Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

Given the power to summon fire, a young girl finds herself torn between duty to her country and her fears that she will be consumed by magic.

Enna Burning is a sequel of sorts to The Goose Girl, but as far as I know it is not based on a fairy tale. Enna is goose girl Isi’s confidante, and her adventure begins when her brother Leifert shows up with a mysterious vellum that has granted him the ability to summon fire. But his power has wrought a fearsome change in him–he behaves like an addict, and when he burns Enna, she flees in fear, wanting nothing more than to save him. An invasion from a neighboring country changes everything, so Enna reads the vellum but vows not to let the fire consume her. She may not be strong enough to keep her promise.

Enna Burning‘s inventive plot was set off well by Shannon Hale’s poetic prose and intricate characters. I was surprised at the darkness of this book–not that The Goose Girl was childish or light, mind you, but because it’s rare (and wonderful) when an author commits to placing her characters at risk.

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