Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
The Books of Bayern series
 

Book Summary

Enna's friend, Isi, has the power to speak to and move the wind.  When Enna discovers an ability to do the same with fire, she is glad she can use it to help Bayern in the war against Tira.  But fire is not easy to control.  Enna does not want to become a monster.  Can she learn to control the need to burn, or will it destroy her?


This book is part of the Books of Bayern set, and, although each title can be read independently in any order, this book is most closely connected to River Secrets.
 
Enna Burning book cover
Enna Burning

Book Review

The special thing about Shannon Hale’s books is that they are unlike any other author’s work. The magic builds quietly. Even as intense, dramatic events occur, readers are not yanked from terror to joy on the emotional equivalent of a jerking wooden rollercoaster.  There is fantasy, and there is romance, but these things become part of a character’s fuller life, which includes various meaningful relationships and purpose. This is true in Princess Academy, and in The Goose Girl, and in The Book of a Thousand Days, but less so in Enna Burning. It’s not necessarily wrong to have emotionally indulgent moments, but it’s unusual to read something by Shannon Hale and be reminded of Twilight, if it were set 500 years ago. Some readers may find this book more appealing than others for this reason, but I found it disappointing. The plot twists and crises may have more shock value, but they also feel less natural.

Strong heroines are a trademark of this author, and I am used to cheering for them as they fight for a greater good. Enna is an instrument of war, and while her internal conflict about her power is compelling, she is less admirable than some of Hale’s other protagonists.


 
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Maybe Leifer was feeling the same way, that the Forest was not big enough anymore, that he had to find something bigger to fill his life."   p. 8

Topics and Themes for this book:

 
  • Political Intrigue
  • Self-Control
  • Romance
 
  • Using Powers for Good vs. Evil
  • Proving Yourself

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.


**Questions coming soon**

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