Sunday, December 23, 2012

On My Bookshelf: Starflower

The Black Dogs are on the Hunt,
But who is their Prey? 

When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps fairest Lady Gleamdren, the Bard 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 stumbled 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 entagled 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?
By Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Young adult
Genre: fantasy
"How she had loved her city, once upon a time. How she hated it now. But it was hers more than ever. Hate was a fearful binding." ~ Hri Sora
My thoughts...
I was hesitant to decide I liked this book the first hundred pages in. It was a little dry in places and switched point of view so many times it was confusing. But when Stengl began to unwind the tragic story of Starflower, maiden of the dark New World, I was caught. She spins a beautiful web of deceit, ancient curses, and weakness. Starflower's world needs a deliverer. And a most unlikely one threads through the pages ~ with the guidance of the Hound, One Who Names Them, the Giver of Songs, Lumil Eliasul, who leads down a path they do not wish to go . . . but need with everything they are.

I will be point blank honest. There are parts of this book I hate. But for no reason any of you will.
I do not believe magic is good. In any form. It cannot be. God has decreed that so. And it can be used in a masterful way, showing that. My good friend Mary has portrayed that perfectly in her novel, Son of the Shield. In a battle of good and evil, what better way to show the evilness of the enemy by the dark power they wield? But to have good magic? Impossible.
I know, I know. Half of you are gagging, the other half cringing. What I say is revolutionary. Maybe you will disown me. Maybe you will prissily un-follow my blog and pretend you never heard of me. But I must tell the truth. And I will stick to it. And you know, I don’t care if you do like magic. That is your choice. It is none of my concern. I just wanted to let you know where my discomfort comes from. 
So anyway, there are parts of this book I hate. Being, as it were, a Faerie, Earnin is magic. Or magical. He can change form, smell danger, sense the approach of others, and many other talents through the vitality of the magic coursing in his blood. And the others around him are all the same. In fact everyone is, except the mortals. And that is why it did impress me, that not once, was magic used, as if were. Magic just, well, was.
Well, that aside, the book did not start off with the bang I expected. It was dry. It was long. And it was not cleverly written, so often changing point of view between a vast cast of characters, that it often left you hanging empty and confused.
But {ah yes, there always is a but, thank goodness}, the moment the story of Starflower began to untangle, the book caught me. And something more. The purpose of the book.
It is beautiful. In a picture analogy so perfect and so heartrending, Stengl molds a story so compelling and so realistic, no one doubts why the characters take the steps they take nor change the way they do.
So would I recommend it to my friends?
Would I say you should read it?
Yes, I am quite bi-polar and I know it. :D



  1. Hm. I think what turns me off is the switching POV so much. That REALLY annoys me. If it's clearly definied, I don't mind two or three narrators, but not when it just flips around.
    (But that's just me.)

    Interesting review. It's always nerve-wracking to state a controversial opinion, but I always think it's important to be you even when you know not everyone's going to agree.

    I, for one, have no problem with magic. Gandalf is a wizard, yet on the good side. Narnia is full of magic! To me, magic is the same as liking dragons and being interested in elves. But, then, that's just my opinion! :D Good going for stating yours, miss! xD

  2. I've had TWO reviews of this thing now, I think I have to get my paws on it. I don't mind vaguely dry writing (can plough through it, at any rate) and the fact you were so impressed with later pages of the story, well, I have to get a look in.

    As for what you said about the magic, well, I don't mind at all. Your opinon, that's fine. Personally I don't think magic IS good or evil - it's an amoral force, and it really depends who uses it. I'd read books where there were "dark" and "light" strands of magic and really didn't find it all that interesting. I prefer a level playing field. Something that powerful being sentient as well just seemed a bit like overkill. So amoral magic it is, for me.

    Then again, as Cait said, magic means different things to different people. And if you're not keen, then that's absolutely fine by me :)