by Shannon Hale
First off, I really like this cover art.
Secondly, this book is the sequel to The Goose Girl, and the second in the Bayern books. While the focus is on a different heroine, many old friends reappear. This book is an easy 4/5. The story is excellent and well-paced. The characters are easy to relate to and endearing. The friendship between Enna and Isi is a beautiful thing.
More thoughts, but they do involve some spoilers–
Basically, in The Goose Girl, Isi is able to overcome her enemies because she has learned how to speak the language of the wind. One of the things that I enjoy about Hale’s Bayern books is that each of them read fairly independently, and none of them “lead” into the next–each book has a very satisfying ending. But in Enna Burning, Isi is struggling with the wind. It harasses and follows her, constantly hounding her, leaving her tired and weak. In the meantime, Bayern’s neighbor, Tara, has begun a war, attacking villages along the border. We learn more about Bayern (and Taran) culture as the countries fight.
Enna, through a series of events, gains the ability to speak fire, in much the same way that Isi speaks wind. But fire is, by nature, destructive and intense, and Enna struggles to control her abilities.
Perhaps the reason that I enjoy these books is because I love the concept of balance. To me, life is all about learning how to balance, and contentment is found when balance is achieved. Through the girls’ struggles with their new languages and abilities, they eventually are able to find peace by bringing balance to one another–the fire is able to shield Isi from the wind, and the wind is able to quench Enna’s fire. By learning each other’s special languages, Enna and Isi are saved: Balance.