The Goose Girl is a beautifully crafted fairy tale. While the story is a bit slow to get going, readers who stick with it are rewarded as the protagonist becomes more interesting and the plot gets progressively more exciting. Initially, Ani is a meek girl that is plagued with self-doubt. Ani's mother, the Queen, makes her feel like she is not good enough, but her father, who dies, is a comfort to her. When she is forced to become self-reliant, Ani also becomes more bold and self-assured. It may be interesting to discuss how the events in the story serve to build Ani's self-confidence. While animals play a central role, this book is not for sensitive animal lovers as Ani's beloved horse is driven mad by those who plot to betray her. They have him killed (Ani sees his bloodied body and dismembered legs) and his head is then hung on a wall in the town square. Criminals in Bayern are executed by hanging and their bodies are also hung on this wall. The story does involve the use of weapons and some descriptive violence during battles, and half of Ani's guard is massacred. Ani is attacked and her life is threatened several times. The ending, however, is a happy one and Ani and the prince of Bayern share a sweet kiss. Fans will look forward to the next book in the series, Ena Burning.