Goddess Tithe (A Goldstone Wood Novella #1) – Anne Elisabeth Stengl

All stowaways must be sacrificed to Risafeth, dragon goddess of the sea. Leo didn’t know that when he stowed away on Captain Sunan’s trading vessel. Really, all he was thinking about was the wrath of the Duke of Shippening that he was escaping. Sunan should have tossed him overboard, but the captain was aware of why Leo was running and willing to face the wrath of Risafeth to keep him safe.

Weighing in at 130 pages, Goddess Tithe is approximately a third the size of the average Goldstone Wood novel, making it a quick read and a wonderful side story that further fills in the world Stengl has created. The story takes place in the timeline of Veiled Rose, during a part of the journey the novel mostly skips over.

The novella follows Munny, a young cabinboy who is mentored by the old and wizened Tu Pich. The majority of the story follows Munny’s experiences on the ship, giving us further insight into Leo’s character as well as providing even more hints that Captain Sunan is more than just a captain. Above all, the story simply provides more depth to Stengl’s world. Again, I’m impressed with her ability to layer storylines. It’s not just the protagonist that matters. Every character is the protagonist of their own story and every character has a story worth telling. Just like life.

I’m sure an illustrated novella such as this was quite the experiment for Stengl. Fantasy novels provide fodder for endless stories and an excellent way for authors to capitalize on that is provide their fans with stories such as these—shorter length stories that might not connect as much to the overarching storyline but continue to provide the world with depth. Long live the mythos of Goldstone Wood!

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Author: Josh Olds

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