By Shannon Hale
Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, 2009. 389 pgs. Young Adult
In the fourth enstallment of the Books of Bayern Series, fifteen-year-old Rin, Razo's little sister, has always lived in the forest, taking comfort in the trees and being careful not to let loose a darkness she feels lurking inside of her. But when the trees no longer soothe her, she accompanies Razo out of the forest to the city, becoming a lady-in-waiting for Queen Isi. As Rin cares for Isi's son, Tusken, she also finds herself being comforted by the queen's presence. When Bayern is attacked and King Geric is wounded, and Isi, Enna, and Dasha set out to find out who is behind this latest treachery, Rin tags along. Along the way, she figures out what the darkness inside her is and had to come to terms with who she is and what she is capable of doing, all the while trying to protect her friends as well as Razo.
Although I didn't like this book as much as the first three books of the series, I still think it's one that fan of Shannon Hale will enjoy. Like the other books, there are elements of a coming-of-age story, with Rin discovering who she is and who she wants to be. The language has hints of lyrical magic mixed with the funny bluntness of those who are forest-born. Overall, not as enjoyable as the first three books, but it's still one worth reading.