A few months ago I saw quite a few videos on youtube where almost everyone I was following had this book on their TBR. Naturally, I added it to mine as well (along with a hundred others) and as the days passed, this beautiful book got hidden under the growing pile. Fortunately, I recently came across this book and knew immediately that I just had to read it – thank the Gods I made that decision.
Lately I’ve been drawn to a lot of mythological genre reading (The Song of Achilles and Circe by Madeline Miller were the books I read right before picking this one up) and this book fit right in. Though I had had prior experience and knowledge of the Greek mythology and stories, I had never come across the story of the “Goose Girl”. The story gave me Cinderella, Frozen, and Brave vibes and I am honestly a sucker for Disney movies. The plot revolves around the young princess Alyrra who is suddenly betrothed to the prince of a large neighboring kingdom. When she finds out that the king and prince had specifically asked for her, she wonders what they find special in her since no one in her family has ever given her any respect or treated her properly after the death of her father – certainly not after an incident that took place a few years ago. Unable to change her situation, she accepts her fate when she is unexpectedly visited by 2 guests at night. She discovers secrets that the royal family wishes stay hidden and there is no one she can trust. On her way to the kingdom where she is to get married, a wicked Witch switches the bodies of Alyrra and her her old nemesis. The witch’s spell forbids her to speak of this and Alyrra must now survive with nowhere to go. The prince takes interest in her, however, and Alyrra must make difficult choices to ensure her own safety as well as that of the entire kingdom. On this spectacular journey, she finds her voice and strength, becomes the person she is always meant to be, and finds friends that soon become family.
I really liked Alyrra’s character and the way she grew throughout her journey. The choices she made and the thoughts that constantly ran through her mind allowed me to properly understand her as a person and how the experiences that she had had shaped to become the meek girl she was initially portrayed as. I also appreciated the way Khanani portrayed the relationships that Alyrra made – the immediate friendship between her and the stable-workers, the unexpected respect shared between Alyrra and the thieves, and finally, the relationship between her and the prince Kestrin. Though revolving around magic, the plot actually seemed plausible and had me hooked right from the first chapter. The world in which this novel is based was also not an extremely difficult one to understand and imagine – I therefore found myself pleasantly comfortable within the first couple of chapters.
Although I didn’t know this until after I completed reading the book and only found out while looking for fan-fiction and fandom art on the book, there’s actually a second book – The Theft Of Sunlight by Intisar Khanani – coming out just in a few weeks set in the same world following Alyrra and the prince (I think…?). I’m already counting the days until the book release!
— Just Another Magical Soul