Cioccolata16, November 1, 2009 (view all comments by Cioccolata16)
Unlike to the previous commenter (is that a word?), I liked this book more than Enna Burning...however, this may be due to the fact that I unwittingly read it prior to the first two in the series! Hale does throw a lot of characters at the reader in the first few chapters, and the ending was a bit of a let-down, but overall I was happy to get to know Razo better. I liked traveling to a new country in Hale's fantasy world, and I was hard pressed to close the book for the night after hitting the halfway mark. A good read for any Hale fan.
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Michelleyevshky, July 3, 2007 (view all comments by Michelleyevshky)
I should preface this review by noting that Shannon Hale is easily one of my favorite fantasy writers. Her creative writing ability is notable and obvious. Take for instance the sentence "spring poked out everywhere." This book is rife with marvelous metaphors and the plot is great...but it's been done before and better in both "Goose Girl" and "Enna Burning." Added, Hale seems to make little effort to differentiate the bevy of characters she releases onto the reader in the beginning pages. I've read both of her previous Bayern books and "Princess Academy."I felt this book was cliche and overkill.
Overkill? Case in point: at the finale of our epic hero and heroine step into a boat and kiss their way to the final page. It was cliche and could have been done better.
Did I love this book? No. But I liked it. Regardless of the flaws I pointed out, this book still floats on Hale's excessive talent and imagination. Bayern is a place I want to go over and over again. I welcomed the chance, even if it wasn't as memorable as the last two times I went. For Hale's ability I give this book a three. In the general writing crowd where Hale stands a head taller, this book gets a four.
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Razo, this winning novel's endearing protagonist, first brought to life as a minor character in Hale's TheGoose Girl, here gets his own story. Now a confidante of Queen Isi, Razo was originally a simple forest boy whose major skill is using a slingshot to hunt squirrels. Short in stature and low in confidence, he is asked to join a mission of peace between his own kingdom of Bayern, and the enemy kingdom of Tira. Razo is then selected to become a spy because of his unassuming nature and powers of observation. He soon discovers that traitors in the Tiran army are trying to re-ignite the war, literally, by leaving charred remains of bodies — an act they hope to pin on another envoy from Bayern — Razo's friend Enna (from Enna Burning). This mystery unfolds along with charming friendships among Razo and his comrades, who lovingly tease him when he is the last to realize he has fallen in love with Dasha, the striking orange-haired daughter of the Tiran ambassador to Bayern, and has grown in height as well as self-assurance. This novel will be a special treat for readers of Hale's other two companion books, but it also stands on its own as a unique and tender coming-of-age story. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Children's Literature,
"No only is this book a reading treasure but this is a great book for affirming to teens that everyone has value and possesses many talents and qualities that can prove useful. Razo could be any undersized teen who needs reassurance and encouragement."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Hale makes profound statements about war and peace, friends and strangers....Her language glimmers like firelight, like sunshine on water as she propels readers along a river of wonderful writing to the tumultuous and heart-tugging climax."
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