The Black Dogs are on the hunt, but who is their prey?
When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps fairest Lady Gleamdren, the Bard Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission . . . and a race against his rival for Gleamdren’s favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.
But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin suddenly finds his story entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren’s rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her rescuer?
Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the fourth book released in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, though it takes place more than sixteen hundred years before the others.
This book caught me by the heart and refused to let go. I started it, excited to read another book from the Tales of Goldstone Wood, and instantly became so entangled in the lives of the characters that I had a hard time setting the book aside, even to do ordinary things like eat and sleep.
Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s writing style is absolutely beautiful. There is an almost lyrical quality to her phraseology and her word choice paints a vivid picture in the reader’s mind.
Her world is deep and complex, with histories and legends all its own, as if it truly has existed for centuries, rather than being the offspring of pen and ink.
But even more than the beauty of the writing style, even more than the depth of the world, the characters of Starflower gripped me by the hand and pulled me relentlessly after them, until I walked the paths of the Wood Between beside them.
Eanrin the bard, Prince of poets, immortal faerie, the man who is a cat, and the cat who is a man.
Starflower, the maid, cursed but unbroken, silenced but not enslaved.
Hri Sora, the dragon-witch, embittered, enflamed, soul bent upon destruction.
From the start, Eanrin wormed his way into my heart. He is so wholly cat-like, even in human form. Conceited, aye, as all cats are. As if the worlds were created for his pleasure, and all peoples and creatures made to love him while he is free to disdain everyone and everything.
Starflower is the complete opposite. Made strong in her weaknesses by a love and a selflessness that even her cursed tongue cannot hold back.
I fell in love with both Eanrin and Starflower and in truth, though the book was over three hundred pages, it felt far too short to do them justice. Not that the book itself was a bad length, but I would gladly have read more of Eanrin and Starflower.
I highly recommend Starflower to all lovers of fantasy and especially fairy tales. Even those who haven’t read the previous books in the Tales of Goldstone Wood will find Starflower an enthralling read. For though the books build upon one another, they are not dependent upon each other.
Starflower left me eagerly awaiting the release of the next book in the series, Dragonwitch, coming Summer 2013!
Note: Thanks to Ms. Stengl and Bethany House Publishing for the chance to review a free copy of this book! The thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.