River Secrets

River Secrets

4.5 126
by Shannon Hale

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First time in library and retail!  See more details below


First time in library and retail!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Razo, this winning novel's endearing protagonist, first brought to life as a minor character in Hale's The Goose Girl, here gets his own story. Now a confidante of Queen Isi, Razo was originally a simple forest boy whose major skill is using a slingshot to hunt squirrels. Short in stature and low in confidence, he is asked to join a mission of peace between his own kingdom of Bayern, and the enemy kingdom of Tira. Razo is then selected to become a spy because of his unassuming nature and powers of observation. He soon discovers that traitors in the Tiran army are trying to re-ignite the war, literally, by leaving charred remains of bodies an act they hope to pin on another envoy from Bayern Razo's friend Enna (from Enna Burning). This mystery unfolds along with charming friendships among Razo and his comrades, who lovingly tease him when he is the last to realize he has fallen in love with Dasha, the striking orange-haired daughter of the Tiran ambassador to Bayern, and has grown in height as well as self-assurance. This novel will be a special treat for readers of Hale's other two companion books, but it also stands on its own as a unique and tender coming-of-age story. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA - Jenny Ingram
This companion book to The Goose Girl (Bloomsbury, 2003/VOYA October 2003) and Enna Burning (2004/VOYA December 2004) features Razo, the short, awkward, stone-slinging member of Bayern's army. When an entourage from Bayern travels to Tiran on an ambassadorial mission, the captain of the king's special guard of soldiers chooses Razo to accompany them, in part because of his close friendship with Enna, the fire speaker, who will need close protection from someone who knows of her secret talent. Arriving in Tiran, Razo first escapes danger by accident but later hones his skills as a soldier, spy, and diplomat to head off a plot to create war between the two countries. In Tiran, Razo meets Dasha, a redheaded woman who controls water in a way similar to Enna's talent with fire and who likes him a lot. At the end of the journey, Razo realizes that he has grown physically and emotionally, and he and Dasha make plans to stay together. The story is slow at first, but as the plot to create war between the countries unfolds, things pick up. The book is complete on its own, but readers unfamiliar with the previous two volumes will find some aspects difficult to follow. The characters have depth, and women and men are equally talented and support one another with their skills. The settings, customs, and festivals of both Bayern and Tiran are easy to imagine. Fans of Hale's previous books will enjoy this one and will hope that there is more to come.
VOYA - Rebecca Moreland
Hale delivers again with this satisfying take on magic and mystery, mayhem and murder. Even with the same elements as other fantasy books, the story stays fresh by painting an intriguing, peculiar land and working around delightfully confused and sometimes clichTd characters. Although readers might predict the exciting twists throughout the plot, it does not detract from the fact that this book is a finish-in-one-day, don't-stop-reading ride of a story.
Children's Literature - Ann Sanger
Shannon Hale has an uncanny knack of grabbing your interest in the Prologue and not letting go until you finish the entire book. The chapter heading spurred me on to finish the book in one day. I could not put it down. This mystery is wonderfully written, boasts excellent character development and vivid descriptions that bring the scenery and characters of this magical land in full view. The land of Bayern is trying to prevent another war with neighboring Tira by agreeing to an ambassador exchange. The Ambassador will be accompanied by Enna, who is secretly a fire-speaker, and Captain Talone, along with twenty hand-picked from the king's personal hundred-band of soldiers known as Bayard's Own. Razo is eager to be chosen, but he feels he has no special skills that would be helpful on this peace-keeping mission. Razo is not the only one to question the wisdom of the Captain's choice when he is picked to go to Ingridan, the capital city of Tira. As the entourage nears the end of their destination, a burned body is found. Suspicion threatens Razo's friendship with Enna. The discoveries of more burned bodies threaten to sabotage their peacekeeping mission. No only is this book a reading treasure but this is a great book for affirming to teens that everyone has value and possesses many talents and qualities that can prove useful. Razo could be any undersized teen who needs reassurance and encouragement. It is a must for every school library.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-A companion to The Goose Girl (2003) and Enna Burning (2004, both Bloomsbury). Enna and Isi's friend Razo is small and bullied; he has always considered himself pretty useless, so he is thrilled to be chosen as one of a hundred Bayern soldiers accompanying an ambassador on a peacekeeping mission to the Tiran capital. Tirans lost the war with Bayern, largely due to Enna's forbidding ability to burn people, and their army was shamed. When Razo discovers burned bodies, he first fears that Enna has reneged on her promise to stop using her powers, then realizes that she isn't guilty. In this part mystery, part coming-of-age story, Razo learns why he is so important to the king's mission. He befriends Lady Dasha, the daughter of the ambassador who was sent in exchange to Bayern. Like Enna and Isi, she is a young woman with elemental powers. The burner is exposed and captured; peace is assured, as is the romance between Razo and Dasha. Hale's portrayal of a group of extremist Tirans for whom war is sacred and putting one's life in peril is honorable connects the story's medieval folkloric setting with today's news in a chilling way. As in the companion books, this high fantasy is rich in detail and lyrical in writing. While it helps to have read the two previous books, River Secrets stands on its own. But fans of the genre will no doubt rejoice in immersing themselves in this magical world by reading all three.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A character from Goose Girl (2003) and Enna Burning (2004) takes center stage in this marvelous continuation. Razo becomes part of the Bayern guard that accompanies its ambassador Lady Megina to Tira. The Lady is nearly a hostage, as the mistrust and bitterness of Tirans to Bayern after their war makes for a fragile peace. Razo, 17, quick with a slingshot and with making friends, is surprised to be chosen, but warms to his role as spy. He's glad to be near his friend Enna, who has harnessed her fire-speaking abilities and whose role in the war is hidden from the Tirans. A subversive Tiran movement to rekindle the war catches Bayern's Own in attacks subtle and outright. Through it all, there is Razo's devotion to food and to his friends and his steadfast refusal to recognize his own gifts. Hale makes profound statements about war and peace, friends and strangers, men and women and all the different kinds of battle. Her language glimmers like firelight, like sunshine on water as she propels readers along a river of wonderful writing to the tumultuous and heart-tugging climax. (Fiction. 11-15)

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Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Books of Bayern
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
4 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Shannon's mother says she was a storyteller from birth, jabbering endlessly in her carriage as the two strolled through the neighborhood; once she could form complete sentences, she made up stories, bribing her younger siblings to perform them in mini plays. When she was ten, she began writing books, mostly fantasy stories where she was the heroine, and she continued writing secretly for years while pursuing acting in stage and improv comedy. After detours studying in Mexico, the U. K., and Paraguay, Shannon earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Utah and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Montana. In the interim, she submitted short stories and novels to magazines and publishers, saving all her rejection letters which she has since laminated into one continuous 60-foot roll which she proudly unfurls to audiences as a testament to her dedication and determination.

Since the publication of her first book, The Goose Girl, in 2003, Shannon has become a beloved author to young readers as well as booksellers and educators. Her third novel, Princess Academy, earned her a Newbery Honor and is a The New York Times, Book Sense, and Publishers Weekly bestseller. Shannon has also written two books for adults, Austenland and The Actor and the Housewife. Shannon lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, Dean, their children, and their pet, a small plastic pig.


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