Today I wanted to take a closer look at the characters of Starflower, especially Eanrin, the Faerie Cat and Starflower, the Cursed Maid.
One of my favorite things about the Tales of Goldstone Wood series is that the books – though marketed as stand-alones – are all interconnected. Not linearly, one after the other, rather like strands in a web (without the nasty spider in the middle) or threads of a tapestry. This adds great depth to the world Ms. Stengl created. A world with histories and legends all its own. A world that feels as if it has been around for hundreds of thousands of years.
Likewise, the characters in Ms. Stengl’s stories all have great depth. One gets the feeling that there are no filler characters, no unimportant personages who arrive on scene simply to move the plot forward. Each character has a history of his/her own, hinted to throughout the story, until one cannot help but wonder when they will become the hero/heroine of their own story.
Such were Eanrin the bard and Starflower (or Imraldera, as she is otherwise known) when we met them in previous books, and now at last, in this prequel, they assume center stage.
Eanrin. Bard of Rudiobus. Immortal faerie. The man who is a cat, and the cat who is a man.
Those familiar with the Tales of Goldstone Woods series, will recognize Eanrin as Una’s cat, Monster, from Heartless. As someone who loves cats (there’s nothing quite like having a cat curled up in your lap, purring like a freight train) and is currently writing a cat character, I especially loved Eanrin.
Ms. Stengl did an excellent job writing Eanrin as both cat and man. Even as a cat, Eanrin is still completely human, and yet as a human, Eanrin is still completely cat. And Eanrin’s transformation from a conceited selfish cat to one who being loved has learned to love, is beautiful to behold.
A favorite excerpt:
“Oh, Lume’s crown!” said the poet-cat, looking down at her. The next moment, an orange cat rubbed across the girl’s knees, purring noisily and flicking his tail in her ear. She sat up and, after a brief hesitation, ran a tentative hand along the cat’s head, back, and up the plumy tail. The fur was matted with mud in places, but his ears were softer than the soft skins she wore, and his body was warm and rumbling with life . . .
“Crown and sceptor!” the cat meowled. It was strange indeed to hear the man’s voice from the animal’s mouth, though not as strange as it might have been. The two forms were both such natural extensions of Eanrin’s nature that they hardly seemed disparate; it was only her perspective that altered. “If a purr like that can’t cheer you, I don’t know what will.” (Starflower, pg. 113)
Starflower, the maid. Cursed but unbroken. Silenced but not enslaved. She is made strong in her weakness by a love and selflessness that even her cursed tongue cannot hold back.
I loved Starflower, or Imraldera as Eanrin insists upon calling her. She is so different from most heroines one reads about today. She is strong, but she does not swing a sword. She is courageous, but oh so afraid! She is not blustering and defiant, seeking to prove herself capable, to display her strength. She knows her weakness, confronts her fear, and loves despite all that has befallen her.
A favorite excerpt:
“Imraldera, still stroking the Dog’s head, looked up at him, shook her head, and made a silencing motion with one hand. She continued petting the Dog, which rolled upright and laid its ugly head in her lap. The tail flapped once, twice, three times on the stone. It did not look as though it had often wagged before. Imraldera continued stroking, pouring every feeling of love she could into her touch . . . though she was so spent, she had little enough to offer.” (Starflower, pg. 154)
Both Eanrin and Starflower have found a permanent place in my heart as some of my favorite fictional characters and I’m excited to be able to read the Goldstone Woods books again, knowing a bit more of their history.
It’s not too late to enter the giveaway to win a free copy of Starflower! To enter today, answer this question in the comments:
Which character in the Tales of Goldstone Woods series would you care to find out more about?
To earn an additional entry (or two), like Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s facebook page or my facebook page and then comment saying that you did so.
Even if you don’t wish to enter the giveaway, feel free to leave a comment letting my know your thoughts! The more the merrier!
Beckie Burnham Nikole Hahn Bruce Hennigan Janeen Ippolito Carol Keen Emileigh Latham Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Anna Mittower Rachel Starr Thomson Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Dona Watson Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler
Note: In conjunction with the CSFF blog tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.