“You think I’ll stand by while you threaten the princess?” said Enna. “You know I won’t.”
“Hush, I said.” Leifer crossed to the fire and threw pinecones into its heart. They hissed and popped.
“I can’t believe I’ve put up with you this week. Poor Finn has sat patiently through your crazy talk, but when you start mouthing off Isi, well, you’d be half a horse not to think either one of us would knock you down flat before we’d allow you to say another word.”
“I said shut up!” Leifer turned. Enna could see his face caught in the fire’s shivering orange glow. His shoulders and arms trembled, and his expression was so foreign, she could scarcely believe he was her brother. […]
Leifer grimaced as though fighting pain, then cried out. Enna felt a rush of heat and a sudden sting. She looked down to see her skirt on fire.
(From page 15 of Enna Burning by Shannon Hale)
Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
Copyright 2004, Bloomsbury
317 pages, YA fantasy
Enna lives in the forest of Bayern alone with her brother Leifer. One day Leifer brings home an old, mysterious piece of vellum that holds the secrets of fire: How to speak its language, and how to pull it out of the air. Enna wonders whether this power is a good or bad thing~ perhaps both? But when Bayern goes to war, she accepts the gift of fire. This new intimacy with flame is more curse than blessing, and Enna must try to save Bayern and herself before the urge to burn consumes her entirety.
Enna Burning is the second book in the Books of Bayern series, the Goose Girl being the first, and one of my new favorites. I absolutely adored the Goose Girl; it really struck a chord with me. Enna Burning is just as powerful, with the internal struggle of right and wrong that seems to carry through all of the best books out there in various incarnations. It touches on every element of a good fantasy should have: Suspense, plenty of plot complications, a healthy dose of magic, friendship, battles and conflicts, and some romance. I’m really very glad that I finally decided to read it after that Weekly Geeks post I made…how long was it? A month ago?
Now for the negatives. Huh. You certainly know a book’s good when you really have to reach to come up with something bad about it! Anyway, in the first bit of the book, there was an awful lot of death and destruction, doom and gloom going on which probably would discourage a reader who wasn’t familiar with Shannon Hale. Sometimes I got frustrated at how clueless Enna was at times, but when you look at the big picture, it only adds to the suspense and excitement of the story as a whole.
Rating: 4.5 stars, perhaps closer to 4.75 stars, actually!
Visit Shannon Hale’s website at http://www.shannonhale.com .