I'm pretty sure that I've made my love for Shannon Hale pretty clear. I just discovered her this year (with some help from a friend) and am now obsess...moreI'm pretty sure that I've made my love for Shannon Hale pretty clear. I just discovered her this year (with some help from a friend) and am now obsessed! This third title in the Books of Bayern series is just as good as the previous two! This time we get Razo's story. He's been around since The Goose Girl, remember when he convinced Enna that her chickens were laying colored eggs? Yeah, I've always had a soft spot for Razo, so I was really excited to read his story!
Razo is a really sweet character. He's honest and genuine, loyal to his friends, and stronger than he knows. He isn't sure at first, why he's included on such an important diplomatic mission, but there are those who know what he's capable of and want him nearby. Every time he second guessed himself I wanted to beat him over the head and tell him how awesome he is!
It was great to get out of Bayern for a little while and see a new country. Shannon Hale creates a whole new society with separate traditions and beliefs than those of Bayern. The Tirans are more fair haired than the Bayern, they live by the sea, and dress predominantly in whites and very pale cool colors. This is pretty much the exact opposite of the dark, forest dwelling, loudest color possible wearing Bayern. Hale gives the reader an inside look into what makes people different, what makes them the same, and how not understanding both can lead to conflict.
Sadly, I recently finished the last book in the Bayern series, Forest Born. I'm hoping that Shannon Hale will be writing more because I'm not ready to leave yet!(less)
Oh Shannon Hale...why are you made of awesome? Seriously, has she ever written a bad book, or even a book that was just okay? If she has, I certainly...moreOh Shannon Hale...why are you made of awesome? Seriously, has she ever written a bad book, or even a book that was just okay? If she has, I certainly haven't read it yet. This book is a companion novel to The Goose Girl. This time the story focuses on Enna, a young girl who just can't keep still. After living as Isi's (the former Goose Girl, now Princess) lady in waiting for a time, Enna finds herself feeling dull and useless, so she moves home to the forest. Now, even at home, she is feeling restless. Enna wants to do something big with her life, but she isn't sure what it will be.
I love Enna's character. She's strong, interesting, and sweet, but also stubborn and impulsive. Even after seeing her brother destroyed by fire, Enna can't help but try to harness the power herself. She chooses not to trust her closest friends with her secret, and instead chooses to work alone, almost ruining everything she's worked for. Eventually she learns to trust a few, but still doesn't listen to their advice and worry for her. The fire is starting to control her, but she's also just young and still trying to find her place.
Bayern is filled with interesting characters, but I'm starting to wonder how rare the ability to speak to elements is. In The Goose Girl, Isi's aunt makes it seem like speaking to animals and elements is something that very few people can do, but now the ability seems to be everywhere. Isi can do it, so can Enna, several characters have the gift of people speaking, the next book is called River Secrets which I'm assuming will have something to do with water speaking. Maybe not, but it does seem to be slightly more common than the reader was originally lead to believe. Although, that's not a criticism, just an observation.
Overall, I am completely obsessed with this series! I will definitely start River Secrets soon, but I'm going to try to savor it more than I did the first two. It's one of those series that I don't really want to end, so I'll try to take it slow on the next two and hope for more in the future. (less)
Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, is born with a word on her tongue. Her aunt nurtures her and her ability to speak to ani...moreAnidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, is born with a word on her tongue. Her aunt nurtures her and her ability to speak to animals, but when those abilities make the people of Kildenree lose faith in her, she is sent away to the country of Bayern to marry a stranger. With her home behind her and nothing but strange people and places ahead, Ani tries to be strong for her family. The magical bond she shares with her horse, Falada, keeps her safe, but also frightens those who guard her.
When her lady in waiting turns on her, Ani must find her own way in the world. She becomes a goose girl at the court of the King whose son she was betrothed to. Her way with animals saves her life and opens the door to her first real friendships.
I can't believe it's taken me this long to start reading Shannon Hale's books! This was first published by in 2003 and somehow I haven't even picked it up until now. I told you that my RA skills were seriously lacking in fairy tale re-tellings!
This is a wonderful story, based on a Grimm's fairy tale, that I devoured in one sitting (alright, I read 40 pages at work, but the rest of it in one night). The setting was beautifully written. I could easily visualize every inch of the forest, the castle, and the city. The characterization was wonderful. I loved Ani right away, but the other castle workers all had strong personalities that made me love them too. Even the animals were individuals in this story.
The writing strongly reminded me of Kristin Cashore. Not really the storyline or characterization, but the sense of place felt very similar to The Seven Kingdoms of Graceling and the Dells of Fire. I kept expecting Ani to bump into Fire or Katsa.
Shannon Hale has officially trapped me. I can't wait to read EVERYTHING else that she's written, and pass it along to all the junior high girls who don't know what to read next. I think I have a few grown up friends who I will also be harassing/strongly recommending that they read this book.(less)
Surprisingly enough, I've never read any Shannon Hale before. Lots of people have told me to read this book and after some friendly pushing from two c...moreSurprisingly enough, I've never read any Shannon Hale before. Lots of people have told me to read this book and after some friendly pushing from two coworkers, I finally picked it up. They both loved this and so did I, just like they knew I would!
Shannon Hale's writing style is so descriptive. I could see everything playing out in my head like a movie. The setting is unique and the mountain is practically a character itself. Mount Eskel felt like another Acadmy girl throughout the story. The mountain was a source of pride and strength for Miri and all the girls.
Miri is a wonderful character. She's smart, funny, and spunky. I loved how badly she wanted to be the Academy Princess, but that she wasn't really wanting to be a real Princess. The only draw for her was to see the rest of the world, learn as much as she can, and find a better life for her family. I know I really love a character when I want to be their friend, and I definitely want to hang out with Miri!
While this story wasn't actually a fairy tale re-telling, I think it's the type of book that will appeal to girls who like fairy tales. It reads like an old folk tale and I felt like it should start with "Once upon a time," and end with "Happily ever after." Sigh, this was a wonderful story that made me feel happy! (less)
I have meant to read this book pretty much since it came out. I've always been attracted to the cover, it's so pretty and after reading a little about...moreI have meant to read this book pretty much since it came out. I've always been attracted to the cover, it's so pretty and after reading a little about it, I thought the story sounded amazing! Finally, finally I got around to reading this fabulous book!
The story is told from the perspective of multiple characters. In this way, the narrative moves very quickly and the reader has strong feelings for many side characters as well as the main character. Rose is the main character. A girl named for the Eastern point of a compass, Ebba Rose has been a wanderer her entire life. Her mother is a deeply superstitious woman who puts meaning in everything. When Rose's first gift after her birth is a pair of boots, her mother is worried that she will leave home early and not come back.
This story is based on the folk tale East of the Sun West of the Moon. It also reminded me A LOT of the story of Cupid and Psyche the whole element of the stranger coming to the bed every night was so similar. Actually, after doing a little more research, it would seem that I am not the first one to make this connection, shocker. It also reminded me of Beauty and the Beast, again, I'm probably not the first to think that. I love how often you can see the similarities between folk and fairy tales. It really illustrates the oral tradition that these tales come from. It's like a historical game of telephone, with every country changing the details to a story a little bit.
I had so much trouble putting this book down! Which, frankly, is my favorite type of book. It was epic, well written, and compelling. I would definitely recommend this to any of my fairy tale fans at the library, although, since it's been out back in 2005, most of them have probably already read it. Actually, they definitely have, because they recommended it to me.(less)