Moonblood (Tales of Goldstone Wood #3) – Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Also by this author: Golden Daughter, Shadow Hand, Dragonwitch, Starflower, Veiled Rose, Heartless, Fallen Star: A Short Story of Goldstone Wood, Draven's Light
Series: Tales of Goldstone Wood #3
Published by Bethany House on April 2012
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Fantasy
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four-half-stars

Desperate to regain the trust of his kingdom, Prince Lionheart reluctantly banishes his faithful servant and only friend, Rose Red. Now she is lost in the hidden realm of Arpiar, held captive by her evil goblin father, King Vahe.

Vowing to redeem himself, Lionheart plunges into the mysterious Goldstone Wood, seeking Rose Red. In strange other worlds, Lionheart must face a lyrical yet lethal tiger, a fallen unicorn, and a goblin horde on his quest to rescue the girl he betrayed.

With the Night of Moonblood fast approaching--when King Vahe seeks to wake the Dragon's sleeping children--Lionheart must discover whether or not his heart contains courage before it's too late for Rose Red...and all those he loves.

Veiled Rose ends with Prince Lionheart—or Leo the Jester—returning to his kingdom having bargained with, rather than fought, the dragon. He returns to Southlands as the Crown Prince, but the inhabitants of Southlands distrust the judgment of one who appeared to have fled while their city suffered. And the city places the blame for the dragon on Rose Red—Lionheart’s servant and only friend.

Feeling he has no other choice, Lionheart banishes Rose Red from the kingdom, only to immediately realize his mistake. He knew that Rose was actually from the Faerie world and was, in fact, a goblin. But what he did not realize was that she was the goblin princess. Moonblood dives into Rose Red’s story, centering on her father—King Vahe—and his plan to use her as an unholy sacrifice to some very dark forces.

At the heart of Moonblood is Lionheart’s valiant but hopeless quest for redemption, much like we Christians try to right our wrongs through our own strength. But it’s only when he learns to give up his life and rely on the grace of the Prince of Farthestshore that he finds true redemption.

While Moonblood was just as strong thematically as the previous novels and the way in which the three novels (Heartless and Veiled Rose) tie together is a fun literary device, Moonblood also takes the reader through a very complicated story. I started it immediately after finished Veiled Rose and I still had trouble keeping up with who was who (and who calls who what!) and felt inundated with new information. Quite obviously, Stengl has all this information stored away somewhere, I just felt that there needed to be more explanatory exposition somewhere—possibly in a prologue or characters list. The world of Goldstone Wood is vast and its mythology approaches Tolkienesque in scale. Something that complex requires a bit more background for the reader to fully wrap their minds around.

But don’t get me wrong, Moonblood is a powerful story. I just recommend that you sit down and read all the novels consecutively. Stengl is pulling together stories from an amazing world and she’s an incredible world-builder. If you’re a fan of Christian fantasy, you can really do no better than Tales of Goldstone Wood.

four-half-stars

About Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, NC, 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.

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