Enna Burning (The Books of Bayern, #2) – Shannon Hale
Enna has returned to the forest after settling her best friend Isi into her new life as Princess of Bayern. Everything is easing into a new normal, one where Enna and her brother Leifer run the family farm after their mother’s death until Leifer comes home one night with a terrible secret: the language of fire. Whispers of invasion by the nearby kingdom of Tira become actual battles, and Leifer’s secret could mean the difference between Bayern winning the war or the end of everything.
Although I wanted to pick this book up immediately after re-reading The Goose Girl back in March (I read the whole series in middle school), I had a lot of other books on my list to get through. When I finally got to this one, I wasn’t in as much of a mood to read it as I had been, and the beginning felt slow because of it. I brought it on vacation with me over Independence Day weekend and finally broke through to the rest of the story, which was quite enjoyable.
If The Goose Girl focused on identity than Enna Burning focuses on trust. Enna and Isi are 17 and 18 now, and rapidly growing up and gaining responsibilities that seem increasingly impossible to complete. Enna and Leifer’s secret eats at them incessantly, and Isi has multiple problems of her own, the least of which is trying to support her new husband as their country heads into its first war in decades.
As the sophomore book in the series, the plot is much more straightforward, focusing almost entirely on the war, and the plot has a clear way of ending. Hale’s world building is quiet, yet extensive. We learn about Tira through its soldiers’ words, and we learn more of Bayern’s war-torn history. The character development continues to be superb. A worthy follow-up to The Goose Girl and a good set up to push the story past being just a fairytale retelling.
I definitely adored the first book, and I loved this volume as well. I look forward to re-reading River Secrets shortly.
HHC Rating: 4.5 Stars
Other reviews in this series: Book #1 – The Goose Girl Book #3 – River Secrets (Review Available 7/25) Book #4 – Forest Born (Review Available 8/15)