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River Secrets

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Author: Shannon Hale

Published: September 5th 2006 by Bloomsbury Children's Books

Format: Hardcover , 290 pages

Isbn: 9781582349015

Language: English


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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 dead body. H 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.

30 review for River Secrets

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

    4.5* I really love this series, but this was my least favourite. I found it to be more predictable and a bit slower, especially following the amazingness that was "Enna Burning." But, I love Razo and he was a pleasure to follow!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This is possibly my favorite of Shannon Hale's books so far (although it is hard to choose). The plot was perhaps slightly more predictable (just slightly), but Razo's character is absolutely hilarious! I love how Hale takes time to add in little funny or observant tidbits that aren't necessarily pertinent to the plot, but that add depth to the characters. This is definitely a worthwhile read (but read Goose Girl and Enna Burning first.)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Katie Tatton

    I plugged through this one, hoping it would catch my interest later in the book like Enna Burning did. Alas, it was not to be. Shannon Hale (the author) was quoted as saying that Razo was her favorite character, the easiest to write, the most real to her. Unfortunately, that's not the case for me. Razo is the short, funny guy in the group who questions his worth in the war and wonders if he'll ever get over his first love. As the youngest son, he wishes he was the best at something, just for onc I plugged through this one, hoping it would catch my interest later in the book like Enna Burning did. Alas, it was not to be. Shannon Hale (the author) was quoted as saying that Razo was her favorite character, the easiest to write, the most real to her. Unfortunately, that's not the case for me. Razo is the short, funny guy in the group who questions his worth in the war and wonders if he'll ever get over his first love. As the youngest son, he wishes he was the best at something, just for once. He is shocked and happy when he is picked to accompany the ambassador on her peace mission to Tira. Enna and Finn accompany him in the group, and they're having trouble because apparently Enna's just watched "Ten Things I Hate About You" and is wishing for a Heath Ledger-esque show of foolishness and Big Declaration of Love (like singing and dancing on the bleachers to "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" in front of the entire soccer and track teams while he dodges campus police.) So anyway, pretty darn predictable in that lonely Razo will find a great girl, turn out to be crucial to the success of the mission, and I'll be darned, he even grew a few inches to boot. Sigh.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    This was a perfect way too round up the series. I was really excited about this one since it had Razo as the main character. He is the funniest character of the series and I'm so glad he got to shine in his own book. You get to see past characters fairly often and some good new characters as well. Here is a quick run down of the book: Razo and the other soldiers of Bayern's Own must go to Tira to help along with the peace that is trying to be formed. Of course this doesn't turn out to be easy wh This was a perfect way too round up the series. I was really excited about this one since it had Razo as the main character. He is the funniest character of the series and I'm so glad he got to shine in his own book. You get to see past characters fairly often and some good new characters as well. Here is a quick run down of the book: Razo and the other soldiers of Bayern's Own must go to Tira to help along with the peace that is trying to be formed. Of course this doesn't turn out to be easy when burned bodies are being found thus making it harder for war not to happen again. I don't want to give too much away, but suffice to say that Razo's talents get to be displayed and there are interesting subplots as well dealing with Finn and Enna (who are seen a good deal in this book). Definitely a must read for people who have read the first two in the series. Later Note: Just found out that there is a fourth book in the series called Forest Born . Can't wait till it comes out!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tamora Pierce

    Complex and edge-of-your-seat tense as the Bayern folk try to work out a peace with enemies still traumatized by the secret fire weapon that worked such havoc on their soldiers. Enna, the source of that burning, is with the delegation, working for peace, even when she knows it will mean her life if she is identified. Razo the forest boy is the main character, a friend of the queen's brought to observe the success of the peace mission. He is the one to discover someone in Tira is trying to hatch Complex and edge-of-your-seat tense as the Bayern folk try to work out a peace with enemies still traumatized by the secret fire weapon that worked such havoc on their soldiers. Enna, the source of that burning, is with the delegation, working for peace, even when she knows it will mean her life if she is identified. Razo the forest boy is the main character, a friend of the queen's brought to observe the success of the peace mission. He is the one to discover someone in Tira is trying to hatch a plot to destroy the peace and re-start the war. He also finds himself drawn by the daughter of the Tiran ambassador, a spirited girl who leads him a merry dance, keeping him and the reader in suspense all through the book!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ella Grace

    I really love this series. It's not too terribly heavy so it's a great fantasy to jump into after a long day with just the right amount of politics, romance, and adventure. Surprisingly, I like that it switches to a completely different narrator each book (tbh it reminds me of the Lunar Chronicles) and I love seeing how the different plot lines and characters mesh together to create this rich world and awesome cast of characters. I really liked Razo because of how friendly, smart, and innocent h I really love this series. It's not too terribly heavy so it's a great fantasy to jump into after a long day with just the right amount of politics, romance, and adventure. Surprisingly, I like that it switches to a completely different narrator each book (tbh it reminds me of the Lunar Chronicles) and I love seeing how the different plot lines and characters mesh together to create this rich world and awesome cast of characters. I really liked Razo because of how friendly, smart, and innocent he was and I hope there are still plenty of great Razo moments in Forest Born 11+

  7. 4 out of 5

    Drewthereader20

    Such a happy ending! I loved this book series!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kirsti

    I enjoyed this one much more than the previous book, which wasn't bad either. This one felt more wholesome I suppose, and I really enjoyed reading about Razo and watching him grow up and mature. He gets a really good, interesting story and a cute romance too. Enna and Finn are there as background characters, although we see little of Geric and Isi. I wonder who's story we get to see next? A really awesome YA series. Released recently with new covers, so easy enough to find to buy. Five stars!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Grace Morris

    4.5 Stars. =D If The Goose Girl took on a fairytale vibe and Enna Burning a dark tone, then River Secrets takes a happy, light, mysterious tone. So I'll quickly get into why I took a 0.5 stars from my rating. Basically, the previous two books had the characters learn how to speak the languages of different elements. Both of them had moments of adventure, and well, Enna Burning had a lot going on. I didn't expect things to pick up right away in this book, BUT, when I got around page 100+ and the ma 4.5 Stars. =D If The Goose Girl took on a fairytale vibe and Enna Burning a dark tone, then River Secrets takes a happy, light, mysterious tone. So I'll quickly get into why I took a 0.5 stars from my rating. Basically, the previous two books had the characters learn how to speak the languages of different elements. Both of them had moments of adventure, and well, Enna Burning had a lot going on. I didn't expect things to pick up right away in this book, BUT, when I got around page 100+ and the main character still didn't have anything to do with any of the languages, well, I was waiting as the book is only 290 pages. Unlike the past two books in the series, this book is the least fantasy-like. To me it felt more like a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys novel (which is a compliment as Nancy Drew was a favorite when I was younger). Anyway, it was more like a mystery. So yes, this book had the adventure in it to, it was just different from the last two books, and that was okay. What I REALLY LIKED: Anyway I really like that mystery aspect of it and that Razo was put to the task of spying and trying to figure out who was the murderer. And Razo is. A. Great. Character. I won't even lie, he is the best!!! He could make me laugh by his antics. He's short, so he makes his hair stick up to make himself appear taller. A little cute tree rat. Content in Book: 1. Violence. (Burning people with fire. Stabbing people with swords and knives. Fighting against people. Using water against people. And beating people.) 2. Some girl was flirtatious with Razo and even sat on his lap. Nothing ever happened. 3. Magic-like elements. It's more like a language, however this book seem to have more of a magic-like feel. 4. A person drowning. 5. Someone trying to use poison. Who Would I Recommend This Book To: Those who first read the The Goose Girl and Enna Burning. Those who like more magical elements that aren't too magical-like and are believable. Those who like fictional but believable worlds. Those who like books with a little romance, but isn't centered on it. Will I Continue With the Other Books: YES! I just need to pick up Forest Born =D. Special thanks to my good friend, Angela (Coffee&Chapters), for recommending me this book. Also take a look at her really cool YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKUJ_Ke6eOqz0BFMwU3t8zA. =)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ash

    Great, great book!! I really liked it. I was so glad to see that the next book in the series was about Razo. He's always so funny and a trustworthy friend. Quick overview: Razo is chosen to join an elite mission to escort the ambassador to Tira. Razo can't think of any other reason that he would be chosen except out of pity, which is what most of his fellow soldiers think. In hopes of making peace with Tira they enter into the capital only to find that some Tiran are not so easy to forget their d Great, great book!! I really liked it. I was so glad to see that the next book in the series was about Razo. He's always so funny and a trustworthy friend. Quick overview: Razo is chosen to join an elite mission to escort the ambassador to Tira. Razo can't think of any other reason that he would be chosen except out of pity, which is what most of his fellow soldiers think. In hopes of making peace with Tira they enter into the capital only to find that some Tiran are not so easy to forget their defeat in the war. Burned bodies are showing up. To make sure the Bayern soldiers return home and possibly avoid another war, Razo is going to have to use his talents to figure out who is trying to frame Bayern for the burnings before the assembly votes on whether to start the war again. But time is running out. I know my overview's a little scratchy, but if you've read the other two books it doesn't really matter. You already know how great these books are. I admit that I liked this one better than Enna Burning, but I like all the books. Though Goose Girl is my absolute favorite. The book is a little slow at the beginning, but then begins to pick up pace. It kept me guessing all the way until the end. I loved that Razo finds that although he doesn't have special magic it's his own talents that save the day. A great book!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    LeiAnn

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. If there was a 4.5 stars, this book would be it. I can't justify 5 stars because then it would be in competition with some of my favorite books of all time, and it's not QUITE there. I think this book is an excellent example of character development. Not only do we see the improvement of the main character, but we see continued progression in characters from previous books. I had no idea I loved Razo as much as I do. In previous books, he was just the comic relief. Truthfully, I think he's portr If there was a 4.5 stars, this book would be it. I can't justify 5 stars because then it would be in competition with some of my favorite books of all time, and it's not QUITE there. I think this book is an excellent example of character development. Not only do we see the improvement of the main character, but we see continued progression in characters from previous books. I had no idea I loved Razo as much as I do. In previous books, he was just the comic relief. Truthfully, I think he's portrayed that way because that's how all the other characters see him, including in River Secrets. But there's so much more depth to Razo than we've ever seen before. Who knew Bettin broke his heart as badly as she did? Who knew he had a photographic memory? And by the end of the book, I loved him even more for the man he'd become. I really liked Dasha as well. I never once thought that she was evil, and I think that's because I saw her through Razo's eyes, and he never doubted her. Last night, at 11:11 pm, I kissed all my fingers and wished that Shannon Hale could write more books, faster. And that I'll die before she quits. I love her! She is a very serious contender for my favorite (living) author!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kailey (BooksforMKs)

    This one is somewhat different from the other Books of Bayern, in that our main character, Razo, does not discover an ability in "nature language" as our previous main characters have done. He falls in love with a girl who has an ability to speak with water, but he himself does not have an ability. I like though, that while the other books are about a person discovering a strength, an ability, a power that they have, this book has the same basic theme, even though our main character does not have This one is somewhat different from the other Books of Bayern, in that our main character, Razo, does not discover an ability in "nature language" as our previous main characters have done. He falls in love with a girl who has an ability to speak with water, but he himself does not have an ability. I like though, that while the other books are about a person discovering a strength, an ability, a power that they have, this book has the same basic theme, even though our main character does not have an ability. Razo is a self-proclaimed screw-up. He's the clown, the oddball, the dork. But he also discovers a strength that he has that no one else has.... he notices things. He has an amazing memory and an attention to detail that comes to him naturally. He is smart without seeming to try! He is good at something. He is special and set apart for something good. And that is really the main theme of all these books: discovering that you are special and full of worth, no matter if you have a supernatural power or not. As always, the book is well-written, the characters are complex and endearing, the plot moves along with wonderful suspense and action. I loved it! I read it all in one day.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    I would have to call this Shannon's worst work I've read. The storyline was boring and dragged a lot. The entire first half of the book was devoted to Razo's feeling bad for himself and whining a lot. "I'm so short. I suck at everything. Nobody likes me. My girlfriend married someone else. I am no good at swordplay. Woe is me. etc etc." This was repeated page after page after page. Finally, about 3/4 way into the book, the story started going somewhere. There was a pleasant fight scene at the en I would have to call this Shannon's worst work I've read. The storyline was boring and dragged a lot. The entire first half of the book was devoted to Razo's feeling bad for himself and whining a lot. "I'm so short. I suck at everything. Nobody likes me. My girlfriend married someone else. I am no good at swordplay. Woe is me. etc etc." This was repeated page after page after page. Finally, about 3/4 way into the book, the story started going somewhere. There was a pleasant fight scene at the end which I enjoyed. The idea of a 'water fingers' gift was cool. Overall, it's an okay read if you have endless hours of boredom facing you. I won't be reading it again. It just wasn't on par with the quality of Goose Girl. Sorry Shannon, you have failed me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anne Osterlund

    Razo isn’t much good at anything. He’s as short as the girls. He isn’t handy with a sword. And he always ends up in the thick of trouble. It’s beyond him why the captain the guard would choose to appoint him for the delicate—and dangerous—mission into Tira. To secure peace only a year after recent war. Naturally Razo is the first to discover a burned body. And then there’s the assassination attempts. And the girl who calls him a tree rat. All in all it’s just possible he should have stayed home. I lo Razo isn’t much good at anything. He’s as short as the girls. He isn’t handy with a sword. And he always ends up in the thick of trouble. It’s beyond him why the captain the guard would choose to appoint him for the delicate—and dangerous—mission into Tira. To secure peace only a year after recent war. Naturally Razo is the first to discover a burned body. And then there’s the assassination attempts. And the girl who calls him a tree rat. All in all it’s just possible he should have stayed home. I loved Razo’s voice: his modesty, his self-deprecating humor, his ecstasy over small things. And his apparently complete disregard for protecting life and limb—his own, that is.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    I do recall this being the weakest of the Bayern books, and I agree with my younger self. Mostly because Dasha is the least impressive of the nature-speakers, and Razo is pretty annoying. Plus, this was set up almost like a detective story (Razo, Enna, etc. go to Tira, Bayern's neighboring country, on some diplomacy mission, and while they're there, some people are burned alive and Razo has to figure out who it is, or a Tira-Bayern war will break out for the second time in two books), which didn I do recall this being the weakest of the Bayern books, and I agree with my younger self. Mostly because Dasha is the least impressive of the nature-speakers, and Razo is pretty annoying. Plus, this was set up almost like a detective story (Razo, Enna, etc. go to Tira, Bayern's neighboring country, on some diplomacy mission, and while they're there, some people are burned alive and Razo has to figure out who it is, or a Tira-Bayern war will break out for the second time in two books), which didn't work as well as the adventure/journey-based other books.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cindee

    1 really loved this book in my opinion it was better than the 2nd book I really enjoyed reading it so very much. I really liked the characters especially Razo he was different from many other male leads in a book that I have read I really liked that for a change the mc was the underdog and not the best at everything. I really liked his romance with Dasha it was well paced and I really liked all of their interactions that made a really cute couple. I really liked the plot of this book it started 1 really loved this book in my opinion it was better than the 2nd book I really enjoyed reading it so very much. I really liked the characters especially Razo he was different from many other male leads in a book that I have read I really liked that for a change the mc was the underdog and not the best at everything. I really liked his romance with Dasha it was well paced and I really liked all of their interactions that made a really cute couple. I really liked the plot of this book it started with an diplomatic mission that went into an interesting mystery to find out who was burning people I liked everything about the plot it had its exciting moments and I really enjoyed reading this book. So overall I loved this book will be reading the final one soon.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Josie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I liked Razo in previous books, but I suspect that was because he only played a small part. A whole book from his point of view felt like a bit much. But I liked that he had a Journey and that he didn't wallow in self pity and uselessness for the entire book (although there was a lot of that in the first third). He gradually realised (or was told) that he has good qualities: observance, slinging, etc. I could have done without all the imagery. I know the similes and stuff were what made the writi I liked Razo in previous books, but I suspect that was because he only played a small part. A whole book from his point of view felt like a bit much. But I liked that he had a Journey and that he didn't wallow in self pity and uselessness for the entire book (although there was a lot of that in the first third). He gradually realised (or was told) that he has good qualities: observance, slinging, etc. I could have done without all the imagery. I know the similes and stuff were what made the writing so Bayern-ish in Enna Burning (I think it's a forest-born thing) but Razo used them TO DEATH. All that stuff about eyeballs itching or sweating. So annoying! There were some good lines, though, like, "Loafing is just a hobby of mine," or when Enna tells Razo, "You'd eat a plate and call it pleasantly crunchy." Oh, and I did like the descriptions of Ingridan! I found myself wishing it was a real place, because it would be a beautiful city to visit. The mystery wasn't done particularly well? It just seemed like random people were named as suspects for doing the least suspicious of things, then of course it turned out to be the first person Razo had ruled out, simply because he thought Ledel liked to do things by the book and so would never start a war dishonestly. (What kind of logic is that, anyway?) I also didn't like how easy it was for anyone to learn fire. I mean, seriously? ANYONE can be taught it? It makes Enna's talents less special. All the Dasha stuff was annoying -- the is-she-good-is-she-bad stuff, I mean. It was so obvious she was good, so Razo's dilemma (I love her but she might be trying to kill me!) felt completely ridiculous. And while we're on the topic of romance, how awkward was all the Finn/Enna drama? I cringed at the harp scene. Don't get me wrong, I love Finn and Enna together, but I don't think publically serenading your girlfriend magically erases all the issues in your relationship...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Addy S.

    I absolutely LOVED Razo. He’s crazy, and his being short and untalented with the sword won him a title as a spy. I loved the book. The romance wasn’t bad, and I only caught one minor part that Shannon Hale didn’t have to include to make the story enjoyable. Great job!! Sadly, I only have one more to go.😊

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

    This book is very slow and plodding unlike the first two in the series and I almost didn't make it through the characters were so annoying this time around. The plot was a good idea and the setting great but the execution of the story was slow and flimsy with little character growth and cringe-worthy dialogue. It's like the author had a deadline and waited till the last minute to write this story, and despite her saying it was about her favorite character it seemed like she didn't really care th This book is very slow and plodding unlike the first two in the series and I almost didn't make it through the characters were so annoying this time around. The plot was a good idea and the setting great but the execution of the story was slow and flimsy with little character growth and cringe-worthy dialogue. It's like the author had a deadline and waited till the last minute to write this story, and despite her saying it was about her favorite character it seemed like she didn't really care that much. This could have been great but it just falls flat. The books have been on a downward spiral since the first one which is sad. In a kingdom run by childish teenagers (seriously no one of the ruling class or the army is above 17/18 with exception to the captain of the army) with about 3 adults present a peace treaty is being made with the kingdom next door who the previous year invaded and tried to take over. They are still mad at being beaten but are willing to exchange emissaries to see how the other half lives and help with peace talks. However, once the emissaries arrive in the kingdom next door they find out that the people of that kingdom still want war. Someone has been stirring up trouble and murdering people and burning their bodies to make it look like someone in the emissaries camp is doing it. (view spoiler)[It's a power hunger general who went deranged during the war. (hide spoiler)] Our main MC for this book is Razo and he is annoying. He's 15/16 but acts like he's 10 most of the time. All he does is whine! The who book every other sentence he utters or thought he has is his whining! He could have been a 5 year old needing a nap he's so fussy. He is a whiny, wise-assed little snot with zero self-esteem who can't go long without eating (how he isn't fat is anyone's guess) or putting himself down or getting in trouble. He is seriously too stupid to live, the way he thinks and the things he does it's a miracle he's still alive. His relationship/romance with Dasha is cliched and forced plus given their ages kinda awkward to read. Also a weird time jump because by the end of the book he's magically 18 when it's stated he was about 15 when the book started and about only a year has passed. There is a secondary romance between Razo's best friends that is completely and utterly cringe worthy too. It's something that carried over from the last book and didn't need to be such a big part of this book. It was also a downgrade in writing compared to the last book and the concept is so different that it made me think someone else wrote those parts they were so different and out of character from the last book. There is only one book left in the series and while I want to know what happens I am wary about reading it since the writing style and contents of the books has lessened over the series instead of improved.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    This was just fun. It was truly enjoyable in almost every way. The main character, Razo, is likable and fun, but realistically flawed. I loved how his alertness to his surroundings was paired with a realistic (and often hilarious) teenage boy obtuseness. I howled at one line where he congratulates himself on his quick understanding of what a girl wants when that girl has been obviously hinting that way for at least three lines of dialogue. I loved how Hale acknowledged his teenage-boy-ness (with This was just fun. It was truly enjoyable in almost every way. The main character, Razo, is likable and fun, but realistically flawed. I loved how his alertness to his surroundings was paired with a realistic (and often hilarious) teenage boy obtuseness. I howled at one line where he congratulates himself on his quick understanding of what a girl wants when that girl has been obviously hinting that way for at least three lines of dialogue. I loved how Hale acknowledged his teenage-boy-ness (with all that teenage boys tend to be distracted by) while keeping it squeaky clean, which is how I prefer middle grade fiction to be. And his constant noticing of food! His rhapsodizing on it! Oh, it made me smile! The plot is probably my favorite of the Bayern series. While Goose Girl is fairy tale and Enna Burning is angst, River Secrets is upbeat-but-serious-spy-and-court-intrigue-filled-murder-mystery. While I called the ending, I also could forgive Razo for not figuring it out before me... because of the teenage obliviousness earlier noted. Man, I really loved Razo. The writing, as always with Shannon Hale, is a huge highlight for me. Her unexpected verbs and apt similes create prose that somehow feels both spare and vibrant at the same time. She effortlessly (at least, it seems that way) pulls off one of the most distinctive writing styles I have the pleasure to know. I listened to the version by Full Cast Audio, and while the main performances were good, some of the acting was really stiff.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Great book! I did enjoy The Goose Girl and Enna Burning a little more because the plots were more intriguing, but there are plenty of reasons to love River Secrets, too. First of all: Razo. If you don't find him incredibly endearing then we need to have a talk. This whole book revolves around him gaining more confidence in himself. I love his brotherly relationship with Enna, and how Talon kind of mentors and believes in him. You can't help but see Razo as your own little brother, and feel so pro Great book! I did enjoy The Goose Girl and Enna Burning a little more because the plots were more intriguing, but there are plenty of reasons to love River Secrets, too. First of all: Razo. If you don't find him incredibly endearing then we need to have a talk. This whole book revolves around him gaining more confidence in himself. I love his brotherly relationship with Enna, and how Talon kind of mentors and believes in him. You can't help but see Razo as your own little brother, and feel so proud of him when the book is through. Another thing I loved, as I always do in Shannon Hale's books, is her world-building. Her world gets bigger and bigger in each book, and in River Secrets you're more thoroughly introduced to the country of Tira. Tira reminds me of a cross between Greece and California. And there's Water Speech now, so that was fun to see. (Maybe not as cool as water bending from Avatar: The Last Airbender, but still pretty cool.) Now onto Book 4: Forest Born!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Razo is the best! He is definitely my favorite character so far! His narrative is super funny and and yet he can still be serious and work as a spy. There was quite a bit of suggestive dialogue and content but I still really loved this book!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    I think this is my favorite of the Books of Bayern so far because I LOVE RAZO. It doesn't get better than him. He's my absolute favorite character in this series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kim Ivins

    This was my 2nd favorite of the series after goose girl.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Coralie

    So, this is the third book in Shannon Hale's Books of Bayern series. Personally, although I did very much enjoy the book--and even more so the second time around--it just isn't as good as The Goose Girl or Enna Burning. But that could just be because I adore the first two books. Either way, it's still an excellent read and a lovely addition to the series. This book focuses on Razo, a comical and humble character. He's forest born, but adapts pretty well no matter where you stick him. He's loy So, this is the third book in Shannon Hale's Books of Bayern series. Personally, although I did very much enjoy the book--and even more so the second time around--it just isn't as good as The Goose Girl or Enna Burning. But that could just be because I adore the first two books. Either way, it's still an excellent read and a lovely addition to the series. This book focuses on Razo, a comical and humble character. He's forest born, but adapts pretty well no matter where you stick him. He's loyal as they come, but when he's sent on a dangerous mission to Tira, Bayern's long-standing enemy, to help pave a new peace, he questions his captain's choice. Razo doesn't know why he's been picked to go along for the adventure, but he's sure grateful! As Razo is thrust into this whole new world in the heart of Tira, we really get to see his character shine. He's tethered by a few familiar faces, but for the most part, we get a new cast in this book. The setting too, is all new, save for the introduction. I loved getting to see more of Tira's culture and meet Tiran people. His Radiance was such a cool factor and I loved how clever Razo was in cultivating a relationship with him and his people. The city can be a little confusing, but there's a convenient map in the front of the book to help with that, and I never found that the geography pulled me from the story. The Tiran culture was presented in sharp contrast with the Bayern culture, but slowly, as the relationship of the people progressed, so did the presentation of the Tiran culture. Oh my! The plot for this one, though quite different from previous plots, was intriguing in its own way. This story held more mystery than the first two. There's tension between Tira and Bayern, fueled by the fresh wound of a lost war and a long history of violence. The Bayern have come to Tira as a sign of trust and in an attempt to form some kind of peace, to show the Tiran they aren't all as horrid and morbid as the Tiran have been told. They've come at a pivotal time where the Tiran have an upcoming assembly that will determine whether they return to war or take hold of the preferred peace. And someone's out to mess with this fragile peace and to stir up more trouble! Razo finds himself in a sticky mess, that's for sure! Watching him struggle with the decisions before him, balance the future of two countries, and still remain good ole Razo was one of my favorite parts of the book. As always, Hale's writing is exceptional. Even in the new country, she maintains the same ancient and homey style in her writing. It's simple, easy to read, and yet strangely stirring. I did find one typo in my copy of the book. There is no foul language, but there is a little bit of mild violence. The book doesn't take place during the war, but it does take place in the contentions of the aftermath of that war. There was very little romance, though Razo did think back to a lost love from his forest days a few times and a romance from the previous book continues, with nothing more than a kiss here or there. There was one kitchen maid that was...a little sensual for about a half a page in one scene, but the book is clean and not explicit in any way.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kogiopsis

    Thus far in my Bayern reread, this is definitely the strongest book by far. It benefits both from Hale being a more experienced writer and from building on the groundwork established in the previous two books in the series: the premise is a great deal more politically complicated than either The Goose Girl or Enna Burning, and it benefits the story greatly. The characters also have a lot more nuance, I suspect in part because this is the first book Hale wrote with the idea of nature-speech overwh Thus far in my Bayern reread, this is definitely the strongest book by far. It benefits both from Hale being a more experienced writer and from building on the groundwork established in the previous two books in the series: the premise is a great deal more politically complicated than either The Goose Girl or Enna Burning, and it benefits the story greatly. The characters also have a lot more nuance, I suspect in part because this is the first book Hale wrote with the idea of nature-speech overwhelming people firmly developed. This is by far one of my favorite concepts in the Books of Bayern, because it makes such a strong counterpoint to characters' powerful abilities and it changes their motivations so thoroughly. Magic in this world is a weight to carry as well as a source of power, and using it has significant costs and consequences, and I love that. I also love the differences between the elements and how they affect people - fire is too eager, air too busy, water so relaxed and malleable that it draws those who speak its language to join it. They're all distinct threats, and all dangerous in different ways. As far as characters in this book go - I'm still apathetic towards Finn; I love Dasha completely; Enna is amazing, wavering between fear of doing the wrong thing and wanting to defend those she cares for. Razo's arc I found very compelling, though some of it did feel more told than shown - in particular, he's picked out for his ability to notice details; as the book is written in third person focused on his POV, seeing those small nuances from his view would have made sense and cemented that bit of characterization. (view spoiler)[(I was also slightly annoyed that he underwent a convenient growth spurt to match his interior growth - it just felt a bit too neat.) (hide spoiler)] The more I reread this series, though, the more it stands out to me that all of the books have very similar romantic B-plots. Not that I don't like this book's romance - I do - but after reading three very similar romances in a row I find them a bit dry. There's also some convenient pairing up of secondary characters that made me feel acutely aware of the complete and utter lack of non-heterosexual romances in the series. Seriously, in addition to this book's main duo there are two other couples who get together in the course of this book - something about it felt overwhelming to me. Having come across Hale's explanation of why there are no queer romances in her books, which is less than satisfactory at best, it bothers me all the more. It just feels like... defaulting. Forest Born - the one book without a romance plot - is up next, so maybe that'll go better.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    Oh I've waited to get a copy of this book for so long that I could scarcely believe it when the librarian said we'd got a copy in. Oh oh oh oh I can scarcely believe my own good fortune. Besides very decidedly being my favorite YA author, Shannon Hale is a mastermind of the uncliche, well-written fantasy. You won't find wizards or elves in her book, but very believable characters that any young person can relate to, and strong, unhidden themes of love, loyalty, sacrifice, and honor. River Secrets Oh I've waited to get a copy of this book for so long that I could scarcely believe it when the librarian said we'd got a copy in. Oh oh oh oh I can scarcely believe my own good fortune. Besides very decidedly being my favorite YA author, Shannon Hale is a mastermind of the uncliche, well-written fantasy. You won't find wizards or elves in her book, but very believable characters that any young person can relate to, and strong, unhidden themes of love, loyalty, sacrifice, and honor. River Secrets was bloody brilliant. Since the very first book in the Bayern series (The Goose Girl) Razo has been my favorite character. He's short, likable, comedic, and so much like my fun but annoying nephew that I took to him immediately. When I found out that this book was to be devoted entirely to him, I could scarcely contain my glee. In her own flowing, poetic, and beautiful way - Shannon Hale weaves yet another story that is sure to intrigue readers of all ages. Now that the war with Tira is over, Bayern seeks to reestablish good relations with it's neighboring countries. The King decides to send over an ambassador accompanied by a host of guards, in exchange for one from Tira. But when they choose Razo - Razo, who is called the worst swordsman this company ever boasted and a child who fell into some armor among other things - to be a part of the elite and gifted guardsmen. And if Razo's inequality with the rest of the group isn't trying enough, not to mention the peril they face in still-hostile Tira, then the Tiran ambassador's redheaded daughter, Dasha, who may be a terrible enemy or a needed ally, certainly isn't helping. If you haven't read any Shannon Hale yet, go now This lovely author deserves a hundred times more recognition than she gets. Be on the lookout for her witty, down-to-earth analogies too, sprinkled heavily throughout her books. They absolutely amaze me.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Camzcam

    I have loved Shannon Hale's Bayern series, and so I was a little disappointed in River Secrets. It doesn't capture the fairy-tale quality of the Goose Girl or the epic feeling of Enna Burning. It's just a little ho-hum. The story follows the character Razo from the earlier books as he and a company of soldiers accompany an ambassador from Bayern to the land of their recent enemy of war, Tira. Only a few weeks remain before the Tiran assembly will vote whether or not to return to war against Baye I have loved Shannon Hale's Bayern series, and so I was a little disappointed in River Secrets. It doesn't capture the fairy-tale quality of the Goose Girl or the epic feeling of Enna Burning. It's just a little ho-hum. The story follows the character Razo from the earlier books as he and a company of soldiers accompany an ambassador from Bayern to the land of their recent enemy of war, Tira. Only a few weeks remain before the Tiran assembly will vote whether or not to return to war against Bayern. Their job is to win favor for peace in the land, but their efforts are being thwarted on every side-- by Tiran military leaders who have been assigned to protect the ambassador but who have mixed feelings about helping soldiers they so recently were fighting with sword to sword...by a radical underground group known as Manifest Tira...and most alarming, by a number of burned bodies turning up at every side to compromise the Bayern and their intentions. Is Enna burning again, or is this the act of a new fire speaker? Will they be able to find common ground with their enemies to establish a new peace? The problem I had with the story is that it was just too complex. There are too many stories, too many characters, too many sub-plots to be told in just 290 pages. It makes the book confusing, choppy, and rushed. I like many of the themes of the story--ordinary people can do extraordinary things...the best diplomacy comes from learning to understand your adversary...we have more in common with our enemies than we realize. However, overall the book was a disappointment to me. I wish Hale had taken the time to develop what I think is the potential of a good book. It just doesn't quite live up to everything else I have read (and loved) by her.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    There are not many series where I can honestly say that the sequels just keep getting better and better. Sometimes installments in series fluctuate up and down for me, but the Books of Bayern just kept getting better and better—and I really did like the first one to begin with! I love the way the stories build on each other but focus on different characters, especially since the characters are so unique and compelling. Razo was such a fun character! He's the perfect balance of goofy and impish y There are not many series where I can honestly say that the sequels just keep getting better and better. Sometimes installments in series fluctuate up and down for me, but the Books of Bayern just kept getting better and better—and I really did like the first one to begin with! I love the way the stories build on each other but focus on different characters, especially since the characters are so unique and compelling. Razo was such a fun character! He's the perfect balance of goofy and impish yet serious and mature when he needs to be, though he grows and develops a lot. I LOVE his relationship with Enna—the brother–sister, totally platonic, prankster friendship they have is seriously the best and so realistic. I love the way Shannon Hale very subtly challenges the norms, tropes, and stereotypes of fantasy and character. Plus her writing is just beautiful and her use of simile and metaphor are perfect—when she says something is like something, I realize I would have never thought of it that way but she's exactly right and it suddenly feels so familiar. How does she do that?!?!? #authorgoals. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and I can see why everyone has been raving about her forever. (I'm a little late to the Hale party, ha.) I have so much more to say about this series and Hale's writing, but it's late and I'm procrastinating and am also a little too lazy to be more insightful tonight, so... JUST READ THESE BOOKS! <3

  30. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    In this third book of Bayern, Razo, one of our earlier characters, comes into center stage as he stars in his own book. This book is placed in between the other 3 girl-starred books but I think boys will enjoy it all the same. I really enjoyed Razo’s intriguing point of view and this story shows that even if you don’t have special powers like Princess Anidora-Kiladra-Tilianna-Isilee(Ani or Isi and was the star of the first book), Enna(who was the star of the second book), or Dasha(Razo’s girl an In this third book of Bayern, Razo, one of our earlier characters, comes into center stage as he stars in his own book. This book is placed in between the other 3 girl-starred books but I think boys will enjoy it all the same. I really enjoyed Razo’s intriguing point of view and this story shows that even if you don’t have special powers like Princess Anidora-Kiladra-Tilianna-Isilee(Ani or Isi and was the star of the first book), Enna(who was the star of the second book), or Dasha(Razo’s girl and is a new character introduced in River Secrets) you can do great things. This spell-binding tale also confirms one of the forgotten languages. You probably can guess what it is by reading the title but still, if I were you, I would read this spectacular book for the sensation of Shannon Hale’s words intoxicating your mind with images of Dasha’s hair, as orange as an open flames ends or the power of fighting fire with fire. The one reason I enjoy Hale’s books is because her words float into my mind and take their places, all the while creating a beautiful and perfect illustration that are so great that I see them instead of the black words on the plain, white page. I am almost positive that her words will intertwine into your imagination and create the same experience for you!

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