You will get what I mean gentle reader when you get to the end of the book.

I actually laughed reading certain parts of this book, which normally does not happen.  I greatly enjoyed it and I would recommend to anyone…young and old alike.

Review: Judge by RJ Larson

I am a litte late getting this post out since I read Judge by RJ Larson back in November.  It’s been a hectic season, to say the least.

I absolutely loved this book by Ms. Larson.  Judge is the second in her “Prophets of Parne” series following the story of Ela Roeh, Kein Lantec and their adventures in the world in which they live.

We meet up with Kien Lantec at the beginning of this story, which is rather interesting.  Usually, sequels keep with the main character, but Ela seems to take a bit of a back seat to what is going on with Kien and how the Infinite decides to use him.  And use him, He does.  Now, please gentle reader, do not worry…Ela is still a driving force in this book…but her character development is well established, Kien not so much.

Judge is action packed, a bit gorier than the last book and the characters become even more well rounded than before.  It’s nice to pick up a book, find the characters you love and still learn new things about them.  They are not stuck in their proverbial “character” ruts.

The parallels between the prophet stories of the Bible and what happens to our main characters is amazing.  And it makes you think.  I mean, really think.  And after you read what happens to Kien, you will know what I mean.  YUCK!

Both my daughter (she’s 13) and I have fallen in love with these books and we are waiting with bated breath for the third book in this series to come out, called “King”.

Judge is action packed, full of good plot lines and engaging.  I love it when a book makes me THINK!!!  And it is totally amazing to be able to share this with my daughter and we get to discuss this story line, the Bible and how God can use everyday people to bring glory to Him.  But, and even if you have never read the Bible, you can easily fall in love with these characters without drawing any sort of parallel.  I guess what I am trying to say is that YOU DO NOT NEED to be well versed on Bible stories to get into these books. 

Blessed reading, brother’s and sister’s!