Top positive review
lovely cover & a great ending to a great series!
Reviewed in the United States on January 3, 2021
i love shannon hale's writing, and recently i decided to pick up the full set of the princess academy trilogy and the books of bayern. (and unlike the princess academy series, the books of bayern have all the books with cover art done by the original artist -- i snatched them up!)
upon finishing the princess academy i was a bit disappointed; i had enjoyed the first half of the last book but by the end some of the conflicts felt contrived.
based on other people's reviews i worried the books of bayern might end the same way. however, i am happy to say i was wrong. the first book covers ani/isi and her growth and triumph over being dethroned, while the second follows isi's BFF enna in the midst of a war between their own country and a neighbor. the third is about razo, a friend of enna's, as he and a convoy venture into the heart of their previous enemies' country in the hope of diplomacy. he considers himself small and not a particularly good fighter, but finds different strengths and proves essential to keeping the delicate peace and saving his fellow bayern's lives.
this final book is about rinna, razo's quiet younger sister. she loves her home in the woods, surrounded by family and trees. but recently she's felt wrong, and she longs to be someone else. she can't stay at home. so she asks razo to help her travel to the city, where she admires and tried to emulate isi. she ends up on a journey with isi, enna, and another girl and along the way learns that it's okay to use her words and strengths, and must meet and struggle with herself to learn to be her own person.
all of these books are about growing into your own skin, discovering and believing in your own strength, and finding your place in the world. in addition, they feature an intriguing and well-woven magic system that's tied so fully into nature that it never seems out of place. as the books go on the worldbuilding never falters, and every trouble the characters meet by the final book has come as a consequence of previous troubles set up in earlier books.