It's official. Shannon Hale is one of my favorite authors. I just finished The Goose Girl, and have the sequel Enna Burning on hold at the library. I loved The Goose Girl! It gets a GOLD STAR. It's a wonderfully written tale about a princess who tries to live the life expected of her. It's a middle ages era tale. This book had all the elements I love in a story: self-discovery, morals, coming of age, mystery, danger, romance, happy ending...it was all there. I can't wait to read the sequel!
I also recently read the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathon Stroud. The first book was called The Amulet of Samarkand. At first I found this book a little confusing, but by the end I was loving it. Lot's of mystery, conspiracy, and a joking genie/dijin, who is Bartimaeus. Ash liked it, too. I didn't think I'd have the confusion trouble with the second book, The Golem's Eye, but I did. The second book was much less gripping for the entire first half, but got better somewhat and was a necessary part of the story. It was the longest book in the series, but the drive to read it was lost in the boring parts. Ash couldn't make himself read to the end. He got stuck in the dullness, and quit. The third book Ptolemy's Gate, was at least as good as the first. It was probably the best of the three. These books are in a modern London setting, but an alternate reality from our own. Magicians are everywhere and control the government and everything else. Commoner's are highly discriminated against. Magicians also get their power by enslaving beings from "the Other place." Bartimaeus comes from the other place. I did like these books, but I wish the ending was a little happier. It wasn't a bad or very sad ending to the series, and really it was a right ending, it just wasn't all bliss-like. Would I read them again?? I'm not sure. Definitely not the second book, but maybe the others.