Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2012) 352 pages

Source: Pre-order from Amazon

Description from Amazon:

When 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 Rating: 5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

As if I wasn't looking forward to another installment to the Tales of Goldstone Wood series enough, when I discovered that Eanrin was one of the main characters in Starflower, my patience was even thinner as I waited. Eanrin has been my favorite character throughout the series. He's arrogant and selfish, which would make you think I'd dislike him, but that's not the case. I've discovered through my reading that arrogant men hold a special place in my reading heart....as long as their heart of gold shines through. Eanrin's definitely shines through! He's an immortal human/cat. Sometimes he's human, sometimes cat. I found myself snickering quite often at parts including him in both of his forms.Eanrin is also completely blind in the first three books(I can't remember now if he even played a part in Veiled Rose or not). In Starflower, we get to go back to a time when he has eyesight.

Despite my love for Eanrin, though, Starflower was the one who won me over in this story. She's the strong, silent type. While she's had a hard life, love still shines through. She comes from a land where women are worthless, with the exception of providing male heirs to the men. I got a strong Native American vibe from Starflower and her land. If I wasn't supposed to get that vibe, just let me live in blissful ignorance! This particular aspect of the story especially thrilled my reading heart. Do you know how difficult it is to find great, clean Native American fantasy stories?! Extremely! (Feel free to leave me suggestions in this area.)

Starflower can be read as a standalone, but PLEASE don't! I can't recommend to you enough to read this series in order. You simply can't get a full appreciation for the characters or the brilliance of writing when read out of order. All the little details come together perfectly. It's time for a re-read of the whole series for me, because there were characters that I couldn't quite place exactly. I did get a little confused at times. While I did recognize everyone, I couldn't remember what part some of them played in the earlier books. That's something else that I love about this series, though. You will want to read them over and over. I can't imagine how many extra little moments I'll find special the next time I read them.

This series has it's allegory moments. I've finally learned to accept that I'm simply not comfortable with Christian allegories. It's not so overwhelming in this particular series that I can't ignore those moments, though. I read this book as a great fantasy and nothing else. Hopefully, that doesn't offend anyone! ;)

Overall, as all my regulars around here should already know, this whole series gets a HIGHLY recommended from me!

Crossed by Ally Condie

Dutton Juvenile (November 1, 2011) 367 pages

Source: Won at Sarah's YA Blog

My Thoughts:

I read Matched about a year ago, and didn't really care for it. While I didn't hate it, I had no intentions of reading the rest of the series. Spur of the moment, I entered a giveaway @ Sarah's YA Blog, and won! (Thanks Sarah!) I have a great deal of respect for any author that dares to write a CLEAN YA book(or any book for that matter). I also believe that WHEN a person reads a book greatly affects how much they like or dislike a book. So! I decided this series was worth another chance.

Crossed arrived in my mailbox on a Monday afternoon, and by Tuesday evening, I was finished. That's really quick for me! I'm apparently a slow reader. I know that a great deal of people can read a 300+ page book in one sitting, and I'm a little jealous. I can't do it. I liked Crossed, though, and I couldn't wait to see what happened. I wish I had Reached in my hands right now! (I have it pre-ordered, so my copy should ship out today!!!! Don't you just love Swagbucks?!) I also wish that I hadn't parted with my copy of Matched, because I'd love to re-read it. I also think it's a decent "boy" read. I can tell it's more targeted for girls, but it can work for boys. I think this could be a great "home-school" reading assignment, so it's going on my keeper shelf.

I think with this read, I had a greater appreciation for the dystopian society. With the direction our nation is headed, I could more easily see this becoming a reality(not completely, but partially). It was scary to think about. When I read Matched, I was coming to the conclusion that maybe I don't like dystopians, but after reading Crossed, I'm wanting to get my hands on every dystopian I can!

As I was reading, it seemed like there was more action than in Matched. In hindsight, though, I'm not sure. I can't remember a great deal happening.

I'm definitely Team Xander at the moment! I'm not sure why, but I just don't overly like Ky. I don't hate him by any means, but not loving him. I wasn't sure in Matched that I recall, but definitely now. I almost never get my way when I love triangle is involved, though, so it's highly unlikely I'll be happy with the ending. ;P

Overall, I think this is a series worth your reading time!

There are one or two scenes that I remember where kissing is involved. There is a bit of violence. Da** is used twice.