I was drawn to this book because it was the first that Shannon Hale published. I have heard and read her story about trying to get this published several times and, since I have been such a fan of her other work, I decided it was time to get back to the beginning, so to speak. This was a fun book that drew me in from the beginning and had me cheering for Ani throughout the rest of the novel.
This is the story about a princess who learns how to talk to animals, doesn't communicate well with most people, is a bit awkward for a princess, doesn't measure up to what her mom thinks she should be and is just trying to discover her role in the kingdom. It is a retelling of a fairy tale that I've never heard of, although now I am very curious to go read the original and see how the stories mesh and where Hale develops her own story.
I really liked this book and found myself drawn in from the beginning. The description in this story is unlike any in her other stories, but I loved it. She talks about trees shrugging snow and daylight blinking...just beautiful imagery. I love Ani - she is aware of what she wants but has the weakness in making her wishes and feelings known. She has that character flaw that is only detrimental to herself and her success. She is driven and manages to maintain her identity even when many are trying to eliminate it. I plan on reading the rest of the Bayern books and, if they are as lovely as this one, they will be added to my own personal library.
As a side note - this is my 200th post for this blog - fun, huh?