River Secrets

River Secrets - Shannon Hale

The third of the Books of Bayern series, River Secrets switches protagonists again. This time the book follows Razo, a soldier of Bayern and close friend of Isi and Enna, the protagonists of the first two books. Tensions are still high between Bayern and Tira after the war between the two countries that took place in the last book. Bayern may have won, but quite a few people in Tira wish to try again. To prevent another war, an ambassador from Bayern is sent to Tira to try to convince the Tiran people to seek peace. Razo is one of the soldiers sent to protect the ambassador. When burned bodies start to appear, Razo must work to find the killers, as well as try to help win over the Tiran people.

 

Razo is a fun character to follow. I had already liked him from the first two books after seeing what a good friend he was to Isi and Enna and this book just made me love him more. He doesn't have powers like Isi or Enna and is quite insecure about himself because he's constantly comparing himself to others. He sees what others do well, but completely overlooks what he's good at. Once he stops trying to do what others are good at and focuses on doing what he is good at, Razo really starts to shine.

 

Characters from the previous books play roles here, which was nice. Enna and Finn are part of the group sent to protect the ambassador, while Isi and Geric only make appearances at the beginning and ending.

 

What I really liked about this book was how the consequences of the war played out. All the characters that took part in the fighting were changed, and several of them were still working through their feelings of guilt over their actions, particularly Enna. Bayern may have won the war, but the problems with Tira weren't magically solved and a lot of work has to done to prevent another war. Everything is an ongoing process and progress can easily be undone with one tiny misstep. I'm just a big fan of characters having to work through guilt and fragile alliances that have to be carefully maintained.

 

This series is just proving to be very good at showing consequences for everything and focusing heavily on character development, both of which I love to read about.