Wednesday, February 29, 2012

River Secrets - 7/35

River Secrets is the third book of Bayern, following Shannon Hale's Enna Burning and The Goose Girl. This one is interesting because its protagonist, Razo, differs from the leads in the other two books both by being a boy and by not having elemental powers. Indeed, it's his insecurity about how ordinary he is that forms a backbone for his development in the story.

The plot is basically this: after the war with Tira, Bayern has to send an ambassador to the southern kingdom, and with the ambassador are some troops, including Razo, Finn, and, as the ambassador's lady in waiting, Enna. Bayern wants peace, but Tira's assembly may yet vote for war, so currying favor with the public is important. But that won't be easy when someone with fire speaking is burning Tirans and trying to frame Bayern. Meanwhile, Razo meets the charming Lady Dasha, who seems to be hiding something. Nothing's as it seems in this city of rivers and secrets, including Razo, who learns a lot about who he is and the man he is becoming.

This is a fun book. Isi is a doormat for most of her book and continues to be calm and reserved. Enna embodies her element; she's always animated but can be a little prickly too. Razo is just an all-around fun guy. It's not hard to see why he's able to make friends with both kitchen staff and royalty. I have to say, I really enjoy the friendship between him and Enna. No romance, just care for each other. They balance each other well. Dasha's pretty cool too, but I think her better development comes later. One thing I especially like about these books is how even when the main character changes the others are still there, still important, still have their own agendas and motivations. And this doesn't change in the fourth book, either, the review of which will be coming before long.

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