Blog Tour: Dragonwitch

When I signed up for this tour, I didn't realize that this was the fifth book in its series. I just looked at the cover, which I really like, and read the synopsis and knew that I wanted to read it. When I decided I would like to read the other books in the series as well, I went and checked my Kindle and found that I actually had the first three books already and just needed to pick up the fourth one. I thought the first book was a great start to this series. I will be posting reviews for the other books sometime soon, but today is all about this one:

(Tales of Goldstone Wood #5)
Christian Fantasy
July 2013 by Bethany House Publishers
A New Tale Is Added to this Christy Award-Winning Fantasy Saga!

Who Will Dare to Face the Dragonwitch?

Submissive to her father's will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves--Lord Alistair, future king of the North Country.

But within the walls of Gaheris Castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair to the brink of insanity. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta's tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the North Country into civil war.

And far away in a hidden kingdom, a fire burns atop the Temple of the Sacred Flame. Acolytes and priestesses serve their goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice...and for the one person who can wield it.

My Review
This started pretty slow for me. I liked the story all right, but it wasn't extremely engaging. Some of this had to do with main characters who weren't portrayed as being very strong and seemed to be at the whim of others. I also didn't know if I liked Leta and Alistair together or Leta with someone else. Then there are a couple of different points of view and different story lines, so you have to keep all of those straight. However, I could feel the story building and all the pieces being moved in their proper places as the story progressed.

Then a little over a third of the way through the story picked up for me. This is where "The Cat" shows up and several things occur that spur the story on. The banter between the characters becomes rather enjoyable and is fairly humorous in parts as well. The characters begin to understand a little more what is going on, what role they will each play, and change into stronger characters as they face what is ahead of them.

I really liked the fantasy world that Stengl created, probably due to the fact that there is a good balance of good and evil. The fairies aren't all vindictive, evil, and dark. I also like the way Goldstone Wood is portrayed throughout the series and in Dragonwitch as well. It is a little bit of a mystery and is alive in its own way.

The ending was somewhat surprising. I didn't realize all the different characters that would be involved and how things would work out. Everyone doesn't make it out unscathed. It was a bittersweet, but good ending regardless.

If you enjoy reading Christian Fantasy or Fantasy in general, then I think you would enjoy this.

Content: Clean
Source: Copy from tour host, which did not affect my review in any way.

Here are three short excerpts that I really liked:

     …The cat addressed this last to Mouse, who nodded. The Cat turned to Alistair again. “Caught up now, are we?”
     Alistair stared. “Why does my shoulder hurt?”
     “You were stabbed by Corgar, warlord of Vartera’s horde. You’re lucky you didn’t lose your head.”
     “What’s a Corgar?”
     “A goblin.”
     “As in slavering jaws, gaping eyes, stone hides?”
     “The same.”
     “They don’t exist.”
     “Neither do talking cats.”

     Mouse looked from the cat to Alistair, then, eyes huge with desperation, said, “Please, what are you telling him?”
     “Nothing,” the cat said, tucking his tail closer to his paws. “What did you think I was telling him?”
     “You won’t . . .” She glanced at the young lord again. “You won’t tell him my secret, will you?”
     “What secret?”
     “That I’m . . . that I’m not what I seem.”
     The cat’s ears went back. He turned to Alistair. This time when he spoke, Alistair understood him but the girl did not. “You do realize, don’t you, that she’s a girl?” he said.
     “Of course I do.” Alistair glared. “Do I look stupid?”
     “Would you like me to answer that?”
     “What did he say?” Mouse demanded. “What did you tell him?”
     The cat shrugged and allowed her to understand his words. “I made certain your secret is as safe as it ever was.”

     “What?” Alistair said. “Why are we rescuing him? What about my mother? What about all the other folk of Gaheris?”
     The cat gave him a flat-eared glare. “Sometimes I believe I spend my whole life giving explanations to humans. . .”


About the Author

Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of HEARTLESS, VEILED ROSE, MOONBLOOD, STARFLOWER and DRAGONWITCH. HEARTLESS and VEILED ROSE have each been honored with a Christy Award.

You can find Anne here:

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