It is a sad confession on my part to reveal that I have never read any of Anne Elizabeth Stengl’s “Tales of the Goldstone Wood”. And, now, I am reviewing a book that takes places thousands of years before those four books. I have missed out on a rich, immersive experience by not reading the first four books. I shall soon remedy that situation because “Starflower”, the newest entry into this “canon” of books is excellent. It is a moving fantasy far deeper than most fantasy; deep with character development; deep with thematic lessons; deep with a rich, lush tapestry of a world against which the action unfolds.
I will only be doing a one day book review because I have plans for finishing up my blog entries about the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth that transcend any religious devotion. I want to finish this by Christmas so I will be giving one day only to this review. And, all I can say is if you love Narnia; if you miss Middle Earth; if you enjoyed such stories as Alice in Wonderland, then you MUST read this book. Anne Elisabeth Stengl has created a setting in which rivers and trees come to life; a world in which animals talk and faeries can take on human or animal form. I haven’t encountered such a rich environment since I went back and rediscovered George MacDonald’s fantasy worlds. Those stories, by the way, were deeply inspiring to C. S. Lewis and he attributes MacDonald’s influence on his desire to create Narnia. The world of “Starflower” reaches those levels of fantastic believability
The story begins with Hri Sora. Once a dragon and now stripped of her wings by the Dark Father, she cannot remember all of her former life. She can only remember a burning lust for revenge.
Eanrin is a bard, the prince of poets, an immortal faerie and part cat. I know it sounds strange but just like a cat, he is also haughty and arrogant until he meets the character of Starflower. He finds his inner strength.
Starflower is the maid and is cursed. Her trials and travails are what endeared her to me. Made strong in her weaknesses by a love and a selflessness that even her cursed tongue cannot hold back.
The story begins with Hri Sora vowing to carry out a nefarious plan for the Dark Father in order to regain her dragon status. Hri Sora makes a deal with her father to bring back a special treasure. In order to do that, she must kidnap the Queen’s sousing who knows what the treasure looks like.
Eanrin goes after the kidnapped love of his life, Lady Gleamdren and in the process encounters Starflower. He comes across Starflower after she has drunk from the enchanted river. He feels sorry for her and agrees to take her to a witch owing him a favor and soon the girl is wakened from her deep sleep. Starflower is under a curse and cannot speak. He takes her with him as he pursues Hri Sora and, or course, we learn that there is a connection to the dragon witch! You’ll have to read the book and immerse yourself in this wonderful tale. Be prepared to be transported to a land of magic and enchantment! The story is fast paced and filled with moments of exhilaration and excitement. The world inhabited by the story is very complex and real; frankly refreshing and exciting.
I highly recommend the book to anyone who enjoy fairy tales and fantasy and I can’t wait to go and read the other four books!
In conjunction with the CSFF blogtour I received a copy of ” Starflower”.
*Book link – http://www.amazon.com/Starflower-Tales-Goldstone-Elisabeth-Stengl/dp/0764210262/
Author Website – http://anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com/
Author Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anne-Elisabeth-Stengl/120543861335559
Participants’ links: Be sure and check out these other reviews!
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Rachel Starr Thomson