Saturday, 5 June 2010

Enna Burning - Shannon Hale

I won't even attempt to write a proper review as I've read this a while ago, but I did want to write down some impressions, because Shannon Hale is quickly becoming one of my newest favourite writers. I can't just mention this one briefly.
Returning to Bayern was like revisiting some old friends. True, I've only read The Goose Girl recently, so it hasn't been that long ago, but it was still comforting. The story though, wasn't. Also, it was a little hard to get into it at first. It didn't have the familiar beginning of a fairy tale like The Goose Girl had. It left Ani aside, to focus on Enna, who was one of the best secondary characters in the first book, but somehow it took a while to warm up to the story.
The writing was always enchanting, though, and I knew I was gonna fall in love with the story soon enough. Enna is easy to love, just like Ani (or Isi as she calls her) but they are different. Ani had to grow from being too shy and awkward to be confident and brave. Enna's journey is different. She's already confident enough, being from the Forest and all, but she's very impulsive, strong-minded and proud. All great traits which make her a beautiful character, but which also lead her to make some big mistakes.
My favourite part was the second half, and if you haven't read it, skip this paragraph as it's hard to talk about it without some spoilers...
We come to realise, as hinted by Ani/Isi, that Enna's gift is a dangerous one, even more than expected, and that it won't be easy to get rid of it. Just like a drug, it starts to take over Enna's life from the inside and there seems to be no solution. The ending was absolutely beautiful. It showed the strong friendship bond that exists between the two young women, and it reminds us that the only way nature work is by maintaining its balance. You can learn its language but it can literally eats you up if you don't understand it as a whole. Loved it.
(end of spoilers)
My favourite fantasy books never take magic lightly. They show there's always consequences, laws and balances to learn before you can master it. That's one of the reasons why I will always refer to Ursula K. Le Guin and her Eearthsea series as some of the best fantasy ever written.
I love the Harry Potter's books because they're entertaining and cleverly plotted, but their careless use of magic will always slightly annoy me.
I'm happy to say Shannon Hale's works falls into the "best" category. At least her fantasy books, which are the only ones I've read so far.
I'm really glad there's another one to read in this series, River Secret, which I know nothing about. Another chance to get that cosy warm feeling of revisiting a beloved world and characters.

other reviews:
Things mean a lot
Nothing of Importance
Melody's Reading Corner
Rhinoa's Ramblings
Words by Annie
The Written World
Always dreaming
Please let me know if you've written about it too.

8 comments:

Bistiarj said...

Hi hi!, happy Blogoversary!
Bye

Shelley said...

I love Shannon Hale! I've read all of hers and will probably read them again.

Melody said...

I loved The Goose Girl, and I enjoyed this one too! I need to read River Secret soon!

Nymeth said...

You know, I'd actually forgotten I'd compared it to Earthsea, but now I remember why I thought it to begin with, thanks to you :P

There are actually two more books in the series! The fourth, Forest Born, came out last year, but I haven't read it yet.

mariel said...

Oh so glad you have discovered love for the wonderful Shannon Hale! I coulnd't agree more :)

valentina said...

Bistiarj, thanks you:)

Shelley, I think I will eventually read them all too.

melody, me too:)

Nymeth, no way! score!

mariel,oh yeah, it's hard not to love her isn't it?

xalwaysdreamx said...

Oh, wow, it looks like I haven't been blogging for a good few months.

I love Shannon Hale, too. My favorite of her work is still Book of a Thousand Days. Have you read it? It's not in the same world as Ani and Enna's but I found this world just as interesting and well fleshed out. This one is perhaps more in the folktale department than in her other works.

--Sharry

valentina said...

Hello, Sharry,
yes I have read T"he book of a thousand days". It was actually my first Shannon Hale's and I loved it. I reviewed it here too.

I've been neglecting my blog big time in the last few months, so we're together in this:P