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River Secrets (Books of Bayern, Book 3) Paperback – September 16, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Hale, whose most recent novel, The Princess Academy (2005), was named a Newbery Honor Book, continues the story begun in Goose Girl (2003) and Enna Burning 2004) in this stirring, stand-alone adventure. The kingdoms of Bayern and Tira have just completed a war, and Bayern teenager Razo is astonished when he is chosen to join a company of the castle's best soldiers on a diplomatic mission to Tira. A poor swordsman with a reputation as "a brave fool," he knows that his most noteworthy talent may be "cramming two cherries into a single nostril." Once the company arrives in Tira, though, he learns why he was selected: he sees and remembers everything, without "seeming to pay attention to anything beyond dinner," making him an excellent spy. Tension between the kingdoms heightens with a series of recurring, pyrotechnic murders, just as Razo falls for an intrepid young Tiran. The story's pace is leisurely, but Hale's accomplished writing will easily pull readers into her vividly realized world. The expertly chosen, often poetic details set and pace the story, and the fully drawn characters, whose dialogue crackles with wit, will point readers to the underlying themes of cultural prejudice and the corruption of power that touch on contemporary political debates. Suspenseful, magical, and heartfelt, this is a story that will wholly envelop its readers. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; Reprint edition (September 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599902931
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599902937
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

New York Times best selling author Shannon Hale started writing books at age ten and never stopped, eventually earning an MFA in Creative Writing. After nineteen years of writing and dozens of rejections, she published The Goose Girl, the first in her award-winning Books of Bayern series. She has published seventeen books for young readers including the Newbery Honor winner Princess Academy and its two sequels, multiple award winner Book of a Thousand Days, superhero YA novel Dangerous, and the first four Ever After High books. Her novels for the adult crowd include Austenland (now a major motion picture starring Keri Russell) and Midnight in Austenland. Shannon and her husband Dean Hale have collaborated on several projects such as Eisner-nominee Rapunzel's Revenge and early chapter book series The Princess in Black. They spend non-writing hours corralling their four young children near Salt Lake City, Utah.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By KLC's Mom on September 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I love the two previous books in Shannon Hale's Bayern series, The Goose Girl and Enna Burning, so I was excited to read the third. I was not disappointed. Hale's writing is beautiful, lyrical, and descriptive. The characters are well-drawn, the settings familiar. This masterfully-crafted book is packed with action, romance, and humor. Razo, who was a minor character in the two earlier books, is a terrific main character. Lovable and funny, he grows throughout the story in ways that are both entertaining and inspiring. Some of Razo's old friends from the previous two books play important roles in this tale, and following their stories is one of the great joys of this book. Razo makes new friends as well, and enemies.

Shannon Hale is truly one of today's best story-tellers. This compelling mystery evokes both laughter and tears. River Secrets is best appreciated if you first read The Goose Girl and Enna Burning, but I highly recommend it to anyone who has a taste for action, adventure, romance, and mystery.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Look, no one is ever going to say that Shannon Hale isn't one of the finest writers living today. Her books are firmly entrenched between older child readers and young teens. They are also, for the record, full of magic and mystery and wonder and power. We all know this. If you happened, like myself, to read her award winning "Princess Academy", then you have seen what she is capable of. In my quest to read the best children's books of 2006, however, I found myself with a copy of "River Secrets" in my hands. Now please bear in mind that I had not read any Hale books aside from "Princess Academy" up until this moment in time. Moreover, I discovered fairly soon that this was the third book in a series that began with "Goose Girl" and carried on into "Enna Burning". All righty. I like a good challenge. So the question became this: Does "River Secrets" stand as a magnificent novel entirely on its own without your average child joe having read its predecessors? The answer is yes and no. Yes, it is rather magnificent. Hale doles out her humor, compassion, and cleverness in spades. But no, it doesn't stand entirely on its own. If you know of a kid that enjoyed the first two books in the series, "River Secrets" is going to strike them as an answer to a prayer. If, however, they (like myself) just picked it up because of the pretty pretty cover, they'll have to be prepared to wade through a lot of exposition and characters they don't care all that much about for one hundred pages or so. It definitely picks up after a while, but I think to get the full effect you need some background first.

In the past, Razo has never thought of himself as amounting to much. Sure, he's one of Bayern's Own, the highly skilled soldiers of the Bayern realm.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mads on October 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The City of Rivers is what River Secrets was orginally going to be called. But Shannon Hale (the fantastic writer of the book) changed it to River Secrets instead. Even though the title was changed, I still call it City of Rivers in my head. Sounds better.

River Secrets is Shannon Hale's newest book, and she did not disapoint her readers with it. It's finally Razo's turn to have a say in the series, and Hale portrays his feelings awesomely (is that a word?!). I won't give too much away, because then you won't want to read it, and Shannon Hale is VERY particualar about spoiler's (which she has every right to be!), but the book is about Razo, Isi and Enna's friend, who goes to Tira to guard the ambassador. He doesn't quite understand why, in his eyes and many other's he is just an average soldier. But then he discovers something he is good at, and that something takes him to a new excitement and importance he never knew...

I was so surprised when I read this book at how well Shannon adapts to each of her charaters. With Isi (in the Goose Girl), she shows a quiet very reserved girl. With Enna (In Enna Burning), there is a firey (forgive the pun...), stubborn, head-strong girl, who never quite cools off. And then finally there's Razo, a short average lovable guy, who thinks not too highly of himself. I think it's a wonderful thing when an author can switch roles like that, and Shannon did a fantastic way of doing so.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Shaunalee Johnson on May 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
He has enjoyed the whole series beginning with "The Goose Girl", but this one was his favorite, probrably because a boy was the main character. Shannon Hale is one of my new favorite authors. And what a great deal we got all the books for through Amazon!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Y.E.J on July 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
pre script: [This is not the last book of the Books of Bayern! There is a fourth book coming out.[...] This book is the most humorous of the three that Hale wrote. Razo, the main character, seems to be born to be funny! If you read the other two books, you might note that the plot is quite fast-moving. The plot for this book is not as fast as those, but perhaps has more amount of surprises. It gets a little boring, maybe, in the middle bacause it is slow. Each surprising information that Hale reveals doesn't really come together until much later in the book. In that case, read the book again later, sometime not too soon. You will find that you enjoy the book more. Do remember to read all the way to the end; do not skip some pages when bored.

About Razo: Short(he grows later in the book), uncertain, seventeen years old (in the beginning of the book), easygoing, hilarious(or at least funny), black-haired. Socializes a lot, a prefect spy, an experienced slinger(Finn helps Razo find that out), flexible. The main character; fun to see the book in close third-person view of him. Caught up in the intrigue between Bayern and Tira, solves everything out(with some help) at the end. Likes food!

Enna: Eighteen years old(again, at the beginning of the book)
Finn: Very patient; Eighteen years old

Isi/Ani: Twenty-one years old (I thought she was 20...)

Geric: Twenty-five

Megina: 20
Talone: I guess he is at least 40

Napralina: Eighteen years old; the second daughter of Kildenree

His Radiance the Prince: I guess he is 20 or something
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