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Starflower (Tales of Goldstone Wood) (edition 2012)

by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

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335338,203 (3.71)None
Member:erleen
Title:Starflower (Tales of Goldstone Wood)
Authors:Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Info:Bethany House Publishers (2012), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Read
Rating:****
Tags:Young Adult, Fantasy, Christian Fiction

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Starflower (Tales of Goldstone Wood) by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

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Showing 5 of 5
Originally Reviewed at Witchmag's Boekenplank

*I received a free copy through Netgalley in enxchage for my honest opinion*

To be honest the beautiful cover entranced me so much that I did not pass the blurb more than a glance before I asked to review this book on Netgalley. Only when I started reading I found out that this was already the fourth book in the series and remembered that I was not able to finish the first book. So I was a bit hesitant before I started. Would it be as bad as the first, or would I like it instead? Although some of my worst expectations were met, there were also times that I was pleasantly surprised with this book. At least it’s way better than Heartless and the book managed to capture my attention enough for me to finish it. Even though this book also had some nasty characters, who played a somewhat important role, they fortunately aren’t as prominently present in this book. It was easy for me to read past them and enjoy the book, which can easily be read without reading the other two.

The existence of Starflower helped a lot with me liking this book. She’s the only mortal in a diverse party of the most miraculous beings, The Wood and a River. She’s the one who always keeps her calm, at the times a certain cat is once again whining, and the times they are being chased. What I found the most extraordinary is that she completes everything without uttering a word. She became mute after the Evil God of her country cursed her and all the woman in her land. He made them unable to speak. Wow, at that moment my feminist heart made a very inappropriate gesture towards said god. What a harsh way to suppress woman! My feminist heart was also screaming with joy when Starflower decided to go and fight the Evil God. Revenge! Don’t you dare to look down on women!

I also was totally in love with the world where this story takes place. It’s full of magical creatures, some of which I’ve never heard of. We’ve got a real “breathing and thinking” Forest and River. There are faerie queens, enchanted frogs, and what not. This book gave me the feeling of entering a whole new amazing world where lots of fairy tales were mixed together and I enjoyed it tremendously ^^

That was what I loved about this book, now on to the less than stellar points. My first obstacle was a cat named Eanrin. I’ve never met anyone with this much ego. Must be his cat personality. And I was appalled at his prominent role in the story. I did not enjoy spending time with him. There’s also a rather vain character, the lovely *cough cough* lady Gleamdrené. I can’t even count the times I felt annoyed at their behavior. Fortunately, Eanrin was able to grow somewhat, able to learn a bit from his experiences. Or at least he managed to stop screaming like a girl and running away from fights.

Then there’s the story. Which was all over the place. Especially at the beginning I had trouble following the flow of the book. Whose viewpoint was I reading? Who are they talking about? Even if everything became clear after reading some more and at the end, I was sometimes too lost to understand even the slightest thing of what was happening. I was also not happy with how the story stopped halfway, at a very thrilling point, to explain how the events came to be, in detail. No fun! At life-death moments I don’t like to be left hanging like that and having to struggle through a lot of chapters before I get to know if everyone will be alright.

Conclusion

2 HEARTS. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The world-building is amazing, as is our strong but silent heroine. Unfortunately I didn’t like the rest of the story that much, with some annoying characters and a confusing and exhilarating story. Therefore not many hearts. But the cover is AMAZING! ( )
  Iris-Boekenplank | Dec 22, 2013 |
With its fairytale feel and intriguing characters, the fifth installment in the Tales of Goldstone Wood doesn’t disappoint. In its pages we meet a young girl who falls prey to an enchantment only a kiss can break. Along happens the faery poet Eanrin, who can barely take the time to rescue a mortal, but his conscience won’t let him ignore the maiden. Eanrin’s kisses, meant to wake the girl, wake something within him. He’s engaged on a pressing quest to free the love of his bardic life but he can’t abandon the maiden to the perils of the Wood Between. Eanrin allows Imraldera (the faery word for Starflower) to accompany him. And so begins an epic tale of love, lust, revenge, and forgiveness.

Stengl’s writing style is fluid and beautiful, although perhaps a bit too mysterious at times. Despite this, she creates a compelling, not-to-be-missed world and vivid characters who live outside the page. The fact that Eanrin shape-shifts between faery and cat form was at times a bit odd given his position as a romantic interest for Imraldera. It’s a little strange to read about him grooming his tail one minute, then embracing Imraldera in the next. Even so, Starflower retains the reader’s interest and gives a valuable look into what it means to truly love.

I recommend Starflower for young adult and adult readers of epic fantasy. It can stand alone but reading the first three books in the Tales of Goldstone Wood first would enhance the reader’s experience.

Reviewed by Janalyn Voigt, author of DawnSinger

*My thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary review copy of this title. ( )
  JanalynVoigt | Feb 15, 2013 |
From my blog: On Starships and Dragonwings

Title: Starflower
Author: Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Pages: 400 (paperback)
Genre-ish: Christian fantasy
Rating: ★★★☆☆ - (3.5) Beautiful world, lacked on the characters
When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps the lovely Lady Gleamdren, 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? – Goodreads

Strengths:
There was a good amount of character development in Starflower all around, including one of the villains, though she is more of a grey character than evil I’d say ;-). This was fortunate because most of the characters didn’t start out in the best places, haha.
The descriptions of the world and the Hound character in Starflower were absolutely beautiful, nearly poetic.
Starflower had an interesting premise I must say, and again, there were several characters that I just wasn’t sure if I was supposed to root for them or not. This makes for a little bit of a confusing read at times, but refreshing as well!
Weaknesses:
Up until 20% of Starflower (I know because I was reading on my Kindle), I disliked all of the characters we had met and interacted with much so far. This was not a really great introduction to the story, and made me worry.
The nicest and main character, ie Starflower, is mute and we get very little of her internal dialogue. This led to me wishing I knew her better, since I think I would have liked her, but I just didn’t get the chance. There is a section of Staflower where the girl tells a story to someone who can understand her sign language, and that was awesome, because we finally got to hear from a character who didn’t constantly annoy me!
The whole culture that enslaved and muted their women thing never really got completely resolved. I won’t spoil anything by talking about it further, but I would have liked something that made a blanket outcry against all involved in such a horrible practice.
Summary:
Starflower was beautiful and charming, but the characters just didn’t win me over due to various factors. I think I would have actually preferred if the whole book had been first person, since then we could have gotten to know Starflower better. I had also been hopeful that the dragon would have been the one we were rooting for, but alas, not all dragons are good ;-). Finally, there was a lack of moral resolution for me when it came to the treatment of women by Starflower’s people, which was a little disappointing after such an otherwise epic conclusion. ( )
  anyaejo | Jan 24, 2013 |
To be honest, I was having second thoughts when I accepted this book. I don't usually read Christian fantasy fictions so I don't know what to expect from it and this is the 4th in the series and I thought, I might have a hard time catching up with the story.

But when Ms. Stengl said that "while STARFLOWER is the fourth in the series, it is a stand-alone novel that predates the other three..." I had a big sigh of relief. And when I found out that this book is from an award winning series, I had to read it.

Starflower is brilliantly written! The worldbuilding and narrative just sucked you right into the world of fantasy inhabited by fairies, dragons, witch, princess and other magical creatures. Every characters jumped right out of the pages.

I liked Gleamdren even if she's annoying and quite melodramatic.She's hilarious in my opinion and her prima donna character really suits her. I admire Starflower. She has a great heart and a strong will and you know how I love heroines with that kind of quality. I'm just sad that she doesn't have a voice but anyway, she still managed to express herself through her language.

And how can I forgot to mention the hero of the story. I really don't like Eanrin, at first, because he's so full of himself and that is not an attractive quality especially for the Prince of Poetry. But after he met Starflower, well let's just say that, true love really brings out the best in a person.

This book is full of adventure and romance. And if you like faeries, dragons, and a fairytale-like story, I think you should read this book. :) ( )
  erleen | Jan 23, 2013 |
You might have heard me say this before (ahem), but I am absolutely in love with Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s Tales of Goldstone Wood Christian fantasy series. Having read fantasy since the time I was a wee girl saying that Stengl’s work is a must-have series is saying a lot.

Rich writing, heartbreakingly beautiful redemptive themes, vivid characterization, and what a world-builder! Each progressive novel reveals more of this world she’s created for us. Starflower surprisingly takes us hundreds of years into the past to reveal more back story and to fully examine characters who previously played only supporting roles in previous novels.

Uncovering Eanrn and Imraldera’s journeys made me ache to read back through the entire series to read their parts in a new light. In all honest – each and every one of Stengl’s novels makes me want to do the same thing! New parts of the world, its history, and workings are continually unfolded, creating an ever deepening understanding and unity between the novels. Too bad the rest of my books are still in boxes after our move!

That being said, newcomers could jump in here, but I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to miss the rest of this beautiful series. Since the first book – Heartless (my favorite) – is generally available as a free download, that is also a wonderful place to start!

I did find the story a bit more slow-moving than previous novels in the series and it took me a few more sittings to finish it than one of Stengl’s works normally does, but that could be the newborn in the house too.

I unreservedly recommend reading Starflower and the rest of the series, and – as alwas – I am eagerly anticipating the next release. In fact, I think I could keep reading character-based explorations like this one for as long as Stengl will keep writing them!

Reviewed at quiverfullfamily.com ( )
  jenniferbogart | Dec 14, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0764210262, Paperback)

"Readers will enjoy this romantic adventure story...akin to C.S. Lewis' Narnia series."--Booklist

When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps the lovely Lady Gleamdren, 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?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:37 -0400)

When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps the lovely Lady Gleamdren, 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?… (more)

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