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Most Helpful Favorable Review
13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.
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, 2010Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.
Couldn't get into the story
I was disappointed in this book. It was slow and never really picked up. I think the biggest obstacle was Una, I just never could like her. She was very childish and shallow. The interactions between the characters seemed stilted and off. The dialogue felt juvenile and lacked depth. Overall not worth picking up.
posted by madame_librarian on May 6, 2010Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
A lovely opening novel
Stengl's first novel in the Goldstone Wood series is a magical adventure fantasy lovers will savor. Dragon battles, swordfights, princes in disguise, faeries, and more than a touch of romance-Heartless has it all. The vivid, whimsical images are beautifully drawn, and the darker pictures are truly fearsome. The characters make a strong impression, even (especially) the cat, Monster. (I dearly hope we get more of his story and eerily realistic feline vocabulary in future books.) Stengl's turn of phrase is unique and thoroughly enjoyable; wickedly funny at times, she also has a knack for dramatic description. While the story possesses many of the traditional features of a fantasy, it portrays them in unusual ways. There are many tales of princesses and dragons, but this particular tale does not unfold in the way one would expect.
While there is Christian allegory in the book, it does not intrude unnecessarily. The theme of unselfish love is one that readers will appreciate, regardless of their religious beliefs. Very little well-done Christian YA fiction exists, in my opinion, but Stengl is poised to revive the genre. I look forward to her next book with great anticipation!
5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 11, 2011
Veiled Rose- a lovely read!
Ah, escaping to a different land, a different time and a different everything- isn't that a major reason to read a book? In the words of C.S Lewis "Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again". Well I guess I am there with Anne Elisabeth Stengl's newest book in her Tales of Goldstone Wood series Veiled Rose. (Or rather in my case, I don't think I ever stopped reading them). If you are a fantasy fan that loves to read of princes and princesses, dragons and the netherworld then this book is for you.
Our 2 main characters are both intriguing and complex with regards to what they are looking for in this life. Our heroine Rose red has a secret that is hidden behind her special veils- all designed to hide who she really is. She has lived a lonely existence in the forest and hills above Hill House- a mansion housing young Leo who is visiting his relatives for the summer. And Leo is our little boy longing for adventure and looking to defeat the Monster of the hills. He finds adventure all right, but more prominently he finds a fast and true friendship with Rose Red that grows in importance as they do in age throughout the book. As young Leo is the crowned prince of the Southlands or "Prince Lionheart" as he is known later in the novel, the pressures of his title irk him ,as all he would really like to be is a jester who entertains all those around them with juggling and a song (sung out of tune mind you, but never mind that). Unfortunately both Rose Red and Lionheart have to take separate journeys to try and save the kingdom from the wrath of the Dragon (enter villain), who is absolutely hell-bent on having Rose Red as his very own.
This story is full of adventure, excitement and quite allegorical. The struggles each character goes through in the end show what each is really made of, in how it manifests in their choices. I honestly did not guess Rose Red's secret until it was revealed to me in the end and I love that when an author can pull that off, it's pretty rare for me. I will not give that secret away in this review- read it for yourself and find out! The pull of evil in our lives is strong and this book illustrated it beautifully while also showing the great hope and love that the light offers. A great read and one I really recommend. I had not read Heartless before I read this book and did just fine, so now I will have to backtrack and read it.
I was graciously provided a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
An Excellent Read.
A well written piece, which in this genre has become rarer and rarer - just because the events don't take place in this world and are therefore at times both magical and terrible . . . does not mean the writing has to be ghastly! Ms. Stengl obviously understands and appreciates this, and has worked hard at writing a good piece of literature, full of imagination and innovation, while not taking for granted that even the most imaginative work has to be well told.
It's fantasy, in the very best of traditions, and even a nod to familiar fairy tales (seven league boots) but with the author's own take on it. Another rarity - this author is unapologetic in her take on it, which is nice to see; the characters are bold and well thought out, as is the world she has created.
One hopes that this is but a brief glance into her world, and a brief display of Stengl's prowess, with a much fuller view to come.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 18, 2010
Review of Heartless
Having never sought out or read anything that I would classify as "Christian" fiction, I was a little worried when I found out this book was categorized under "Christian" fiction. But my fears were quickly pacified by the somewhat familiar fantasy themes introduced with in the first chapters. These themes included fae creatures of varying types and even some familiar magical items such as seven-league boots. However these themes were also nicely tempered with original ideas and plot devices from the author creating her own unique fantasy world.
That being said it was a bit odd when the kingdom in effect broke out into a civil war and the capital is seized by traitorous duke and a dragon with out one main or minor character dieing. People die yes, but they are "Red shirts" if you will, no-name characters such as random soldiers on the battle field or guards in the courtyard. Is this what "Christian" fiction means? I have no idea as I have nothing in my personal library to compare it too. But I digress let me continue with the review.
This book is a bit different from normal fantasy in that its written from the... damsel in distress point of view if you will. Normally we get the heroes point of view who in this book would've been the fae prince Aethelbald, e.g. Hero has or is given a quest, then sets out on said quest, encountering obstacles and adventure along the way. Since the story is not written from the hero view we are left without knowing why anything happened. Why was the prince given the quest by his father to marry Una? Why does he love her? Whats the back story of the antagonists the two evil dragons who seem to be trying to stop him? Who knows?
In this book, instead we are given the point of view of a young princess who has recently come of age, by the name of Una who is shallow, naive, drama filled and somewhat of a narcissist. I say shallow because the reader is never given any insight to what Una is thinking or why she feels the way she does. We watch as suitors come to try to capture her heart in the attempt be married to her. And then watch as one after the other she falls in love in a matter of days to a few weeks and proceeds in turn to have her heart broken by each of her suitors. Then we watch as she wallows in her own pity until eventually she self-destructs in a manner of speaking. Overall shes not a very likeable main character. And I found that these wallowing scenes slowed down the plot and momentum of the story as I had to drag myself though reading these scenes making for slow reading. Making a book of this length that normally would have only taken me a day to read last twice as long.
Overall I enjoyed reading Heartless it was worth the time I spent reading it. However I hope any future novels by this author will be a bit more fleshed out as far as back story and plot goes and less wallowing from any main characters.
1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 15, 2014
Being the age I am,49, I had forgotten how it felt to be in the realm of Dragons,Kings, Princesses,Princes, and Enchanted forests with all the majic they hold. I really enjoyed this "escape". For a first book from this author,I am hooked.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 13, 2014
Heartless was unusual and breathtaking. I was leaning toward fiv
Heartless was unusual and breathtaking. I was leaning toward five stars, but I decided on four stars because there were some spots where I grew impatient. Other than that, I loved it! It was beautiful and completely different from anything else I've read. It didn't follow any sort of cannon for fantasy novels. It was new and fresh and it threw things at me that I didn't see coming.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
At the beginning, Una was shallow and silly. She desperately wanted to fall in love with someone handsome or charismatic. The man that loved her was neither. As events progressed, the reason for her earlier shallow behavior became obvious. She changed a lot during the course of the book, and I loved her by the end. Aethelbald is a character that I loved the whole way through. He was a true prince.
Heartless is appropriate for anyone 12 and up. It is squeaky clean, full of adventure, and beautifully written. I would definitely recommend it to anyone that likes fantasy and dragons.
Posted December 22, 2013
I happen to agree with another person's assessment that this book is for teen girls and the way the story is written reflects that. However I did read the whole book and if you last longer than about 50 pages(the story starts off rather boring, I almost quit reading it) then you will find the storyline picks up, turning it into a fairly interesting book. It is rather easy to fall a little in love with Prince Aethelbald ;)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 17, 2013
I had no expectations when I picked this book up. I found a beautifully written allegory about genuine love. Although Christian undertones are pretty easy to spot, the story is written in such a way that it never mentions the religious parallels. I highly recommend this book for 10+, anyone looking for symbolism/allegory, and of course, for anyone who is interested in far off places, daring swordfights, and the battle between true love and naivete.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 13, 2013
Prince Aethelbald. I'm still laughing over that name even though
Prince Aethelbald.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I'm still laughing over that name even though I'm half smitten with the guy.
An enjoyable and thought provoking read.
Posted February 14, 2013
I really liked this book! Probably the best Nook book I've gotten for free so far. It had everything that makes a really good fairy tale - princes, a princess, dragons, Faerie people - you name it. I will definitely be looking up other books by this author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 11, 2013
Very good read!
If you love C.S. Lewis, renaissance fairs, or Camelot and Robin Hood, this tale of the love of a Prince for an unrepentant princess will keep you captivated until the very last page.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 10, 2012
For fantasy readers, this is an awesome read! Interesting characters and places and the quintessential battle of good and evil. It has symbolism of us as christians dying to ourself to accept God's gift of love or at least for me it did. Throughly enjoyed this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 29, 2012
With all the cliche' novels that are out at the moment, Heartles is a breath of fresh air! If you are sick and tiredof all the vampires and werewolves,or just looking for something different, look no further!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 12, 2012
Posted September 14, 2012
Loved this book!!!!
This book is amazing and not too hard to follow!! I loved the story and it was an allegory too!! I have read two of the books in this series and I am about to read the third one!! [Which is when I have time lol=] But these books are amazing and I would totally reccomend them!! I love the author she does a good job!! They are not the best in the world but I think that they are cool !! :)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 17, 2012
Posted May 20, 2012
Posted May 4, 2012
Just gets better and better
If you like C.S. lewis I definately recommend reading this book. Although it seems a bit slow in the beginning the symbolism is beautiful and it picks up about halfway through. The best part was that I was able to get it for free, but after reading it, had i known, I would definately have purchased it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 25, 2011
It took me a little while to get into it, but once I did......wow. It had a Narnia feel to it with lots of fantesy adventure with a strong message. I'm looking foward to more from this author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 29, 2010
I think that Ms. Stengle has done a great job of combining her own creativity with the influences of other authors to create a fabulous story. I appreciated the subtle redemption story, the realism of how women naturally think, and her superb use of the English language. Grace College's english professors should be very proud of this author. I think this book would be an excellent choice for a book club, specifically for teenage girls. I look forward to seeing more from Ms. Stengle.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.