Sunday, October 19, 2008

River Secrets by Shannon Hale

River Secrets

River Secrets
by Shannon Hale

Trade Paperback: 290 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
First Released: 2006

Source: Bought from Books-A-Million

Back Cover Blurb:
Razo has never been anything but ordinary. He's not very fast or tall or strong, so when he's invited to join an elite mission escorting the ambassador into Tira, Bayern's great enemy, he's sure it's only out of pity. But as Razo finds potential allies among the Tiran, including the beautiful Lady Dasha, he realizes it may be up to him to stop a murderer and get the Bayern army safely home again.

This book is a "heroic fantasy" book and is the sequel to "The Goose Girl" and "Enna Burning." The book is more light-hearted than Shannon Hale's the previous books, but that's because this book's main character is a bit of a scamp.

The pacing and world-building were very good. The characters were engaging and changed realistically throughout the book. The romance in the story develops slowly. There was no sex, and I don't recall any cussing. Overall, I'd recommend this as "a good, clean fun" novel.

Except: Chapter One
Razo hopped up and down, but he could see only backs of heads. Soldiers and courtiers lined the grand hall, craned their necks, stood on toes. And everyone was taller than him.

"That's just perfect," Razo muttered.

Rumors had been buzzing all week that something weighty would be announced today, and now here he was without a hope of a decent view. If only he were in the Forest and could just climb a tree.

He looked up. Then again...

Razo squeezed to the outer wall of the chamber and leaped at a tapestry, just catching the lower fringe. A brief sound of tearing, quick as the squeak of a mouse in a trap, and he found himself dangling above a hundred heads, waiting for a terrifying rip to send him down. The tapestry shivered, then held, so Razo crossed his eyes once for luck and climbed up.

He pushed his feet against the wall and sprang onto the decorative shelving. At last he had an agreeable view of his friends Isi and Geric, Bayern's queen and king, seated on a dais three steps below their thrones. Beside them were the white-robed emissaries from Tira and a handful of Tiran soldiers who, Razo imagined, had been handpicked for looking brutish and menacing.

The yellow-haired Tiran woman was speaking. "...years of animosity cannot be quickly forgotten, yet we see the benefit of forming an acquaintance with Bayern as we have not for many hundreds of years."

"That is our wish as well," said Geric, "and so we propose an exchange of ambassadors. This spring, we'll send one of our own south to live among the Tiran people in the capital city of Ingridan."

"By the authority of the people of Tira, our assembly, and our prince," said the Tiran woman, "we accept Bayern's invitation and likewise will send our ambassador to live in your capital."

The crowd creaked with astonished silence. One lean soldier glared at Geric and thumbed the hilt of his sword.

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