Enna Burning is the second book in the enchanting series The Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale. In the first book, The Goose Girl, the main character is Ani, and Enna is one of Ani’s friends. I was excited to see Enna in the spotlight this time and wondered where her story would take her.
I was not disappointed! I thought it was utterly fantastic and highly recommended. I was captivated with Enna’s story, and ended up loving it.
In the very beginning, Enna’s older brother discovers how to make fire through drawing on heat in the air and making it into flame. He is determined to aid their home kingdom, Bayern, in the upcoming war against a neighboring kingdom, Tira.
Enna is intrigued to learn this power too, but is hesitant because of the danger it will cause. She realizes that if she is not careful fire will consume her, slowly burning her from the inside out.
I loved reading Enna’s internal battle as she tries to figure out the right choice. It was one of the many things about this book that was spectacularly done. Anyone who has ever struggled with a difficult decision will be able to relate to her. I certainly did.
Enna ultimately decides that learning fire power is best for her kingdom despite the risks. She can burn a path to victory... as long as she keeps the overwhelming flames inside her at bay. I was gripped by this time, both worried and excited for Enna. I expected her to choose this path, but all the same I was worried where it would lead her. Would she manage to win the war and control her power at the same time? Or will the fire kill her?
After this, the real adventure begins. The book kept me entertained with many twists. I felt a range of emotions reading— I was scared, thrilled, relieved, intrigued, and sometimes downright disturbed by what Enna’s power could do.
Enna was an interesting and complicated character. Sometimes she was very likable, and sometimes she did things she knew were horrible and wrong. I often wanted to warn her she was making the wrong choice, or yell at her for what she’d done. Still I couldn’t help rooting for her throughout the whole book, and longed for a happy ending.
I was very intrigued by Enna’s fire power, and I thought the author, Shannon Hale, did an amazing job writing it. She really captured the complexity of fire, a thing brings life but it also brings death. It is beautiful yet terrible, all consuming and dangerous. In this world, fire power is similarly complicated. I could understand all of Enna’s decisions, even if I didn’t like them, because I understood the influence the fire had over her. Enna’s longing to set things aflame steadily increases over the course of the story, and it’s written wonderfully.
In fact, I thought the writing in general was amazing. It was lyrical and almost poetic, and it flowed very nicely. It provided beautiful descriptions not only of Enna’s fire making ability, but of everything.
The series is set in an enchanting world filled with magic and excitement, with a medieval feel. It’s brought to life vividly through lush descriptions. This world is divided into many kingdoms including Yasid, Kildenree, Tira and Kel, but it centers around Bayern.
Overall, I highly recommended Enna Burning as a thrilling fantasy book, and the entire series too. Of course, you should read the first book before this one. It’s called The Goose Girl and is also a great story.
Enna Burning by Shannon Hale. Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, 2017. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!