Posted by: Ms. Matson | July 28, 2009

River Secrets

River SecretsRiver Secrets
Shannon Hale
New York: Bloomsbury, 2006
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Interest level: Middle grades
AR Level: 5.7

River Secrets is the third (of four, so far) in the Bayern set.  One of the things I appreciate about this series is that instead of following the same main character in each book, Hale has developed books around Isi’s circle of friends from The Goose Girl.  This provides a much fuller picture of the Bayern world and allows us to see characters from different perspectives.  River Secrets is about Razo, the boy who tended the geese along with Isi in The Goose Girl and helped protect Enna in Enna Burning.  He is now 16, and as a member of Bayern’s Own military unit, is asked to accompany the ambassador on a peace-keeping mission to Tira.  From the front flap:

“When the Bayern arrive in the strange southern country, it’s Razo who discovers the first dead body.  He’s the only Bayern able to befriend both the high and low born, the people who can provide information about the ever-increasing murders.  And he’s the one who must embrace his own talents in order to get the Bayern soldiers home again, alive.”

Once again, Hale does a great job capturing the voice of the main character in her writing.  The tone of River Secrets is different from the first two books, as it should be with a male lead.  Razo’s sense of humor, pride, and brazenness come through effectively.  The story has a bit more mystery to it than the others and will keep you guessing as to the true identities of the various players.  It’s also a lot more plot-driven.  While Razo’s character is well-developed, he didn’t gain the same magnitude of personal growth and development as Isi and Enna.

While I did enjoy River Secrets and will keep reading the Bayern series, it wasn’t as riveting as the first two.  It is an enjoyable, satisfying read.  Good, but not fantastic.  I’m looking forward to the release of the fourth book, Forest Born, this September.

*My review of The Goose Girl is here.



  1. […] My review of River Secrets is here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The Goose […]

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