Bloomsbury, New York, 2006. 369 pages.
Starred Review. I never missed working at the library more than the day my writing buddies told me that Shannon Hale had a new book out. That meant it was already published, and I hadn’t bought it yet! I was appalled.
River Secrets is Shannon Hale’s third book about the kingdom of Bayern. They are written so that you can read each one without reading the previous ones, but my reaction is: Why would you want to? All of the books are fabulous and pull the reader into a fantasy world—but a fantasy world that deals with real issues like war and peace, love and hatred.
River Secrets focuses on Razo, who seemed something of a clown figure in the other books. Now he’s been chosen as part of the King’s Own to escort a new ambassador to the enemy city of Tira.
Bayern has conquered Tira, but can the peace hold? And can Enna keep from using her power of fire to kill? But if she does keep from it, then who is burning these bodies that the soldiers keep finding? Most of all, can Razo trust the beautiful Tiran who seems to have a special relationship with the river?
Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy won a well-deserved Newbery Honor Award last year. If you liked that book, I highly recommend the three books about Bayern: The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, and River Secrets. You won’t be able to get enough of Shannon Hale’s beautiful writing.