Sunday, October 27, 2013
River Secrets (Books of Bayern #3) - Shannon Hale
Razo has no idea why he was chosen to be a soldier. He can barely swing a sword, and his brothers are forever wrestling him to the ground. Razo is sure it's out of pity that his captain asks him to join an elite mission--escorting the ambassador into Tira, Bayern's great enemy.
But when the Bayern arrive in the strange southern country, Razo discovers the first dead body. He befriends both the high and low born, people who can perhaps provide them with vital information. And Razo is the one who must embrace his own talents in order to get the Bayern soldiers home again, alive.
Newbery-Honor winner Shannon Hale returns the reader to the intrigue and magic of Bayern, first introduced in her critically acclaimed novel, The Goose Girl. Enter a world where even those with no special magical skills find in themselves something they never imagined.
HA - as soon as I mentioned wanting to know about Conrad, he shows up in the first chapter! So now I know. He's a soldier in Bayern's Own. Which is totally not a spoiler because come on, first chapter!
Razo is the main character in this book, which is definitely a change for Shannon Hale. Luckily I felt Razo really worked as a main character - he's so funny! He's a big pranskter, and it's amazing how little he realizes about himself. He reminds me of myself...I usually feel a physical reaction before I can interpret the emotion involved because I'm just that dense sometimes haha. I LOVED when he found out *SPOILERS* that he was in love with Dasha - he says by far one of my favourite lines! "How could you miss it? Just the sound of her voice makes my chest feel tight and my face gets hot and my mouth goes dry whenever she's near. It's getting bad, all I have to do is see her and I'm already thinking, what does she want? What can I do for her? She's got some power over me, there's no question, and what else could it be?" Hint - he's definitely not talking about being in love haha! *SPOILERS* So that may be part of the reason why I enjoyed this book so much, I easily relate to Razo's character more than either Isi or Enna. For those of you who were worried you wouldn't be seeing your favourite characters, no worries! All our main characters from the previous books make an appearance, and there's plenty of Enna and Finn to go around! In fact that was probably my other favourite part of the book since I've made it no secret that Finn is probably my favourite character from the previous books.
This book as a whole was definitely a different feel from the previous two books. It's more of a political murder mystery sort of thing. Tira and Bayern are trying to have peace talks, but someone is sabotaging it. And it looks like a fire speaker is involved...uh oh! Tensions run high, assassination attempts are made, sneaky political maneuvers are undertaken. All in all it's the sort of plot I'm easily drawn into, so yet another reason why this book was so easy for me to enjoy. Despite it dealing with death and war and whatnot, it was delightful, fun read as per expected of Shannon Hale.
This book has everything one expects of a Shannon Hale character (except that it has a male narrator) - it's fun, quick, and has GREAT characters with great character development. And as an added plus you get some time with your favourite characters from the previous books!
Would I recommend it?
Definitely! It helps if you've read at least Enna Burning first, but you could probably read it on your own if you really wanted to (although I think you'd really miss some of the subtleties and references, as well as how awesome the side characters are). All in all if you're a Shannon Hale fan, (or Gail Carson Levine and the like) definitely check this out!