Hale, Shannon. Enna Burning (The Books of Bayern #2). Bloomsbury, 2006. ISBN 978-1582349060 368 pp. $
Shannon Hale’s companion to The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, is, in my opinion, not as satisfying a read as the first book. Its sluggish start really got to me. The only thing that really kept me going was that I had to read it for work because we may change it from a J to a YA. Thank goodness that the story picks up in the last 117 pages. I was about ready to throw the book across the room and maybe set it on fire (I was a bit influenced by Enna and her talent with fire). There were themes and heavy-handed metaphors throughout the story about desire and sex and drugs and lust that were interesting, but overbearing within the story. The author could have lightened up a bit on these and still gotten her messages across to the reader. I guess you would have to read it to see what I mean, but I don’t highly recommend it.
Here’s a little summary: Enna discovers that she can create fire and decides to use this skill in the war that her kingdom is fighting against a neighboring kingdom. She keeps her skill a secret from her closest friend, the Queen, and for a time, from her closest male friends. As if the burden of her secret isn’t overwhelming enough, she is captured by the enemy and almost manipulated into teaching her evil captor how to tame the fire. Luckily, she is rescued in the nick of time. Enna is scarred though and close to death when her friends succeed in rescuing her. They travel to a far away land to help her overcome her fireborn illness. Within the story she faces the death of her brother, lusty feelings for her captor, true love for her friend Finn, fear that she has ruined her friendship with the Queen, and the highs and lows of addiction–addiction to fire.