Customer Reviews for

Heartless (Tales of Goldstone Wood Series #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Heartless Review

Heartless, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, is a story of love and adventure. It is a fantasy novel about dragons and princesses and kings and magic. It is the story of 18 year old Una and how she finds her path to true love. This book was nothing I was expecting it to be. Whe...
Heartless, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, is a story of love and adventure. It is a fantasy novel about dragons and princesses and kings and magic. It is the story of 18 year old Una and how she finds her path to true love. This book was nothing I was expecting it to be. When you see the beautiful cover and read the back, you assume it will be a sleeping beauty type story. Handsome hero fights the evil dragon and claims beautiful heroin as his own. The plot however, was a far cry from the expected. Una is of marriageable age and the suitors begin to come calling. She scorns anyone who does not meet her expectations for romance and adventure and soon finds that true love is more than simple excitement. The twists and turns in this book will take you for a wild ride and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys romance, fantasy, or just a good read.

What I liked about this book: My favorite aspect of this book is the metaphorical. This book could be taken from the Bible. One of the characters, Una's main suitor Prince Aethelbald, is undeniably representing Jesus. And the dragon represents satan. I have read representations of the gospel before, and nothing compared to this. It is essentially a love story between Jesus and you. The theology is bang on too. For example, the dragon (or satan) could not take Una until she had given up all hope and gave in to him. To me, this was one of the most monumental truths in the book. That satan cannot have us as the rightful bride of Christ, unless we lose faith and hope in God and give ourselves to him.

What I didn't like about this book: Una is naiive, her view of love and life is a bit cliche. As a married sceptic of the wonder and joy and perfection and romance that young people think love is sickens me. Love is work, love is so much deeper than the thrill of his hand touching yours or the butterflies in your stomach. That is not love at all. So, to say the least, Una's perspective drives me nuts in the beginning. It isn't until life gives her a good knock on the head that I find her more tolerable as a person.

Who this book is good for: This book is pretty much the perfect gift for a teenage girl. They are naiive enough to be sucked into the romance and love story, and the metaphor of Jesus will give you something to discuss afterwards. They will be able to relate to Jesus in a whole new way as they see him as a suitor instead of a sacrificial lamb that is hard to picture and understand.

All in all, although there were things that drove me nuts, Heartless is a great book for anyone to read. I would strongly suggest reading it yourself before giving it to your daughter, or niece, or whoever as it will give you time to think about the many similarities in the book and the Bible. I highly enjoyed this book, it is one of the best I have read in a long time, despite my scepticism!

**I received a free copy of this book through Baker Publishing Group

posted by rspooner on July 26, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Mixed feelings

This book feels difficult for me to review. I actually loved the story. I thought the story line was great, and it was a lovely allegorical tale. However, I feel that I have to give it three stars because the section in the middle when the Dragon comes was just SO confu...
This book feels difficult for me to review. I actually loved the story. I thought the story line was great, and it was a lovely allegorical tale. However, I feel that I have to give it three stars because the section in the middle when the Dragon comes was just SO confusing. I understand that sometimes in a book things have to be explained later in the story, but these things weren't explained. They were just confusing and I think that was due to a lack of clarity in the writing. I also feel like some of the characters could have been better developed. They felt a bit one dimensional to me. I did enjoy the story though and it gave me some surprises along the way, which is always nice.

posted by JulesWrite527 on May 10, 2012

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  • Posted May 10, 2012

    Mixed feelings

    This book feels difficult for me to review. I actually loved the story. I thought the story line was great, and it was a lovely allegorical tale. However, I feel that I have to give it three stars because the section in the middle when the Dragon comes was just SO confusing. I understand that sometimes in a book things have to be explained later in the story, but these things weren't explained. They were just confusing and I think that was due to a lack of clarity in the writing. I also feel like some of the characters could have been better developed. They felt a bit one dimensional to me. I did enjoy the story though and it gave me some surprises along the way, which is always nice.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2013

    Quillspike

    She pads in anyone here she ask

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  • Posted November 30, 2012

    Good

    I enjoyed this little fantasy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    strange dragon story

    Does not fit well and a bit dry.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2012

    Okay

    A bit awkwardly written. I thought it was more for teen readers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    Meh...

    It was ok. A little too depressing and the only character i really liked was the fearie prince. I kind of lost interest a few time and struggled to finish.

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  • Posted July 25, 2011

    Good but could be better

    The premise of the story was excellent, and felt like entering another world. There were, however a couple of problems that I felt marred my enjoyment. The most glaring one is the questions left unanswered.Why,for instance, did the prince have to kill Una to free her? What exactly is the nature of this mysterious land the prince comes from? This leads to the second problem. The prince seemed to me unrelatable. If it weren't for his unexplained knowledge of the dragon's nature, he would be of no more importance than a random wise captain of the guard who occasionally gives advice. Little is known about him and he didnt seem to try to share anything about himself to Una. There seemed to be no compelling reason to think he actually loved Una. However, this author seems to have promise. If she can make a more compelling hero, allow readers more of a glimpse into his mind and feelings, she could be a major success.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A secret so deep...it needs a kiss to awaken~!!

    Heartless is book one of 'Tales of Goldstone Wood', debut novel by author, Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

    Princess Una of Parumvir has just turned eighteen and is excited about her suitors that are soon to apply for her hand in marriage. Her father, King Fidel, has promised she can marry whomever she wishes. Una dreams of a charming Prince, riding up on a white charger, proclaiming his undying love and devotion. However, when Prince Aethelbald of the mysterious kingdom of Farthestshore, does just that, Una is appalled and threatens to never marry him, ever.

    Among her suitors, is Prince Gervais, whom Una is sure is THE one, however, it comes to her father's attention that Gervais has been thrown from his kingdom by his father for gambling debts. He is a cad of the best kind and is only looking for Una's hand for the dowry she would bring.

    The Duke of Shippening is old, fat and arrogant and is looking for a young bride to have as a trophy. He cares nothing for Una and only wishes to use her to become king. When the Duke doesn't get his way, he declares war on the kingdom of Parumvir.

    Leonard, the jester and court fool, has also won Una's heart and after learning his secrets, she promises to wait for him. However, she comes to learn that he isn't all that he says he is and Una must come to terms with their relationship.

    The Dragon King is also on the hunt for Una, he can feel her and needs to make her one of his own. The Dragon King joins forces with the Duke and together, the two wreck havoc, death and destruction on all the kinsmen of Parumvir. Its up to Una's brother Felix, her cat, Monster and the magic of the Goldstone Wood to save the day.

    I wasn't un-impressed with the overall story, it has enough mystery and suspense to keep you reading, however, I did have a problem with Una, the heroine. I found her to be whiny, ignorant, naive and childishly head-strong. I think Prince Aethelbald could have taken the time to explain himself to Una, I feel she deserved the truth and not to be lied to nor manipulated. I really enjoyed Felix and Monster, they brought life and comedy to the story and I hope to see more of them in the future books.

    I enjoyed the combat scenes, they weren't too graphic in nature, and I feel young readers would probably really enjoy this book~!! It has all the components of a good fantasy novel, including magic, love, combat, dragons, fairy land creatures and so much more. I liked the flow of the story, one doesn't have to backtrack to stay focused, as well, the descriptive aspects of the narrative were well written and imaginative. Each character is believable, except perhaps, The Dragon King, I expected more from him, instead he was a bit stereo-typed and cliched. I'm also unsure why this is labeled as a Christian-fiction, for there was absolutely no mention of God nor were any Christian aesthetics involved. All in all though, the book was a good read and I'm sure YA fantasy lovers will enjoy it and want to read more!

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  • Posted April 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    In interesting premise that gets very muddy very quick

    Let me start out by saying that parts of this book I really enjoyed. There were characters like Prince Felix and Monster that made me smile and grin even. My problem comes from the fact that Una (one of the main characters) is so decidedly dull UNTIL she is in the company of the Dragon. Now, the Dragon is definitely interesting and his darkness makes her so. I can't believe this is what the author intended. But before then Una has no hobbies (she quasi writes poetry in one scene), she has no friends, she doesn't do or say ANYTHING that makes her likable or sympathetic. She's not even conflicted. She is wrapped up in being wooed and won and married. And even that would be all right in a Princess except that she's surrounded by much more complicated characters so she comes across as shallow, self centered, and boring. I just really didn't like her. Maybe I'm not suppose to. Maybe I'm not so care a whit about Una at all but it makes the willful suspension of disbelief hard, because other characters care about her. Now, I understand the allegory here but reading through the book knowing who represents what is rather depressing. Also mixing fantasy, allegory, and romance is not something I would personally chose to do as it could confuse some readers. It is worth reading for the minor characters and for Prince Felix in particular. As a first novel it's okay. I will buy the sequel to see if the author can crystallize the world she's created and introduce me to a female character that I don't want to shake by the shoulders.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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