Sunday, November 10, 2019

Dark and Meaningful Fantasy | Review of Dragonwitch

About the Book
(from Bethany House)

Book 5 in the Tales of Goldstone Wood Series

Who Will Dare to Face the Dragonwitch?

Submissive to her father's will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet the future King of the North Country and a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves.

But within the walls of his castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair. 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 entire nation.

And far away in a hidden kingdom, a flame burns atop the Citadel of the Living Fire. 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 hero who can wield it.

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My Review

I'm embarrassed to confess that this book has been on my shelf for YEARS. From reading the first four books I knew the in-depth, epic nature of this series—and Dragonwitch is no exception. It's not a light or fast or easy-to-binge sort of read. But, as with its predecessors, the story comes together in a powerful and meaningful way.

When I finally reached a point where I determined to stick with the book rather than stick it back on the shelf for another time, I still almost gave up. I didn't like the darker descriptions of the goblins and the various settings. It felt almost too much for me, and I wasn't sure I wanted to finish.

Am I glad I did? Yes. While I don't really see myself returning to this story, not wanting to immerse myself in the darker plot once again, I'm glad to know how everything comes together. The beginning mostly zooms in on one place and how various characters meet, but as the story progresses you get to know their true identities and backstories, and it becomes easier and easier to care for them and cheer for them. I loved the personal growth, the development of some sweet relationships, and when various characters encounter and embrace truth. So good!

Some revelations come a little late in the story, things that seem like they should be obvious earlier on. I liked the surprise of this but also felt like maybe some things came out of left field for me when there should have been more clues in the characters' thoughts and behavior. Maybe that's just me, though! Also, while some elements of the story are unique to this book, it might have helped for me to have a clearer memory of the previous books (instead of years between readings!).

Dragonwitch is a creatively told fantasy and very satisfying in the way it wraps up, even with the tragic fact that not all the characters make the right choices. As with other books in this series, there's plenty here to inspire and make you think, and the imaginative detail is fantastic. It's a hefty, dark, and intense read, but a valuable addition to the Tales of Goldstone Wood series.

*With thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are my own.*

My Reviews of Other Tales of Goldstone Wood Books

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