This is a good YAFantasy retelling of The Goose Girl. I had never heard of this fairytale, so I went in with no preconceived notions about the story. It took me awhile to get into the book, but once I did, I really enjoyed it.
Vanja is the adopted daughter of Death and Fortune. When she got older they found her a place in the Prince’s palace as the servant of Princess Gisele. Death and Fortune told Vanja that when she turned 17, she would have to choose which of her mothers she wanted to serve for the rest of her life. Wanting to have control over her future, Vanja steals the life of Princess Gisele and impersonates her during Gisele’s journey to her future husband. This leaves Gisele a penniless nobody.
Vanja charms the nobility while she secretly steals their jewels to fund her escape to freedom. She is one job away from gaining enough money to flee when she crosses the wrong god and is cursed. She has two weeks to break the curse or she will turn into jewels, stone by stone. As if she doesn’t have enough problems, Gisele’s odious fiance returns home from the war and a junior detective is hot on the case of her theft spree.
As I said, the book started off slow, but once it picked up it was a quick read. The author does a great job of setting up the world and building Vanja’s character. Vanja gradually becomes a better person, and I appreciated the pace of it because it stayed true to her selfish, “me first” character. Her relationships with the junior detective and the real Gisele added depth to the story. The character of Ragne, the daughter of the god that cursed Vanja, sprinkles humor and lightness to a story that could quickly become very depressing.
At 512 pages, the book is quite long. It starts off slow, but stick with it and you will enjoy the read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Henry Holt & Company. All opinions are my own.
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