Mar 29, 2008

Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

The story told in Enna Burning starts two years after the events of The Goose Girl. Enna is back in the Forest, living with her brother. One day, he brings home a mysterious piece of vellum that teaches him the power of fire. But fire consumes all, and this is not an easy power to control. In the meantime, Tira, a kingdom to the south of Bayern, takes some of the Bayern towns and villages near the border, and war seems inevitable. Returning to the capital of Bayern, Enna is reunited with her best friend Ani (or Isi), who tells her that she is being plagued by her own power. She can no longer silence the voice of the wind, and she aches for a moment of quiet. As the war advances, it becomes clear to Enna that having power over fire will be crucial for its outcome – but at a price.

Enna Burning is quite a bit darker than The Goose Girl. For the first third of the book or so, I thought I wasn’t enjoying it quite as much, but when I was done with it I realized that I possibly enjoyed it even more. This is not a story that sucks you in right away in the same way The Goose Girl does, but once it gets going, it really gets going.

The story is told from Enna’s point of view, but Ani is in it quite a bit, as are other familiar character like Finn, Razo, Talone or Geric. I think I prefer Ani to Enna – Enna is quick-tempered, impulsive, and she makes mistakes that Ani probably wouldn't make. But then again, that's what makes her story so interesting, and she learns and grows a lot through the course of it.

Enna Burning is a complex and suspenseful story about the dangers of power and war, about the cost of magic and bloodshed, about regret, loss, balance and guilt. And, most of all, it’s about the power of friendship and love – about how reaching out for others, trusting, can often save our lives.

I think that in the end what made me enjoy this even more than The Goose Girl was the fact that it was more character-oriented. Which isn’t to say that the plot isn’t interesting. I loved the fact that we got to see even more of the world Shannon Hale created – the kingdom of Tira, and Yasid, the land of the fire-worshippers.

There was something about Enna Burning that reminded me a little of Ursula Le Guin, particularly of the latter Earthsea books. Perhaps it was that Enna’s struggle with fire reminded me of Tehanu and Iria. Anyway, I’m sure that most of you realize that I mean this as a huge compliment.

Go on, read this series. You know you want to.

(And although I am not supposed to be buying more books, I have just ordered River Secrets. This time, we follow Razo as he travels to Tira. I can’t wait.)

Other opinions:
Nothing of Importance

Melody's Reading Corner
Rhinoa's Ramblings
Words by Annie
The Written World


  1. Enabler!!!

    Don't you just love those books that sneak up and surprise? I've read a few of them that I thought I wasn't enjoying much, but by the end it was the most mind blowing experience.

  2. Now I'm going to have to reread The Goose Girl so it's fresh in my mind, and then the next two. Ack. You did it to me again!

  3. well I don't own this one but I just got Goose Girl.. so when I am done with my rereads I will be seeing what this is really all about! lol

  4. I've just finished The Book of a Thousand days and loved it.After reading your reviews I suspect Shannon Hale will be come a favourite of mine!

  5. Andi: Yup, I love them!

    Darla: You'll thank me in the end, you'll see :P

    Deslily: Soon you too will be sucked in :P

    Valentina: I suspect the same myself. I look forward to your review of it!

  6. Great review - I totally agree with your thoughts. I loved the climax and felt it totally completed the book. I loved River Secrets just as much :)

  7. Corinne, I am counting the days until my copy of River Secrets arrives!

  8. Okay, that sealed it...I'm going out to buy it today! Seriously, my husband just walked in here, and I told him we absolutely had to go to the bookstore this afternoon. Might as well just pick up River Secrets while I'm at it, too :)

  9. I am really looking forward to reading The Goose Girl and now there are more in the series to look forward to! Thanks for the review.

  10. Debi, yay! I can't wait to see what you think of it! I bet Annie will be happy too :P

    Rhinoa: I think you'll really enjoy this series!

  11. Nymeth,

    Ok, I got Goose Girl, Enna Burning, Interpreter of Maladies, and now, River Secrets. I was actually just reading those off a little paper reminder. I'm on my way over to Amazon (I think, unless they don't have one in stock) to order for the second time this weekend.

    I should just send them my weekly check. : )

    Thanks and I'll let you know how I loved them so!


  12. You've been reading a lot of great stuff lately, I've enjoyed catching up on your reviews. I also enjoyed 'The Interpreter of Maladies' when I read it and have 'Night' which I really should read sometime soon. Oh and of course I'm looking forward to reading 'The Goose Girl'. :)

  13. I certainly need to get around to reading this one. I really, really enjoyed Goose Girl when I read it and my wife has all of these so I really have no excuse. Except that huge pile of books of my own that I have yet to read! ;)

  14. Amy, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! And lol, I know just what you mean about sending Amazon your check directly. It would save trouble, wouldn't it? :P

    Tanabata: It was spring break last week, and the weather was foul, so I got to stay in and do a lot of reading. I hope you enjoy The Goose Girl! I look forward to your review.

    Carl: I really think you'll love Enna Burning! Of course that your own pile of books is an obstacle, but you'll get to these eventually.

  15. I didn't realize that this was a series. I've noticed that most of the books I read are character-driven, which most times, if the characters are done well, I prefer to plot-driven books. Thanks for the review.

  16. Trish, it's the same with me, really.
    This is a series, but at the same time each book contains a story that reaches a satisfying conclusion. It's like she gives you the option of reading more if you are interested in the world and the characters, but you won't be left unsatisfied if you only read The Goose Girl.

  17. Thank you so much for your write-ups on this series - I've picked up The Goose Girl on several occasions but something more familiar would inevitably catch my eye and back on the shelf it would go.
    Your comparison of Enna Burning to the Earthsea books gave me the final nudge to carry both The Goose Girl and Enna Burning all the way to the checkout!

    Also, you were spot on in your review of Psyche in a Dress - "a sensual, painful, delicate tale" describes it perfectly, and your right - it's way too short.

  18. Ken, you're welcome. I hope you enjoy the series as much as I have!

  19. Along with the Goose Girl series and Book/Thousand Days, is The Princess Academy, another of my Shannon Hale favorites. I just love all her books.

  20. I've just finished writing my thoughts on Enna, then came here to read your review again, and noticed you also mentioned Earthsea! I swear i didn't remember you did but I thought it was funny!

  21. i LOVEDDDD enna burning! it was realllly good. its mh favorite out of all of the books. I WISH SHANNON WOULD MAKE MORE BAYERN BOOKS. has anyone read the other book "book of a thousand days" i doesn't look that goood but i haven't read it. and i think Fin is so adorable! I love how Shannon put the romance into it. She should of put more thoughh;) and that line "all i ever wanted is to be near you" was like my favorite part!!!:D


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