Thursday, December 14, 2006

River Secrets

By Shannon Hale.

This book continues the story of the world of Bayern (introduced in The Goose Girl and Enna Burning) from Razo's point of view. I liked this at least as much as The Goose Girl, although you almost certainly need to read the first two in order to get the most out of the story. Razo, unlike Isi and Enna, is apparently just an ordinary guy, certain he has no talents besides stuffing "two cherries into one nostril." Obviously any story that starts off like that isn't going to end there (well, except for The Witch Queen... let's say, any good story.) Entertaining hijinks ensue. I think this book made me laugh more than either of the previous two.

My favorite thing about this book (at the moment) is the way it deals with love and courtship. Not everything is "love at first sight", and even when two characters are undeniably in love with each other their future together is uncertain, not because of outside influences ("I'm the prince and I've been promised to someone else in marriage") but just because of the way they interact with each other. This is definitely not all the book is about, but it is a significant subplot.

Definitely recommended as quite a sweet story, but you will probably need to read The Goose Girl and Enna Burning first in order to get the most out of it. I also agree with some other reviewers who said that there are a lot of names to keep up with. While the review I read blamed it on the fact that the reviewer had not read the previous books, I can say that most of the characters in this book are new and I also had a little trouble keeping up with some of the characters, although it may be my fault for reading it so fast. (I just got my hands on it last night.)

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