Author: Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Review by Grace Olson
The school season has started up again, but never fear, the book reviews will continue. After all, when you need some time to unwind, what better way to relax than within the comfortable pages of a good book? Who needs sleep when you can go on an adventure through the ocean’s deep on the Nautilus, chance the dangers of the Fire Swamp, or simply listen to the elves sing at Rivendell? Today, I’m going to fill you in about my latest read, Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s novel, Dragonwitch, that released in July of this year. You may recognize that title from an earlier post here, and you would be right! In July I participated in a blog tour for Dragonwitch’s release and hosted an interview and a giveaway here on Onto Her Bookshelf. Now—at last!—I have gotten around to reading Stengl’s riveting new release. Be prepared for adventure as we explore the fifth book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood.
Taken from Bethany House Publisher’s website synopsis of Dragonwitch:
Who Will Dare to Face the Dragonwitch?
Submissive to her father’s will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet the future King of the North Country and a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves.
But within the walls of his castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta’s tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the entire nation.
And far away in a hidden kingdom, a flame burns atop the Citadel of the Living Fire. Acolytes and priestesses serve their goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice…and for the hero who can wield it.
I love Stengl’s writing style. Lyrical, with beautiful, vibrant descriptions, and characters that are lifelike and diverse, Dragonwitch was a delight to read. I might also add that Stengl is one of my “role models” so to speak in my own writing journey. Oh, to be able to weave (seemingly effortlessly) such powerful stories that live with the reader long after ‘The End’. Sigh. Ahem. Anyway, back to the book.
There are several different points of view that Stengl writes from throughout the book, as well as multiple stories that at first seem unrelated, then she somehow brings it all together in the end. I have no idea how I would pick only one favorite character, so I’ll give you my top two. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Sir Eanrin and Lady Leta. I was unsure about Leta at the beginning, but I grew to really like her as she was stretched and grew throughout the book. And Eanrin…I love his sarcastic remarks. Knight of the Farthestshore and Chief Poet of King Iubdan Tynan, Eanrin has the unique ability to change from the body of a man into that of a cat and vice versa. This cat-man embodies my idea of a cat’s personality, and is a character I won’t soon forget!
I really appreciated how Stengl incorporates some romance in Dragonwitch, but it is not the main theme. The individual love stories don’t really even show up on the book’s radar until near the end, but what romance Dragonwitch did contain I liked.
About the Author
Biography from Bethany House Publisher’s website: Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, and Starflower. Heartless, Veiled Rose, and Moonblood have each been honored with a Christy Award. ~ To learn more about her and the other books she has written, visit her web page: http://anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com/
I’ve said in the past that I like to read fantasy, but I should add that I’m also very picky about what books I’ll read in this genre. I like fantasy with a Christian theme (see my review of Prophet by R.J. Larson), and while Stengl’s books might have more subtle messages of faith, she has become one of my go-tos when I’m looking for a good fantasy read. So far I haven’t been disappointed. As for Dragonwitch, there really wasn’t anything that I didn’t like in this book, and I have high hopes for Shadow Hand, Stengl’s next Tales of Goldstone Wood novel set to release this spring!
I was given a review copy of Dragonwitch from Bethany House Publishers for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review.
Dragonwitch is available for check out, download, or paper copy.