Somehow Enna Burning, the second in the Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale is much less popular than its predecessor, The Goose Girl. Personally I don’t understand this at all. Admittedly, I have a tendency to tastes somewhat contrary to the crowd, but when I read the two books next to each other… for me there’s no competition.
Enna makes The Goose Girl look tame… even (dare I say) boring in comparison. Isi, the main character of the first novel is a princess in disguise who learns the language of the wind and defeats her foes, which is great and all, but Enna… Enna learns the language of fire.
I just loooove the way Shannon Hale deals with the different elements in these books. Because while the wind is thoughtless and can only speak of the things it’s seen and is easily diverted from its natural way… fire is an altogether different thing, dangerous, hungry, and always, always seductive.
Enna is a fantastically strong character, which she has to be, because the language of fire will devour even the person who sets it free, as we see even from the very beginning of this novel. Enna is all action and she goes through some serious trials in this book, where she’s struggling to control this enormous gift and not destroy her friends—or herself—in the process. She’s not perfect, and she doesn’t get everything right at the first try, but she does everything she can to help her friends and her country on the brink of war.
Personally I can’t recommend this book highly enough. While The Goose Girl is a Grimm’s fairy tale expanded, Enna is all Hale’s own world, and she’s built up this idea of hidden languages in just a truly gorgeous way. Enna Burning takes all the stakes in the first novel and kicks them up a notch, too, which I can’t help but love, and the little bit of romance that we get in this is… oh just right up my alley. I won’t tell you about it, because even the who is a bit of a spoiler, but I’ve been in love with this guy since his brief appearance in The Goose Girl, and to get to see him really develop and grow up in this novel was just a thrill. Really it’s one of my favorite love stories I’ve read in recent years, and though I’m looking forward to the upcoming Forest Born, I already doubt that it’ll knock Enna out of my top favorite for the series so far.
My rating: A+. +. If I can do that. 😉