Moonblood (Tales of Goldstone Wood, 3) / by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.
Bethany House Publishers (April 1, 2012), ISBN 9780764207815
HS, grades 8-12, rating: 4. Paperback.
Anne Elisabeth Stengl continues her Tales of Goldstone Wood series with Moonblood. Rose Red serves Prince Lionheart in his palace, and everyone avoids her because she hides her face behind veils. People claim the prince is under her spell, but they are wrong. In exchange for his life, he made a bargain with the Dark Lady to avoid fighting the dragon that invaded his kingdom five years ago.
The crowds want to destroy Rose after she mistakenly lets a different dragon disguised as a woman into the city. Instead of death, Lionheart banishes her. Almost immediately she is captured by her goblin father, King Vahe. He plans to kill her to fulfill a prophecy on the Night of Moonblood. When Lionheart is removed from the throne, he goes in search of Rose, his friend. Will he find her in time?
This book is definitely plot-driven with unexpected twists. The story seems to drag occasionally. Because of this, one gets disenchanted with Lionheart as his lack of courage drags on and on. Lionheart must learn to live up to his name. However, until that moment arrives, he is a somewhat annoying character. Others have suffered because of his decisions and indecisions.
While the Christian allegory is stronger in this book, it is not preachy and could be missed by most readers. There is Christian symbolism if one chooses to see.
Stengl pens a highly imaginative fantasy with intricate detail. However, much of the story will be confusing without the background in the earlier books, Heartless and Veiled Rose. The minor characters are more interesting than the major ones.
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