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River Secrets

River Secrets

4.5 126
by Shannon Hale

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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


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.

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)
From the Publisher

"[Hale's] 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." - starred review, Kirkus Reviews

"Suspenseful, magical, and heartfelt, this is a story that will wholly envelop its readers." - starred review, Booklist

"A unique and tender coming-of-age story." - starred review, Publishers Weekly

"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 [Books of Bayern]." - starred review, School Library Journal

Product Details

Gardners Books
Publication date:
Books of Bayern Series

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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River Secrets 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 126 reviews.
Reads_a_lot More than 1 year ago
I LOVED River Secrets. Make sure, though, that you read The Goose Girl and Enna Burning first. The Books of Bayern are fantastic, and I cannot wait for Forest Born! If you loved the others, you'll love this one. Razo is SUCH a great character!
mostest_pug_lover More than 1 year ago
I love the characters in this book!!! Razo is so sweet. I wish I could meet him. The story itself can get a bit slow, but the characters and the conflict are really different from other stuff I've read. I personally don't think the picture of Razo on the cover does the character any justice, but it doesn't matter. I can't wait for Forest Born!!!!! :D
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is by far one of my favorites! I love Razo and Finn! You just have to read the book for yourself and see how it is. Truly it is an amazing book and I find myself wanting to read it again and again. Be sure to read Goose Girl first then Enna Burning if you want to know how the beginning started.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would give the book River Secrets, by Shannon Hale, 5 stars. River Secrets deserves five stars because it is full of magic, mystery, wonder and power. River Secrets keeps you turning the page. You can't put it down. Shannon Hale's creative writing ability is notable and obvious in River Secrets. For example, Shannon Hale writes 'Razo felt the energy like a muscle twitch'. River Secrets is filled with metaphors and similes to help paint the scene or describe a character. An example is '¿ Dasha held up her hands and laughed, as pleased as a fish in a stream.' Shannon Hale's writing is beautiful, lyrical, and descriptive. She can paint an entire landscape, a people, or a culture in a few sentences. I felt like I was right there with Razo as he ran down the streets of Tira, or when Dasha and Razo went to the ocean. My favorite aspect of the book is that it is a perfect fairy tale without being too far fetched, magical and unbelievable. There is just a sprinkle of fantasy and magic mixed in with mystery, secrets and suspense. I recommend the other two books written by Shannon Hale in the Bayern trilogy, Goose Girl, and Enna Burning. I am an eighth grader who loves to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
River Secrets is such a great book i cant wait to see what happens next!! I could not put this book down i loved it. Shannon Hale is my favorite author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really well written and again, Shannon Hale has proved to be a master of storytelling. I highly recommended its companions, The Goose Girl and Enna Burning. If you love Shannon's books, make sure you check out her website!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this series! the first 2 books were so good and so is this one! shannon hale is such a good author! you have to read this series!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Such a great story line. i was wondering when waterspeaking was gonna come in...well i dont wanna spoil it so i wont say anymore but WOW great story!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Shannon Hale is one of the best authors alive today. I'm expecting another Newberry Honor, or maybe a medal, out of this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I adore this women for all the great charcters she has displaid to the world of YA. I think that she should defenatly make a movie out of these because these books are so wonderful that i would pay money to watch them be so incredibly awesome just like this :D this is defenatly one of her many master peices. If she is making any other books to his one, i really want to be one of the first people to read it - love marianna lucero <3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One word, amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like a good romance this is a must have
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book. My favorite one out of the Heather Dixon book is Ennas Burning. But all of them are great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
People before u write a reveiw read the book!!!!
Sierra Michelle Simmons More than 1 year ago
I believe this is the second best book of the seres. it is tthe only one that centers itself around a guy. the plot moves along nicely, and you find things in places where you least expect. this book kept my attention the entire time. i could not put it down. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite was the first, but this one had a good plot, was well written, just not enough romance!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is it a good book for a 12 year old?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fan club res 1! Be there to share opinions!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like tha certain story that grabs you with a little romance and a mystery to solve at the end of every section, then this is the book and author for you. Shannon hale is the best author for your children ages from eight to teens. It really depends on what your child's knowledge level is on the world itself. Her bokks are always great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So I will! Hameh
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing! Probably like the bedlst book in the series. It combines fantady with romance and suspense!!