By Shannon Hale
Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2006. 290 pgs. Young Adult
Although the war between Bayern and Tira has ended, there is still unrest between the two kingdoms. In attempt to establish peace, the two countries exchange ambassadors, and Razo finds himself as part of the military accompaniment assigned to the Bayern ambassador as she heads to Tira. Razo struggles with doubting himself and why he was even chosen for the assignment, as he's small and not as skilled as the rest of the soldiers. Yet when problems arise--and big ones do quickly surface--Razo's captain trusts him to help figure out who is behind these actions that threaten to lead to war once more.
The third book in the Bayern series by Shannon Hale keeps the series fresh by turning to a different character and his struggles. Although Razo has played a role in The Goose Girl and Enna Burning, he gets his chance for center stage in this work. He's a lovable character with an enjoyable sense of humor. His struggle to figure out his own self-worth may be a common theme in Young Adult books, but as he goes about it while trying to save his country and his friends, it still has a fresh feel.
I listened to this book on CD and thoroughly enjoyed it. Of all the Bayern characters, Razo is one of my favorites, and the actor who provides the voice for Razo on the CDs is the one I like the most.