Book Review: Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Since I don't do many book reviews around here - I usually reserve those thoughts for Goodreads - I don't have a format for which to go about the process. Fortunately for me, my dear sister Elizabeth does have a format that she consents to let me borrow from time to time when I am in need of it. 
I promise I'll come up with my own eventually, dear Lizzy. ;)

Dragonwitch (Book 5 in The Tales of Goldstone Wood series)
By Anne Elisabeth Stengl
*Summary via

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 Thoughts: I just finished the book this morning, so my emotions are still in a tither. Up until I read this book, my favorite of the Goldstone Wood series was Starflower. But Dragonwitch has challenged that favoritism most strongly, and I find myself tied between the two. I went much slower with this book than any of the others in the series, due to the fact that I was not able to sit down and devour (as I so often do with books) until yesterday. Of course, when the opportunity arose, devour I did. It took me maybe two hours to read the next 200 pages, and I read the remaining 70 or so this morning before getting up. ;) It's good. (Not to mention, is that cover not gorgeous?) I especially liked the ongoing tale in the beginnings of every chapter, and the countless mistranslations between Eanrin, Mouse, and Alistair.

Pros:  I loved the characters in this book, almost more than the other books in this series. (Alistair, Imraldera, Eanrin and Mouse, were my favorites). Ever since reading about the Dragonwitch in Moonblood (and later Starflower) I wanted to know her story in toto. Dragonwitch answered all my questions - artfully. Eanrin, whose wit I though had surely reached a max, was better than ever. Also, (Rachel, surely you noticed this too?) the end scene at Gaheris Castle made me think of 'Do You Hear The People Sing?' from Les Miserables. O_o

Cons: I found myself wanting redemption for a certain character who had to die in the end (those who have read Dragonwitch will know hopefully know of whom I speak, the rest of y'all better get your copies because I refuse to say anything spoiler-wise.) but the book ended the way it should have, which is good and right. Proper endings and books that conclude the way you want them to are two very different things, you know. I did find Lady Leta to be a bit dull in the book's beginning, but she shaped up well enough.

Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars
I recommend this book for all ages; no one is too young or too old for a fairytale. I will however note that it will most likely be more appreciated by those of us over the age of 13. I would also heartily recommend reading the other books in the series, particularly Starflower before reading this. But it's not required. :)

Favorite quote (or three):

"Tell him I hate the sight of him!""And she loves you." ... 
"Did you tell him, cat?" She gulped, anxious to disguise the tremor in her voice. "Did you tell him right?"
"I told him, girl," [he] said with a cattish smile. "I told him better than you could yourself."  

"Creature of dust, it's the truth that counts! And you'll rarely find more thruth than in Faerie tales."

"On principle, I'm against [chosen ones]. Inconvenient, nonsensical things, and a cat does like to be master of his own fate, you know?" Then he put his ears back and gave [the man] a pointed look. "But what I believe or don't believe has little to do with the truth of the matter."

*Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book for the sake of a review, but all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.


  1. I am almost done with the book, but I think I have already read everything you remarked on. I'll send you an email about it as soon as I complete it and tell you my thoughts, how's that? :)

    Every one of those quotes was the inimitable Eanrin. Oh, that cat...

    1. Good! I'd love to hear your thoughts.
      It makes you wonder who my favorite character is though, doesn't it?

  2. Great review! I can't decide if I like Starflower or Dragonwitch better either. The interaction between Eanrin, Alistair, and Mouse really was priceless. :)

    Ah, and that certain character...I literally was weeping, I so badly wanted them to accept grace and love. But I was also crying because the other person in that scene was so incredibly awesome. :)

    1. I was crying too. <3 (And yes, that other person was rather awesome. ;)


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