ARC Review: Dragonwitch (Tales of Goldstone Wood #5) by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Series: Tales of Goldstone Wood #5
Published by: Bethany House Publishers on July 15, 2013
Genres: Christian Fiction, Fantasy
View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon
About the Book:
Who Will Dare to Face the Dragonwitch?
Submissive to her father’s will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves–Lord Alistair, future king of the North Country.
But within the walls of Gaheris Castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair to the brink of insanity. 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 North Country into civil war.
And far away in a hidden kingdom, a fire burns atop the Temple of the Sacred Flame. 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 one person who can wield it.
Dragonwitch was my first journey into the Tales of Goldstone Wood series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, and I absolutely loved it. Stengl creates a fantasy world that is different than anything else I’ve read in the genre. The world is rich with castles and magical Faerie Paths, and the characters are all done really well and have their own personalities, strengths, and weaknesses.
Alastair, the nephew of Earl Ferox, has been named the heir to the childless Ferox, and he has been told all of his life that he will one day be king of all of the North Country. His mother, Lady Mintha has spent his lifetime grooming him to become king, but is that really what Alastair wants?
Lady Leta of Aiven has been betrothed to Alastair in order to get her father, the Earl of Aiven to form an alliance with Lord Ferox to make it easier for Alastair to become king. Leta has been told it is “our woman’s lot” to be married and bear children, and passive Leta has gone along with what her family wants.
Then there is the Chronicler, the dwarf of a man who has been employed to write down the history of the Gaheris like the Chronicler before him. He also takes it upon himself to teach Alastair to read and write based on the wishes of Earl Ferox. The two don’t seem to get along, at first, but things may change.
One of the things I loved about this novel is there is this huge theme of fate and destiny and the question of are we meant to be more than what others wish for us? Alastair has constantly been told he is to be the king of the North Country, Leta has been betrothed to a man she has never met and is given no choice in the matter, and the Chronicler is shunned from everyone else at Gaheris because he is malformed. But when goblins take over Gaheris, an epic journey ensues that makes everyone question their destiny.
Intertwined within the adventure story is the mythological story of two immortal brothers, the legend of which the rest of the story takes place. Having the legend go along with the bulk of the novel was great, I love anything mythological and having the mythological basis was something that I really enjoyed.
If I had one complaint about the novel it’s probably that once the story splits into the epic journey to get rid of the goblins and what goes on in the castle after the goblins have invaded, not a lot of time is spent at Gaheris, which wouldn’t be a big deal except one of my favorite characters ends up staying at Gaheris.
Overall, I’m giving Dragonwitch 4 out of 5 game controllers. It’s a great fantasy story with a colorful world, and fantastic characters. It also really does make you think about destiny and fate and whether or not we’re meant for more than what people want from us.
4 out of 5 Controllers