by Shannon Hale
is the second of The Books of Bayern, a magical thriller-romance series that
started with Goose Girl. If you have read that book, then you will already
know the heroine of this one.
Two years after Princess Isi's fairy-tale marriage to Prince Geric of
Bayern, happily-ever-after isn't looking so good. The prince's brother has
died, so the royal couple is under more pressure than ever to produce an
heir. But instead of having babies, Isi has problems. Her gift of
wind-speaking has turned into a curse. Unable to control or filter out the
voices in the wind, Isi is beginning to lose her mind.
Meanwhile, back in the forest, Isi's best friend Enna has problems of her
own. Her brother Leifer discovers a buried scroll that teaches him how to
control fire by magic. Suddenly this gentle forest lad is dangerous and hard
to control. Just when it seems he may set the kingdom ablaze, news that the
neighboring kingdom of Tira has invaded Bayern gives him a channel for the
power that blazes within him. But the heat of battle proves too much for
Leifer. And now Enna, desperate for a way to connect with her lost brother,
takes up the vellum scroll and learns fire-speaking herself.
decision could cost Enna everything. While she hopes she can help Bayern win
the war - even believes that she must - a burning desire begins to consume
her. It changes her, making her a stranger to her closest friends. And
finally, it puts her and all of Bayern in deadly jeopardy when a charismatic
Tiran officer captures her and tries to seduce her. Instead of being
Bayern's last hope to drive the invaders out of their land, Enna may become
the Tiran's ultimate weapon to destroy Bayern. At stake are her life, her
sanity, and her ability to control the inferno within - plus everything and
everyone she loves.
Enna Burning is the rare sequel that matches, if not surpasses, the
quality of the original. Veering out of the sub-genre of novelized fairy
tales, it delves deeper into a remarkable fantasy world in which certain
people have amazing gifts: the gift of speaking to animals, to the elements
of air and fire, and to the hearts of other people. Once again, author Hale
shows us some of the exciting, and often terrifying, ways such gifts can be
used. She shows us the horror of war, the cost of power, the agony of grief
and guilt, and the confusing muddle of feelings that may be love. She crafts
passages of exquisite suspense, gut-wrenching horror, and mystical eeriness;
yet she also manages to include moments of romantic tenderness and comic
In short, this book shows a compelling writer in full command of her craft,
speaking to us as magically as her gifted characters speak to the elements
they command. Once you read it, you will be on fire to pick up the third
Book of Bayern, River Secrets.
Recommended Age: 12+
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