Series Review: The Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale

I love Shannon Hale’s books. They have just the right touch of romance for girls, and the right touch of action for guys. I’ve always enjoyed reading books with magic, fairy tales, or any of that sort, mostly in part because, well, you don’t really see that much around here.

I remember reading these maybe four years ago. I still read them over and over again today. It’s amazing how they never get old. Just recently, I listened to all three of the audiobooks, thanks to the convinent Overdrive Media Console that Wake County Libraries offers 🙂 They’re recorded by Full-Cast Audio, which has to be the  most amazing audiobook company ever. They have different voices for each character and music and sound effect and everything. It’s really an amazing experience listening to something you’ve only looked at on paper turned into something real.

Book #1: The Goose Girl

We all know the Brothers Grimms story of the goose girl. A princess is betrayed by her lady-in-waiting on her way to marry a foreign prince. She has a horse that she can talk to. Later, she becomes the goose girl at the foreign prince’s palace, and she talks to the cut-off head of her old horse. In the end, the princess reveals herself and the lady-in-waiting is killed. Whenever I read fairy tales, I always wonder about the in-betweens. What is the princess actually like? What is the lady-in-waiting actually like? Why can the horse’s head still talk? Does the princess meet anyone in between?

This book goes in depth into the princess’ (whose name is Isi…well, her name becomes Isi) struggle to identify who she is and fight against the habit of obedience that she has followed her whole life. It’s a page-turning (or hours of listening) story that will leave you smiling at the end.

Click here to reserve this book at your nearest Wake County Public Library. Click here to download the audiobook.

Book #2: Enna Burning

In this second book, it switches points of view from Isi to her friend, Enna. It also explores Finn more (he’s my favorite character :D). Enna is overwhelmed by Isi’s accomplishments (see Book #1), and she wants to feel like she can do something more in her life. An answer seems to come when she is in possession of a vellum, which holds one of the most powerful secrets of all time — how to control fire. However, once Enna starts burning, she can’t stop. Will she learn how to control the fire that threatens to consume her — or will she end up burnt away like her brother?

This book definitely lived up to the first one. It’s even more action, even more romance, etc. I liked how Shannon Hale switched from one character to another because sometimes a second book after an almost perfect ending is not as interesting.

Click here to reserve this book at your nearest Wake County Public Library. Click here to download the audiobook.

Book #3: River Secrets

Razo is the main character in this last book. He’s always been more of a laugh, with his hair sticking up vertically on his head. After being promoted to an ambassador, he finds a series of burnt up bodies and is then given the job to find the murderer. Will he be successful in his endeavours? Will he also find true love along the way (hint hint)?

I was heartbroken when I finished the last sentence of this book. 5 stars for all!

Click here to reserve this book at your nearest Wake County Public Library. Click here to download the audiobook.

Already read these? (like me?) Try these! (Just click on the titles to reserve them at your nearest Wake County Public Library)

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (Downloadable Audio)
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale (I listened to this in full-cast audio as well! Amazing. Click here to download the audiobook)
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (Reservable audiobook, I listened to this one too. It was good, but I thought the music was kind of creepy)
The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Shadowland by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (the above three are part of the Brotherhood of the Conch Series; the first two books were excellent, but the last one was meh)

…and many more. Look for later blog posts for more amazing books 🙂 Also, look for some about Chinese culture. Moon Festival is coming up on September 12, and it’s a time to make mooncakes and do many other exciting activities.

Enjoy!
-hils

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