River Secrets

Author: Shannon Hale
Reading Level: 5th and up

Pages: 290
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Edition: Galley, 2006

This is the third installment in the series started with Goose Girl and followed by Enna Burning. I put down everything else I was going to read because I so enjoyed the first two books. I liked this one, but was slightly disappointed that the water magic (after wind and fire, water is a natural element to follow) is not as prevelant and powerful in this one as the other two in the previous volumes. It is also less satisfying that the main character is not the one who learns and wields this power — I missed the passages that would have been there to describe the sensation and emotion of the process of calling, forming, and controlling water, if Razo has been the water-speaker.

The characters are definitely well defined and likable; the secrets and the final revelation didn’t come to me as a total shock but made the read entertaininig; the puppy love is so sincerely and deftly presented that I had to smile at Razo and his love. There are a couple of holes in this “detective” story that should have been addressed (for instance, the girl who baked the tart was never questioned after the accidental death of the poisoned dog…)

Shannon Hale is a wordsmith, just reading these sentences made me happy: “People opened their doors and shutters, pulled chairs and tables outside, and gossiped with neighbors as they ate, serenaded by a crooked moon.” “Warehouses crammed together, elbowing for a bit of river side.” “The Ingridan autumn air was pleasant and cool and carried with it a round feeling like something complete — a full moon, a full plate, the end of a good day.” Many many more vivid imageries and poetic descriptions. Maybe some readers find this slowing down the pace, but I just enjoyed reading them.

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