Review: Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

Enna Burning (The Books of Bayern, #2)Enna and Princess Isi became fast friends in The Goose Girl, but after Isi married Prince Geric, Enna returned to the forest. Enna's simple life changes forever when she learns to wield fire and burn anything at will. Enna is convinced that she can use her ability for good to fight Tira, the kingdom threatening the Bayern borders and goes on secret raids to set fire to the Tiran camps and villages. But as the power of the fire grows stronger, she is less able to control her need to burn. In her recklessness she is captured by the Tiran army and held captive by a handsome, manipulative young captain who drugs her to keep her under his influence. Can Isi and her old friends Finn and Razo rescue her without sacrificing themselves? And with the fire still consuming her, will Enna find a way to manage the gift that threatens to destroy her?

After reading The Goose Girl a couple of years ago (and reviewing it here days ago,) I was really excited to read Enna Burning, the idea of Enna learning the dangerous fire speech mixed with the happiness of being able to read Hale's beautiful writing again really got me going.

I have seen mixed reviews for this book, so In wasn't sure what to expect and when I first started the book, I was not impressed. The book definitely starts off slow, but fortunately it picks up, albeit about half way through.

This is so far my least favorite of Hale's books. The main problem was the fact that the plot itself was weak. It had the potential to be amazing, the idea of this young girl struggling with this fire inside her, but Hale doesn't pull it off well enough. I agree with reviews that say that this book is the darkest of Hale's, it definitely is, in it we see Enna struggle with her fire, we see death and we see her drugged and kidnapped and it creates a darker tone, but it doesn't really help the plot.

I felt that the descriptions of the fire magic were so frequent it got annoying, and I didn't think it was as convincing or natural as Isi's magic in The Goose Girl.

The politics were not really built on that much either, there is a war going on and we are given a very short backstory about it, which annoyed me a little.

Ahhh... Isi, Isi, Isi. There was one fatal problem with this book. I was so looking forward to meeting our lovely Princess Isi again, but instead of the optimistic, chirpy lady we know, we get an angsty almost annoying Princess. maybe Hale did this delibirately to center on Enna, but I found that it detracted from the book as a whole. Also, Enna's character wasn't built up enough either, I didn't empathise with her enough to really care what happened to her, which made the end of the book annoying.

One thing I did love was Finn. i have always loved Finn, even more than Geric in The Goose Girl, but Finn in this was lovely, not too nice, not too nasty. I loved him and I really wish I'd seen some more romance. As well as Finn there is Silaph, a Tiran soldier that kidnaps Enna and pretty much seduces her. From the start I saw what he was, but it didn't stop me gasping and screaming and hating. Finn and Silaph (and most of Silaphs plot) are the best parts of the book.

This book goes to both extremes, at some parts it is amazing but at some parts its lukewarm. For this, I'm giving it 

Overall rating: C-

Stand alone/series: Second in The Books of Bayern series, can be read as a stand alone
Released: November 15th 2004 (Paperback)
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 336
Book obtained via: Borrowed

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