Dragonwitch (Tales of Goldstone Woods) / Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Bethany House Publishers (July 15, 2013), ISBN 978-0764210273
HS Grades 8-12 Rating:5
Award-winning author Anne Elisabeth Stengl continues her Tales of Goldstone Wood series with Dragonwitch, a highly imaginative fantasy with Christian subtexts.
In Dragonwitch, Lady Leta is engaged to the future King of the North Country whom she has never met. When she travels to Castle Gaheris, Leta assumes her betrothed is Lord Alistair, nephew of Earl Ferfox. Alistair is bothered by night terrors and recurring dreams.
Though pledged to marry the following year, neither of them are interested in a marriage to one another. Alistair broods and barely talks with her. Leta spends her time in the library, learning to read under the tutelage of the Chronicler, a dwarf-size man with a crucial secret. When Ferfox dies, everyone assumes his heir will be Lord Alistair, but Chronicler’s secret impacts everything.
Meanwhile, in a faraway kingdom, priestesses worship the Dragonwitch in the Citadel of the Living Fire, while she searches for the sword and the only one that can use it against her. Goblins, a dwarf, a wingless dragon, faerie beasts, prophecies disguised as nursery rhymes, a girl disguised as a boy, and a blue star comprise the world of Dragonwitch.
The plot lines intersect weaving a tale sure to delight its readers. Dragonwitch is a both plot-and character-driven, with plot twists and back story to the earlier novels. It is a well-written fantasy that can be read without having read the earlier books, although readers of the other books in the series will appreciate the backstory more.
The Christian subtexts in Dragonwitch are more evident. For many readers, Dragonwitch put the puzzle pieces together for the earlier books. Of the 4 books in the Tales of the Goldstone Woods series, Dragonwitch is one of my favorites, along with HEARTLESS. I have also reviewed HEARTLESS, VEILED ROSE, MOONBLOOD, and STARFLOWER.
Disclaimer: Book reviews are my opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
Carol R. Gehringer