First edition cover of Enna Burning
|Illustrator||Alison Jay (first edition), Juliana Kolesova (photograph cover)|
|Series||The Books of Bayern|
|August 26, 2004|
|LC Class||PZ8.H134 En 2004|
|Preceded by||The Goose Girl|
|Followed by||River Secrets|
The story mainly takes place in Bayern, a kingdom divided into forests and towns. Bayern's technology and culture are reminiscent of the Medieval era. It is on the other side of the mountains from Kildenree, where the first book in the "Books of Bayern" series began.
After the conclusion of "The Goose Girl" Enna returned to the forest to live with her elder brother Leifer. After finding a vellum scroll while in the forest, Leifer learns the secret of 'Fire Speaking', but he is unable to control the power when he is enraged.
Enna goes to the city, hoping to talk to Isi (introduced as Princess Ani in "The Goose Girl") about Leifer's new power with fire, but Isi has been unable to manage her own ability to communicate with wind since the end of the first book.
The neighboring country of Tira invades Bayern. Enna and her friends, Razo and Finn, travel to the battlefront where they encounter Leifer. He is anxious to use his new power to fight. However, he later dies in battle after incinerating himself from the inside while using his power to set fire to enemy troops.
When Enna finds Leifer's body, she finds the vellum and learns its secrets. She then makes a series of rules for herself which she hopes will allow her to fight in the war without meeting the same fate as her brother.
Bayern decides to put on a mock battle between a Tiran prisoner and one of their own soldiers to decide the outcome of the war. Finn steps up when the captain asks for a volunteer. During the fight Finn comes close to death, but is saved when Enna burns the hilt of the prisoner's sword. This gives Finn the opportunity to kill the other fighter. Enna takes this as a sign that all will be lost unless she uses her power to end the war.
Enna tells Razo and Finn about her power and asks them to come with her on a series of raids to help keep her in check. She quickly finds she is unable to keep the promises she made to herself and cannot control her use of fire. When her friends try to dissuade her from further sabotage raids, she runs away and is captured by Tira.
Tiran Captain Sileph uses herbs to drug Enna so that she can't use her power of fire to escape. He tries to brainwash her into teaching him the secret of fire and fighting for Tira. Razo and Finn try to rescue her but are captured during their attempt.
Enna gradually gives in to Sileph's persuasive speaking skills. She believes that he loves her and she falls in love with him herself.
Overhearing a conversation, Enna learns that Sileph has been manipulating her. While Sileph is away at a battle an opportunity for escape presents itself. She fights her way out of the camp with Finn and Razo and escapes to fight for Bayern and end the war, even if it means her own death. She comes to the battle and starts burning, realizing she is being burned herself from the inside like her brother. Razo and Finn stand by her and protect her from the enemy as she burns.
Enna is found and saved by her friends before her wounds from using too much fire kill her. The last part of the book follows Enna and Isi trying to find a cure in a neighboring kingdom to balance the fire and wind that is killing them.
The trip takes months and along the way Enna has to face Sileph and a band of Tiran soldiers. His charisma has worn thin for her and his troops, and they fight, with Finn showing up to help and Sileph's own soldiers killing him in the end.
Enna and Isi finally return home at peace to their friends and families, with Isi finally pregnant with the long-awaited heir of Bayern.
Enna > A headstrong forest girl who worked in the city for several years and befriended Isi. She comes to realize how much Isi's, Razo's, and Finn's friendship has matured and changed.
Isi > The Queen of Bayern. She knows wind-speaking (talking to birds) and animal-speaking. She is friends with Enna from her time as a goose girl in the first book. She was the Princess of Kildenree, known as Ani, in The Goose Girl. Her full name is Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee.
Sileph > A Tiran captain of fifty, who captures Enna. He tries to brainwash her into falling in love with him, and fighting for Tira. He has the gift of people-speaking, and uses it to manipulate Enna and others.
Finn > A Forest boy who secretly loves Enna. He is quiet and gentle; although, forced by war, to fight to protect his friends and home, with grim determination.
Geric > The King of Bayern and Isi's husband.
Razo > A short, funny forest boy who has no great fighting skills but is very friendly and a good scout.
Leifer > Enna's older brother. Leifer learned fire-speaking. He is later killed in battle, using this skill.
Awards and nominations
- New York Public Library Book for Teen Age readers
- Amazon Editor's Pick for Best Middle Grade Book of the Year
- AML 2004 Young Adult Fiction Award
- Sonderbooks Standout 2004
- 2004, USA, Bloomsbury USA Children's Books ISBN 1-58234-889-8, Pub date 26 August 2004, Hardback
- 2005, UK, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC ISBN 0-7475-7573-8, Pub date 7 November 2005, Hardback