Rate this book

Dragonwitch (2013)

by Anne Elisabeth Stengl(Favorite Author)
4.46 of 5 Votes: 1
0764210270 (ISBN13: 9780764210273)
Bethany House Publishers
Tales of Goldstone Wood
review 1: I have read each one of Anne Elizabeth Stengl's books in this series and even though they do well on their own and draw people in with exquisite characters and exciting adventure, the real greatness of the allegory and even the characters themselves, I think, should really be enjoyed in the order they were published. Not unlike C.S. Lewis' fantasy series about a great lion, a nasty witch, and a very strange wardrobe, the books may not all take place in chronological order and some of the characters may change from book to book, but the insight given into each character and the larger storyline as the series builds makes it worth it to spend the time it takes to read each book in its turn. Each time I have read the next book in this series I have thought to myself, "well, s... moreurely the next one couldn't be better than this!" And yet, after reading my new copy of Dragonwitch I once again have to say, the next one couldn't possibly top this!One of my most major pet peeves with fantasy writers is when they overrun their beautiful storyline with sloppy romance and leave you sludging through a piece with characters that physically feel and emote too much and think too little. This leaves them only half filled out and you get to know them so much less than you should because one third of the book was focused on the pounding heart and the sweaty palm of the two who you just know will be together in the end anyway. The beauty of Miss Stengl's writing (especially as seen in this book)is not that there is an absolute lack of love and caring in her novels, indeed, her novels are quite saturated in love; however, she, unlike so many authors out there, understands that there are greater things in this world than infatuation. She just barely touches on the romance factor into which so many would-be great fantasy writers often get bogged-down, but fills it out with thought, family love, courage, love for the maker, etc. Something also to be noted is her display of the contrast between a healthy, beautiful kind of love, and the poisonous and selfish kind found in the the main villain and even in various others throughout the book. This not only makes them more human and less book-like characters, but also offers room for character growth and allegorical expansion. I would give this book, Dragonwitch by Anne Elizabeth Stengl, five out of five blue stars for depth, beautiful characters, great themes, good action, and obviously for being a good pleasure read to boot!Fling wide the doors of light, Smallman!
review 2: I first saw this book on Netgalley and was instantly suckered by the cover (intriguing) and the name (I love dragons). I had requested it before I even read the blurb. Then I saw a blog tour for this so I signed up. But to be honest I have really struggled with every aspect of this book, but I saw too much merit in it to just declare it a DNF. (Though I admit I was sorely tempted up until about 40%) I understand now, (after doing a bit of research) that this is the fifth book in a series Tales of Goldstone Wood. Although it's supposed to stand alone, I think I would have found it easier if I had read the others. So what are the problems and merits?Problems first. Like many fantasy authors, Stengl is big on unpronounceable names. You know the kind I mean, hit a few consonants on the keyboard, chuck in a few vowels, and there . . . we have a name. The trouble with this is that there are a lot of characters and places to be remembered and having awkward names did not help with understanding.But that was a minor problem compared to the real biggie . . . The plot follows three distinct story lines with three distinct sets of characters - immortals, mortals, fey, goblins, and just about everything else in between. While it all eventually starts to come together (at about 40%, according to my Kindle) I spent a good chunk of my reading scratching my head, wondering what was going on. I kept slamming my Kindle cover shut, saying to my husband "That's it. Done with this." But I wasn't done, because regardless of my many, many frustrations, I pushed on. Why?The MeritsThe characters whose story I did undertand (and whose names I could pronounce) were compelling. By this I mean Alistair, the Chronicler and Leta. I instantly attached myself to them. I wanted to follow them, to get to know them, to empathize with them. I'll give Stengl her due, she can create brilliant characters. Once I got the gist of what was happening in the other story lines, I fell in love with the Cat Man too. And as for the Dragonwitch - the baddie in this book . . . well, she is superbly drawn. I don't think I have ever read her equal. And that is some praise given some of the bestsellers I've read over the years.As mentioned, the story line is complex, very, exploring religious themes, good versus evil, inner beauty and strength versus outward perfection, jealousy, love . . . the list is almost endless. I don't think there is a major literary theme not covered. But there was also constant action, good dialogue, not too much description, and - one I figured out what was happening (60%) - it flowed quickly. Romance is alluded too, but it was pretty predictable how it would all work out. So The Big Question?Did I enjoy it?I wish I could give you a definitive answer, but I can't. I feel a bit iffy about it. It was compelling. The writing is excellent. The plot imaginative. The themes interesting. The characters step off the page. But I didn't love it. That doesn't mean that you won't, though, because I am way in the minority. Most people gave it five stars. Me? Three shiny blue stars who talk to people and turn into unicorns. less
Reviews (see all)
Section 3 was a bit confusing going back and forth in time, but overall it was pretty good.
Well, that was good! I eagerly await the next book!
A good sequel, very enjoyable.
Review to come..
Write review
Review will shown on site after approval.
(Review will shown on site after approval)