Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour: Starflower

17 Dec

210269_w185When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps the lovely Lady Gleamdren, Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission… and a race against his rival for Gleamdren’s favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.

But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin suddenly finds his story entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren’s rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her rescuer?

My Impressions:

Anne Elizabeth Stengl writes fantasy with an emphasis on fairy tale. Her latest book in The Tales of Goldstone Woods series is a prequel of sorts, set hundreds of years before her first novel, Heartless. In Starflower, the world of the Faerie is disturbed by a long thought dead dragon and a mortal girl. Their fates were entwined years before in the Land Behind the Mountains. Now brought together through a series of serendipitous events, they form an alliance to defeat a common enemy.

Having never read one of Stengl’s novels, I was uncertain about reading book 4 in a series, but these novels are marketed as standalones, so I took a shot. Starflower starts out as an epic quest to recover the kidnapped cousin of a faery queen. The faeries change shape as determined by their basic natures. The poet becomes a cat, the guard a badger, the kidnapped cousin a canary. Although a dangerous adventure awaits them, they have a low tolerance for fear due to their immortal status. The characters have some ironic moments as well, adding a bit of the fractured to this fairy tale. But when Starflower, a mortal girl, enters the mix, the stakes are raised. The novel seemed a bit uneven to me. I had a hard time engaging in the rescue story. It was not until part 2, Starflower’s story, that I became immersed in the story. I wish Stengl had spent less time on the endless chase through the ruined demesne of the dragon and gotten down to the real story quicker.

The faith message of the novel also comes towards the end. There are plenty of symbols and allusions earlier on, but they seem a bit distracting rather than enlightening. I did like the transformation of Eanrin from selfish cat/poet to one willing to take a chance with love. And love is the pervading theme — how it enslaves and frees.

All in all, I would recommend Starflower to fantasy fans. I am not so sure that other readers would stick with the story long enough to enjoy it. I have Heartless on my Kindle and Moonblood on my shelf and will eventually pick them up, but my experience with Starflower did not move them to the top of the pile.

To find out what others on the tour are saying, click on the links below.

Gillian Adams
April Erwin
Nikole Hahn
Bruce Hennigan
Janeen Ippolito
Carol Keen
Emileigh Latham
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Dona Watson
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler

(I received Starflower in conjunction with the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog tour. All opinions are mine alone.)

5 Responses to “Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour: Starflower”

  1. Gillian Adams December 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    I loved Eanrin! Ms. Stengl did an excellent job of making him incredibly feline – even in human form.

    Although the books are marketed as stand-alones, they certainly build upon each other. Not the way a linear series does, one after the other, more like a web (without the nasty spider in the middle). 😉 I highly enjoyed Starflower on its own, but I feel like I’ll enjoy it even more once I understand all of the connecting pieces. I’ve only read two out of the four books but I can’t wait to get my hands on the others. 🙂

    • rbclibrary December 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

      Thanks for commenting. I intend to read others in this series, but Starflower just didn’t grab me. Glad to know others liked it a lot.

  2. Meg December 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    I found the chase to be part of the growing of the characters, that it helped them to become more than they were. If you read the other three books, you’ll have a great insight into Eanrin and Starflower/Imarelda. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


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