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review 2015-08-19 17:09
Review of Draven's Light by Anne Stengl
Draven's Light - Anne Elisabeth Stengl

It was important that she learn the truth of this story. For though it happened long ago, in a deep and vital way it was still happening now and would go on happening forever. And if she did not learn it and grasp hold of it tightly with both hands, it would go on without her ... still vital, still true. But she herself would be less true.


Here at the dawning of her awareness, that tender threshold between childhood and adulthood when all is new and all is old simultaneously. That thin slice of time when mortality understands immortality without effort, without unconscious trust.



When I finished the first chapter, I had it in my head that I wasn’t going to like this book. Basically, two brothers are building a huge hall at the top of a hill, and the tiny village at the bottom has been asked to make a water offering to these brothers once a day. We start with a little girl going up the hill to make the offering. Eventually, she somewhat befriends one of the brothers and he ends up telling her a story. So we switch between the little girl’s PoV and that of the characters in the story the brother is telling. I thought I wouldn’t be submersed in the “story” part of the book, but Stengl did a great job keeping me entrenched in both PoVs.


The story part of the world is made up of two villages on opposite sides of the river, so as far as world building goes, it isn’t terribly complicated. Matter of fact, it has a very tribal feel to it. No commerce, no kings or kingdoms, no lands to explore. It’s compact. That said, we are mainly with only one of the tribes, so whatever was going on in the other wasn’t explored. Someone looking for intricate or detailed worlds will probably not enjoy this as much as I did.


The writing was clean, smooth, and easy to read. Furthermore, it’s a super short book and a great way to pass a few hours.


I’m a bit surprised that I picked up a book that’s a spinoff of a series. I didn’t realize that when I bought it. I just saw it on my to-read list and needed something short. However, I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. Like I said, I was surprised to find that out. So I don’t think you need to read the series to enjoy this. 


The little girl was developed nicely and ended up being very believable. It was a different reading experience than what I’m used to. Seeing the scary world through the eyes of a child was refreshing. The characters in the story were as nicely delivered. Draven and what he had to go through was heartbreaking. His character pulled me right into that story part and got me invested in him right off the bat. Ita was also engaging; a strong girl that I admired. I felt those two characters were incredibly well drawn.


My complaint? When we discover who Ita loves, I found it a bit unbelievable based on time and what we knew. I saw it coming, but I kept telling myself that it couldn’t be. Shortly developed love always kinda bothers me a bit. Relationships and love take a bit more time to bloom than what was conveyed.


My other complaint would be how I felt distant from the world. I wish there would have been a hair more world development. That gap made the whole book just hover outside of something I could love.


Overall, if you want a quick read to occupy a few hours, I’d recommend this book. It moved fast and kept my interest the entire time.

Source: booksbylkevans.com/2015/08/19/review-of-dravens-light-by-anne-elisabeth-stengl
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review 2014-07-04 00:00
Veiled Rose
Veiled Rose - Anne Elisabeth Stengl I love this series. It's officially one of my favorite fantasy series. Yeah, bold statement to make, but it's true. Rarely have I read an author that consistenky makes me feel one way about a character - after knowing them for an entire novel - and then a few books later we see the story of the enemy, or dragon, and my feelings completely change. It's amazing. I loved the fact that I saw glimpses of Una and the Dragonwitch, both characters from her other novels. This is cool too because you can read them out of order, as I have. I will definitely continue on with this series! I highly recommend it for all fantasy lovers!
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review 2014-02-03 18:22
Not wasting my time on a poor-man's Gaiman...NEXT!!!
Heartless - Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Bullet Review:

DNF at 10%

While parts of this remind me of Neil Gaiman's "Stardust" (never a bad thing), I am trying NOT to read anymore stories about idiotic, silly, romance-obsessed girls who whine about EVERYTHING and find the perfectly respectable guy boring.

Given this is a Christian title (wasn't aware of that when I was downloading), I have no doubt that there is some sort of Purity Message going on. The girl defiantly disobeys the Boring Respectable Stoic Prince (who, of course, has her "best interest" and untouched privates in mind); she acts silly and romantic to those who are obviously evil (and I'm saying "wearing a sign saying: I'm a Bad Guy" evil).

I stopped reading books like this years ago. I'm not about to waste more precious time on stuff like this. A shame, because the writing wasn't half bad.


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review 2013-07-15 00:00
Dragonwitch - Anne Elisabeth Stengl A copy of this book was provided to me by Bethamy House Publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

Dragonwitch is the 5th book in the Tales of the Goldstone Wood series. It's the first book I've read of the series. Though I normally don't jump in a series in the middle, I was told it would be OK. Thing is, it was difficult. Very difficult. The start of the book we find Alistair, earl and soon-to-be-king. There is also the Chronicler, who is the only librarian and who is teaching (or trying to) Alistair to read. He's a dwarf, a bitter dwarf of a man. Then we meet Leta, daughter of a king in a distant shore come to be the bride of the future king of Gaheris. Each of these characters takes a turn narrating. Also, a cat. And a dragon. And someone else who is a woman (?) all these different narrators and changes in story almost kept me from finishing this book. It was really hard. When did I finally feel like I wasn't being jerked around and was keeping up with what was happening? 40% in. Yeah, it took awhile. But, like I said, this was because I didn't know the world or characters or anything (my fault, I think).

What did keep me reading for the first half and made me very happy I kept reading for the last half was the story itself. It was an intricately woven tale of fairies, mortals, brothers, cousins, dragons, hatred, and courage. All were elements that make a good fantasy story great. The "evil" characters weren't truly evil, they were just responding to heartbreak and disappointment. The imagery was amazing. I really felt like I was watching a movie. A good movie, at that!

I don't want to give too much away, especially because I kept guessing where the story would go and definitely had a huge *gasp* moment regarding Mouse. Her and Leta were my favorite characters I think. I'm definitely going to be reading more of this series. All 5 of the books prior? Eh, I don't know. But I want to read another book and find out more about this world. And if a fantasy novel leaves me feeling this way, it was successful in my eyes.

I recommend this book for lovers of fantasy. I recommend you read at least 1 book in the series FIRST. If you are a first time reader (like I was) then I suggest you give yourself plenty of time to digest this book. It's not impossible to understand, but all the names, characters, places get overwhelming confusing unless you can really take your time and digest the story slowly.
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review 2013-07-05 00:00
Dragonwitch - Anne Elisabeth Stengl Originally Reviewed At: Mother/Gamer/WriterRating: 4 out of 5 ControllersReview Source: NetGalleyReviewer: ArielDragonwitch was my first journey into the Tales of Goldstone Wood series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, and I absolutely loved it. Stengl creates a fantasy world that is different than anything else I’ve read in the genre. The world is rich with castles and magical Faerie Paths, and the characters are all done really well and have their own personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Alastair, the nephew of Earl Ferox, has been named the heir to the childless Ferox, and he has been told all of his life that he will one day be king of all of the North Country. His mother, Lady Mintha has spent his lifetime grooming him to become king, but is that really what Alastair wants? Lady Leta of Aiven has been betrothed to Alastair in order to get her father, the Earl of Aiven to form an alliance with Lord Ferox to make it easier for Alastair to become king. Leta has been told it is “our woman’s lot” to be married and bear children, and passive Leta has gone along with what her family wants. Then there is the Chronicler, the dwarf of a man who has been employed to write down the history of the Gaheris like the Chronicler before him. He also takes it upon himself to teach Alastair to read and write based on the wishes of Earl Ferox. The two don’t seem to get along, at first, but things may change. One of the things I loved about this novel is there is this huge theme of fate and destiny and the question of are we meant to be more than what others wish for us? Alastair has constantly been told he is to be the king of the North Country, Leta has been betrothed to a man she has never met and is given no choice in the matter, and the Chronicler is shunned from everyone else at Gaheris because he is malformed. But when goblins take over Gaheris, an epic journey ensues that makes everyone question their destiny. Intertwined within the adventure story is the mythological story of two immortal brothers, the legend of which the rest of the story takes place. Having the legend go along with the bulk of the novel was great, I love anything mythological and having the mythological basis was something that I really enjoyed. If I had one complaint about the novel it’s probably that once the story splits into the epic journey to get rid of the goblins and what goes on in the castle after the goblins have invaded, not a lot of time is spent at Gaheris, which wouldn’t be a big deal except one of my favorite characters ends up staying at Gaheris. Overall, I’m giving Dragonwitch 4 out of 5 game controllers. It’s a great fantasy story with a colorful world, and fantastic characters. It also really does make you think about destiny and fate and whether or not we’re meant for more than what people want from us.
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