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River Secrets
Genre: Adventure , Childrens , Fantasy , Romance , Young Adult
Series: Book 3.0 in the The Books of Bayern series
Ratings: ★★★★☆
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pub Year:
ISBN: 9781599902937
List Price: 0.00
Download: EPUB MOBI


Razo has never been anything but ordinary. He’s not very fast, or tall, or strong, so when he’s invited to join an elite mission escorting the ambassador into Tira, Bayern’s great enemy, he’s sure it’s only out of pity. But when they arrive in the strange southern country, it is Razo who finds the first dead body. As they try to learn more from the Tirans about the ever increasing murders, Razo is the only Bayern soldier able to befriend both the high and low born, including the beautiful Lady Dasha. And as Razo finds allies among the Tirans, he realizes that it may be up to him to get the Bayern army safely home again.

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
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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