Golden Daughter

Golden Daughter

by Anne Elisabeth Stengl


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Masayi Sairu was raised to be dainty, delicate, demure . . . and deadly. She is one of the emperor's Golden Daughters, as much a legend as she is a commodity. One day, Sairu will be contracted in marriage to a patron, whom she will secretly guard for the rest of her life.

But when she learns that a sacred Dream Walker of the temple seeks the protection of a Golden Daughter, Sairu forgoes marriage in favor of this role. Her skills are stretched to the limit, for assassins hunt in the shadows, and phantoms haunt in dreams. With only a mysterious Faerie cat and a handsome slave-possessed of his own strange abilities-to help her, can Sairu shield her new mistress from evils she can neither see nor touch?

For the Dragon is building an army of fire. And soon the heavens will burn.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780989447850
Publisher: Rooglewood Press
Publication date: 11/05/2014
Series: Tales of Goldstone Wood Series , #7
Pages: 580
Sales rank: 655,592
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.29(d)

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Golden Daughter 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Quoth_the_girl More than 1 year ago
Clear your schedule before you pick this one up. I’m serious. I made the mistake of starting it when I had a plethora of imminent deadlines looming over my head, and setting this book aside to attend to them was torturous. Once you become immersed in this particular Tale of Goldstone Wood, you will not want to leave. Don’t let the girly cover fool you. As is often the case with the Tales of Goldstone Wood, the book is truly terrifying in parts—and I chose a bad time to eat dinner, as I read the scenes with the imps. This story is intense, in a good way. Sairu, the heroine of the book, is possibly my favorite female character of Stengl’s, which is really saying something—I was in love with Starflower, hitherto my favorite installment in the series. Golden Daughter has wrested the status of favorite away from the earlier book, however, and this is due in large part to Sairu. She is intriguing, realistic, terrifying, and lovable. The whole premise of the Golden Daughters is fascinating, and I would love to see more of them in future stories. All of the characters, even the minor ones, are drawn in such a lifelike way that you’ll swear you’ve met some of these people before. Jovann in particular impressed me very much and is one of Stengl’s most likeable heroes, in my opinion. Eanrin maintains his charm and mystery, and by this time, I feel like no story is quite complete without him. In each book, we learn more about him, and I adore him even more. Stengl creates a multi-faceted, intriguing culture for Golden Daughter, one that is quite different from those in her other books. Her command of multiple storylines is impressive, and all of the plots weave together beautifully at the end. The story casts new significance on the events of earlier books in the series, particularly Heartless—which made me like Heartless much more. While I admit I preferred the day-to-day character interactions and plots to the more cosmological, allegorical ones, all of the threads were skillfully manipulated to create a cohesive, dark, funny, fascinating, eerily realistic whole.
Ghost_Ryter More than 1 year ago
It's hard to write a review that does justice to such a brilliant and painful book like Golden Daughter. "Painful?" you may ask. "Why painful?" And then you'll instantly start picturing of beloved characters getting blown up by silver parachutes, or love triangles, or horrid, evil characters who actually get away with all their horrid, evil doings. No. This book is nothing like that--something far too good. It's painful because it is so remarkably . . . real. So honest, full of truth, fantastic and yet familiar because we see the world around us reflected here. Half the characters are almost impossible to like--I can name at least four who are absolute monsters. And the ones you do like spend most of the novel shredding your heart to bits. Either because they allow bitterness to twist them, and chose a dark Path, or they have the most baffling loyalty to one of those aforementioned monsters. Or because you can still see them suffering from something that happened in the previous book. (Look, my dear ball of fluff, O most golden of poets, you've got my heart on a silver platter now. Stop making me love you so much.) Among all the other Tales of Goldstone Wood, this stands out. A new level has been reached. Through the story and the writing, Golden Daughter achieves something deeper, fuller--and in some ways, darker. But even when this Tale is at its darkest, and stars fall and the moon bleeds, there is more. There is light, there is hope. And that is something few authors seem to remember. Brace yourself. For this, my friends, is epic.
B_ARS More than 1 year ago
. Amazing - absolutely amazing would be the best way to describe this seventh installment of Tales of Goldstone Wood. I’ve never picked up a book that enthralled me from its first words all the way to the end like Golden Daughter. For those familiar with the world of Goldstone, this story is set shortly after the Faerie World events of Shadow Hand. However, Golden Daughter is very different from any of the other tales. The culture, characters and ‘feel’ of the story are unique and help to expand the Goldstone world we are familiar with. I confess I missed the ‘fairytale’ feel of the other stories, but Golden Daughter has its own flawless imagery and fast paced story telling to make up for any lack of whimsical charm. Golden Daughter itself is a telling of the first Night of Moonblood. Stengl introduced us to Moonblood in her third book by the same name. What little glimpse we got of those tragic, cosmic events of hundreds of years gone by left me wanting to know more. I was not disappointed. Golden Daughter takes us on a journey from the Near World, into The Dream and then into the heavens themselves. The Dragon is there working out his vile plans, manipulating and hoping to be triumphant at last. The Lady Moon and her children are brilliantly portrayed as we watch the stars betray their mother and follow the Dragon to their own destruction. But it’s the mortals of the story who tell the tale best. The foremost and most endearing character is Masayi Sairu, one of the emperor’s golden daughters. Sauri is a little lady that captured my heart right from the start. She’s a charming blend of innocence, sweetness – and deadly danger. Her almost constant smile reminded me so much of Eanrin – hard to read so you just have to keep going to know more. Sauri has been assigned to protect one of the Dream Walkers of the Crown of the Moon. Her mistress Lady Hariawan is an eerie blend of beauty and absolute insanity obsessed with finding the power of life and death. Her ability to walk into The Dream (the world at the edge of the Between) will have profound effects both on herself, the world she knows and the one in the sky above her. Meanwhile in other parts of the kingdom, we met two brothers, Jovann and Sunan (half brothers actually). Stengl takes us on a journey with these two that has been repeated in literature time and again but this time with breathtaking results. What happens to two brothers who each in their own way feels cheated and betrayed by the other? Jealousy, revenge or love and forgiveness – For those wondering about our favorite Goldstone bard/knight and shape shifting faerie, Sir Eanrin of Rudiobus certainly plays his part in this cosmic story (because if it’s big, he’s there, right?). While Sairu’s assignment is to protect Lady Hariawan, Eanrin’s mission is to protect Sairu - a similar situation to the one we first find him in in Heartless. I wouldn’t call Golden Daughter Eanrin’s most swoon worthy moment; he’s seen mostly as The Cat and I don’t remember a single line where Eanrin regaled anyone with his Faerie fame or the long list of titles and accolades that go with well, being Eanrin (he doesn’t even spout any poerty, Lionheart would have been so impressed), but his cat-like daring and wit are perfect for the situation and he compliments Sauri in so many ways. Judging from the spurning he received from Imraldera in Shadow Hand, I expected Eanrin to be a bit more sour and ill humored than usual, but I was pleasantly surprised. In Golden Daughter we see a side of the cat/man we’ve only glimpsed at before. He’s kinder, humbler and at times almost affectionate – but rest assured he still has plenty of snide comments and witty moments to give us plenty of laughs. His relationship with Sairu’s dogs was a brilliant little addition…because we all know, Eanrin hates dogs – and water – but most certainly dogs. And finally behind the scenes, ever there, ever watching is the Giver of Songs Himself. Stengl never finishes a story that doesn’t leave me more in love with the Creator and my Saviour. In short, Golden Daughter takes the Biblical story of Joseph and blends it with other fantastical elements reminiscent of Revelation 12 to give us an amazing tale of trust, revenge and the all powerful, ever present love of God. As far as its place in the series, Golden Daughter can stand alone; if you are new to Goldstone and have not read Moonblood yet, I personally would recommend reading this book first. It will give you a better understanding of the events referenced in book three. For all the fellow Goldstone imps out there, this book is vital in helping us build our understanding of Stengl’s amazing but complex world. In Golden Daughter we pick up little tidbits such as the origins of Una’s ring and maybe just maybe Eanrin’s two knives referenced in Moonblood? This story was an absolute joy to read and now I can’t wait for book eight!
Book_Matrix More than 1 year ago
Despite reading it in pdf format on my laptop, I finished it in one sitting. Get it. Read it. You won't be sorry. The romance in this one is swoon worthy. The dog/cat feud is hilarious. And the characters... The villain in this one is perhaps her best yet.
AnnieDouglassLima More than 1 year ago
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. And wow, I loved it! Of course, I love all of Anne Elisabeth Stengl's books, so I expected nothing less. One of my favorite aspects of the Tales of Goldstone Wood series that although the setting is an imaginary world (or set of worlds, actually), it's obviously inspired by real cultures and geographical locations in our world. The empire in which most of Golden Daughter takes place is based on a mix of East Asian cultures, which I especially appreciated, considering that I live in East Asia myself. The characters here are vividly portrayed, and I couldn't help but care about their struggles and triumphs. It was nice to see a few old friends from Stengl's other books, but we mostly meet new characters in Golden Daughter. The author threw out a few intriguing tidbits that help connect the dots between events in various other books in the series, some of which take place thousands of years apart. Now I want to go back and re-read certain scenes in certain of her other books that I know will make more sense now. If you enjoy fantasy at all, I highly recommend the Tales of Goldstone Wood. If you've read any of the other books in the series, you'll definitely want to read Golden Daughter. If you haven't, Golden Daughter can stand on its own - but after you read it, you may find yourself eager to get your hands on the rest!
kd316 More than 1 year ago
Stengle captures her readers by brilliantly creating scenes, characters, and puzzles that need solving - mystery, romance, and adventure - this book is a winner for all fiction and YA lovers out there!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My copy of Golden Daughter, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, came last Wednesday. If you live in North Carolina, you'll remember that it was the first cold rain of the year, made more miserable by the fact that I had forgotten my literature teacher's porch didn't have an overhang, so my lovely, furry boots were soaked. I crept miserably home, determined to curl up somewhere warm with a nice book. But, luckily, I thought to check my e-mail first. And there, glowingly, I beheld my ARC. Eagerly, I began to read. And so we come to what you have been waiting for: the review. Masayi Sairu has been a Golden Daughter her whole life, confined in an emperor's palace, where she learned the skills of intrigue, cunning, and, above all, protection. For as soon as the Golden Mother deems her training complete, Sairu will be married off to a political ally, whom she must protect for the rest of her life. But arranged marriage holds no appeal for Sairu, and when she sees a chance to escape the traditional role of the Golden Daughters, she takes it. Her new charge, the beautiful temple girl, Lady Hariawan, is a gifted Dream Walker, capable of exploring worlds far beyond her own. But an encounter in the Dream left her scarred, both physically and spiritually. And how can Sairu protect her mistress from enemies in a different world? Golden Daughter is unlike any of Stengl's previous novels. For one thing, it takes place largely in the Near World, and there only in one region-- something Stengl hasn't done since Heartless. Although the adventures do bleed over into the Wood and the Dream, the characters have less knowledge of it, so it reads quite differently. That being said, Stengl handled it excellently. It is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time her characters have interacted with a crowded city or travelled across the Near World. (I am discounting summarized journeys.) So yes; Golden Daughter is quite different, almost disconnected, from its peers. And although I am sad not to see more of the familiar Wood, this forces the novel to stand on its own-- and, dear readers, Golden Daughter does just that. Despite having more unfamiliar characters than I anticipated, I quickly connected with our three heroes: Sairu, Jovann, and Sunan (although I did not pick up on the allegory until deplorably late in the novel). In fact, I enjoyed all the characters... except Lady Hariawan. She set me on edge, and I could not fathom her role in the story aside from a focus of the characters' interest; she literally spends most of it comatose, emerging only long enough to make cryptic comments. Towards the beginning of the novel, I worried that I was meant to sympathize with Lady Hariawan as a heroine of the novel. I didn't sympathize with her, not at all. She irritated me by never doing anything, but her non-actions still retained consequence. As events transpired, I felt more comfortable disliking Lady Hariawan, but even now I can't figure her out. After five hundred pages, I know precisely nothing about her besides her name. And because I never understood the motivations behind her actions, I lost interest in them. Why was she beautiful? Why was she silent? Why did she change? I still don't know. I am reasonably confident that I will love anything in this series, and Golden Daughter is
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favourite books ever written. Right up there with the works of C.S. C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. I don't usually cry with books, but GOLDEN DAUGHTER by Anne Elisabeth Stengl had me tearing up and trying hard not to cry while traveling back to school on a bus! If you love settings based off East-Asian cultures, strong heroines battling dragons and darkness, and characters both good and bad but always relatable, you must check out this novel. And it's over 500 pages, so just more awesomeness for you to enjoy!
LizR1990 More than 1 year ago
Masayi Sairu is Golden Daughter, one of the most dangerous and secret weapons of her emperor. Trained to spend her life protecting a patron disguised as a husband, Sairu takes her future into her own hands and finds herself caught up in something far larger than she could ever imagine. Sairu is such a big, powerful heroine packed into a tiny package. She is full of humor, skill and a smile that can freeze enemies in their tracks. Her companionship with Eanrin felt natural and flowed off the pages. Sunan is a character that is not new and yet completely different from the Sunan readers will be familiar with. I enjoyed seeing Sunan’s origins and hope to see more of him in the future. Jovann is a new hero to Goldstone and I fell in love with him. He is a kind and peaceful soul internally at war with his upbringing and family loyalties. Since childhood he has had a connection to a certain songbird and must find his inner self and strength to become his own man. Lady Hariawan is best described as empty. She is almost completely devoid of emotion and has no sense of self preservation. Her refusal to act has dire cost and I do not believe her tale in the Goldstone is over just yet. Epic has, for me, become synonymous with the Tales of Goldstone Wood. Each individual tale is interwoven with threads of biblical stories and well known fairytales, without becoming just another retelling. I feel completely comfortable going ahead and calling this my favorite read of the year! It is packed with enough action and adventure for two books and the ever expanding mythos of Goldstone wood becomes more alluring with each new novel. ***I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own***
CinnamonG More than 1 year ago
Dreams, bodyguards, secret orders, divided families and kingdoms, war, adventure, love, and of course… dragons all meld together in this epic new book of the Tales of Goldstone Wood.  With Golden Daughter, Anne Elisabeth Stengl proves once more that she has been blessed with a tremendous gift for writing powerful, moving, and emotional tales. Vibrant new characters join familiar favorites to create a unique cast of heroes and villains that you can’t help but love.  Sairu, a Golden Daughter, is placed in the service of Lady Hariawan, a Dream Walker.  To the eyes of many, she is nothing more than a handmaiden, but in reality, she is a highly trained bodyguard, devoted to her mistress for the rest of her life. But other forces are at work, and Lady Hariawan is not the only Dream Walker, nor is she the only one in need of protection.  A fan favorite returns in this book of the series to guard Sairu herself, and the bond that forms between these two is both lovely and unique. Another returning favorite is the mighty villain, the Dragon, who seeks to fulfill his own dark purpose.  Aiding him are many who feel displaced and angry with their lot in life. At the same time, two brothers are divided by hatred and jealousy, and readers will be pleasantly surprised to discover a bit more of Sunan’s (from Goddess Tithe) backstory. Several other mysteries are explained, including one which has been referenced multiple times since the beginning of the series in Heartless.  Also, readers may discover threads woven throughout the story that are reminiscent of the Old Testament accounts of Joseph, Daniel, Esther, and even Adam and Eve.  Truly Golden Daughter is an epic tale with far-reaching effects upon the worlds of Goldstone Wood, yet the struggles of the individual characters makes it relatable, and the powerful description breathes life to the characters and their story. I would highly recommend Golden Daughter by Anne Elisabeth Stengl to any fan of Fantasy or even any fan of reading.  However, if you intend to read the entire series of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, then I would recommend beginning with Heartless and reading through the rest of the books in the order they were written.  Either way, you are certainly in for a treat with this delightful story and series!
M_Lui More than 1 year ago
Golden Daughter definitely did not disappoint. Anne Elisabeth Stengl leads you deeper into the Tales of Goldstone Wood and makes it so difficult to put the book down and leave. This story showed the truth behind true love. I continue to see a wonderful message portrayed about choosing the Path in which you’ll follow. New characters and old are met in this tale and connections to the past and future are made. Stengl continues to create characters that jump off the page and actively live out in your imagination. It’s delightful, heart wrenching, horrific, heart stopping, and comedic. It leaves you anticipating the next tale in this wonderful series. And those who can’t wait for an Eanrin moment won’t be disappointed.
SusanSkylark More than 1 year ago
Golden Daughter is the seventh book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series (this is a review of a free preview copy) and is a worthy addition to an excellent series.  Until I picked up these books, I was quite convinced that any fantasy writer worth reading had been dead for fifty years or more.  Happily I am quite mistaken; Ms. Stengl is a worthy heir to George Macdonald, Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis.  In this book particularly she combines the aching beauty of Macdonald, the whimsy and charm of Lewis, and the intricate world-building of Tolkien with her own quick wit, all too real characters, a complex and interconnected plot, superb writing, and shrewd humor, enwrapping it all in a mystique and intrigue that may well lead to lost sleep and neglected duties as the reader falls under her spell and desires nothing else in life but to know what happens next.  This book can be read as a stand alone, but I would recommend starting at the beginning as it fleshes out and explains some of the questions left from earlier in the series and you will get far more out of it if you already understand something of the world in which it happens.   This book deepens and widens an already immense world, adds new characters that feel more real, more complex than some of the people you meet in real life, and only worsens the yearning to hear the Song of Spheres for yourself.  There is sorrow, pain, grief, despair, and darkness in this story as in life, but there is a hope beyond the doubt, a light beyond the darkness, life beyond death.  This book will stir the deep places of the soul and ask of you the same questions the characters themselves must face, which is exactly what a good book does, for a good story is not merely a well told tale but a mirror upon ourselves and the world at large, if only we have the courage to look therein.  I very much enjoyed this book and impatiently await the advent of the next addition to the series!  
RinasReading More than 1 year ago
I don’t even know where to begin in describing how amazing this book is. Epic, vast, complex, at times humorous, complicated, long (in a good way) would all be apt descriptions. Even though this is book 7 in the series it can be read at any time, chronologically it takes place way before Heartless, Veiled Rose and Moonblood and one mortal year after the Faerie world events of Shadowhand. This is a cosmically complex story. As much as I tend to read books in one sitting I knew I couldn’t with this one. (Though part of that was because I was reading the ARC as a pdf on my kindle and my kindle didn’t like the large file size.) This is a book I fully tend to reread as soon as I can get my hands on a physical copy. But also the writing and deep themes that Anne Elisabeth weaves into her stories make it such that it takes a bit longer to read (a good thing) and to fully absorb the tale. Goldstone Wood characters are always such “real” people. You get to know them personally. Eanrin as always was amazing (can he please walk out of the Wood and come visit?!). Masayi Sairu is a new favorite heroine; to use a crass (sorry Mom!) but apt word, she’s the epitome of a kick-ass heroine who also keeps a hold of her femininity. As promised we get to know Sunan’s story and discover in part how he is also the ship captain in Veiled Rose and Goddess Tithe. But there’s still more to his story! What about the portrait on his wall!? I did enjoy finding out the origin of Una’s ring – well, the jewels in her ring. :-) But how did they get to her?! Lady Hariwan was a first a bit of a conundrum – do we like her, do we fear her? And by the end – do we pity her, do we grieve her, or knowing what Ay-Ibunda is in Veiled Rose do we shudder at her? (Back in January 2012, Anne Elisabeth wrote a blog post about the temple. It’s interesting going back and reading that now.) But more important than all that is the reason for the story: the night of the moonblood, and the goldstone. Two vast and very important pieces in the history of Goldstone Wood that have been hinted at since the very first book are finally told. If you love fantasy, cosmic epicness, a good moral buried deep in the foundation, and the most famous bard to roam the Woods, then this is a book for you. Review first posted on my blog Disclosure: I received this ARC for free from the publisher and author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 
EmilyAnneK17 More than 1 year ago
In Golden Daughter by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Sairu has been trained since birth to be a Golden Daughter, a special protector of the nobility. When her skills are perfected, she will go under-cover as a wife to her master for the rest of their lives in order to protect him from all harm. Except Sairu is assigned to protect a woman. This woman has the special ability to Dream Walk, and someone wants her dead. It’s up to Sairu, now a handmaiden, to protect her mistress and to discover why the assassins want her dead before it’s too late. Every one of Anne Elisabeth’s novels have enchanted me, earning her the title of “favorite author”. Golden Daughter was no exception. I was super excited when I learned that I was to be given and influencer copy of the book and have subsequently devoured it. One of the first things I noticed was that Golden Daugher, the seventh book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood Series, was much longer than its predecessors. It was also set in a different part of the world with nearly all new characters once again. The setting was the eastern parts of the mortal world, comparable to medieval China. It portrays grand palaces, universities, leper colonies, and small tribes on the plains in a believable manner while intertwining a dream world, the Wood Between, and the garden of the moon. Each character—Sairu, Jovan, Sunan (yes, Captain Sunan from Vieled Rose and Goddess Tithe), Lady Hariawan, and others—was unique, sometimes funny, and well written. They seemed like real people struggling with real problems and romances. There were a few familiar characters, Eanrin for example, but most of the main characters were completely new and amazing. I would mention that Jovan’s story reminded me of Joseph’s story in the Bible, which was a nice touch. The plot, also, was unlike any story I have ever read. There is certainly the comparison to Joseph, but there are so many other things going on that Golden Daughter is completely unique. Also, the spiritual element was beautiful. It tells of redemption, of hope even through pain, and of the ultimate defeat of the Dragon both in the character’s lives and our own when we trust in the Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ. I applaud Anne Elisabeth for another astonishing story. I received a free influencer, ARC copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
RyebrynnLylaShveer More than 1 year ago
BEYOND THE REALM OF DREAMS  IS A WORLD SHE NEVER IMAGINED.  Masayi Sairu was raised to be dainty, delicate, demure . . . and deadly. She is one of the emperor’s Golden Daughters, as much a legend as she is a commodity. One day, Sairu will be contracted in marriage to a patron, whom she will secretly guard for the rest of her life.  But when she learns that a sacred Dream Walker of the temple seeks the protection of a Golden Daughter, Sairu forgoes marriage in favor of this role. Her skills are stretched to the limit, for assassins hunt in the shadows, and phantoms haunt in dreams. With only a mysterious Faerie cat and a handsome slave—possessed of his own strange abilities—to help her, can Sairu shield her new mistress from evils she can neither see nor touch?  For the Dragon is building an army of fire. And soon the heavens will burn. LET ME JUST SAY: This BOOK is awesome. I dove into it with a voracious appetite that knew The Tales of Goldstone Wood well. I was not disappointed! Anne Elisabeth Stengl brought in fresh, new characters, as well as old ones(EANRIN! *sqee*). The usual formula: several doses of action, more of world, or story, and a dose of good romance. Anne Elisabeth Stengl has another amazing story! THE GOOD: characters As I said, there were fresh and new characters, along with the familiar old ones. Laughable, beautiful(heartbroken) characters. story THE STORY! Oh my goodness. This book was overflowing with wonderful story. It was almost as good as my mom's cheesecake(which is the best ever, so...). villain The dragon. Oh my word. He is a brilliant villain. A beautiful blend of evil, creepiness, more evil, and more creepiness. He jumped off the page and is one of my favorite villains. HYLUMÉ She gets her own paragraph because this was partially her story, and it was heart-wrenchingly beautiful. the style I love Anne Elizabeth's lovely writing style. It is beautiful. the cover It is beautiful. THE BAD: The book ended. :) Five stars to another wonderful book by my favorite author! * I recieved a FREE EBOOK copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
SupermanJMO More than 1 year ago
Officially, the Golden Daughters are a myth. Unofficially, they are one of the most elite sets of bodyguards ever trained.  The best and brightest and most beautiful set aside and trained as the perfect weapons of defense: trained to spot assassins, capable of taking down the most trained of killers, more knowledgeable in matters of international relations than their royal husbands will ever be. And of all these Sairu has proved herself to be better than her sisters. Officially, the Dream Walkers are a myth. Legend says that the temple of the Moon-goddess Hulan can be accessed through dreamwalking, but none ever reached the deity’s throne. These days, the Dream Walkers pale in comparison to the ancient ones. Except for Lady Hariawan.  Two exceptional women. Two mythical orders. One intertwining task. When Hariawan ventures too far into the dream world, she returns as a shell of herself. Sairu is recruited to be her bodyguard on the journey to a place that could possibly restore her health. Included in all of this is Juong-Khla Sunan, the half-breed despised by both his peoples. His journey is integral into this story as well, as the mythologies of the various people groups and the realities that lie behind those fictions. Over and above all, it is a tale of grace and redemption amid violence and chaos. Stengl weaves her storylines across lands and through worlds, into and out of mythologies and realities, all with an eloquence and melodiousness that makes Golden Daughter a beautiful book to read. She especially highlights strong, confident female characters that are a refreshing addition to epic fantasy. However, I do warn you of its complexity. Though the seventh in a series, Golden Daughter stands alone within the Tales of Goldstone Wood universe. You can read it without any prior knowledge of the series. But within the book itself, the story is complex and, at times, meandering.  Stengl’s work is never fast-paced and page-turning. Instead, it grabs you and forces you to slow down and enjoy the beauty and mystery of the worlds she has created. Golden Daughter starts off slow—a bit too slow, in my humble opinion—and builds the back story of the main characters for quite some time before starting on the journey proper. Get through this section and the story will fall together nicely and have you reading until your eyes cannot stay open any longer. The previous volumes in the series were published by traditional publisher Bethany House, but beginning with Golden Daughter Stengl has decided to release the series with her own imprint called Rooglewood Press. The change means greater creative control over the editorial and layout process and the storyline reflects this. Golden Daughter is lengthy (near 600 pages), which is not unusual for the fantasy genre, but I can’t help but think a traditional publisher would have asked Stengl to speed up and pare down the slow introduction to her story. Positive changes include the addition of a glossary of sorts at the end of the novel. Altogether, the change is a great move for Stengl as she continues to flesh out her universe.   I don’t know how far this journey will go. Stengl has stated that she could continue the rest of her life writing in Goldstone Wood and, if the stories continue as they have, I will along for the ride until the very end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Golden Daughter by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Alright, give me a moment to come up with the appropriate word to describe it… Stunning? Enthralling? Amazing? Powerful? Emotional? Complex? Utterly epic? Ok, so one word won’t suffice. It’s a fictional masterpiece. Book seven of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, Golden Daughter has to be one of the most brilliant yet of the series. The things that happen. The answers uncovered. The stories told. I would sit momentarily speechless at one point, and laughing with glee in the next. All her life, Princess Sairu—who can read secrets by looking into one’s eyes—has been trained to be fiercely protective, wholly devoted, and yet never love. She’s a Golden Daughter. A legend. A secret. And is often mistaken for a little handmaiden, especially when her path merges with a Dream Walker’s. Jovann and Sunan are half-brothers. They are pitted against each other by circumstances not of their own making, but Jovann seeks to remedy that. However, Sunan has hatred buried too deep to be merely brushed aside. Kidnappings, Masks, imps, and a certain Lady Hariawan litter their paths and make everything so much more complicated. Then we have a smug, fluffy orange cat, a passel of hedge-pigs (a.k.a lion dogs), some self-important priests, Hymlume and her beautiful children, mysterious Dream Walkers, a dark Dragon, and of course, the ever-present songbird. I’m staring at this half-written review and wracking my brain for what next to write. Golden Daughter is almost too big for words. Like really, Tales of Goldstone Wood has to be the most intricate, complex series I’ve ever read. Don’t let that scare you away from reading Golden Daughter and its like though. Its complexity only makes it better, and I don’t believe I’ve ever been really confused. Things usually come together quite nicely—if not in the actual book, than in the sequel, or a few books after that. It’s an epic series truly; just beware that writing a long, eloquent review for it might be a little bit of a challenge! :) So it’s a fantasy. With a powerful Christian allegory woven firmly into its fibers. It has a fairytale twist with its enchanted other worlds and fae folk. Apparently you can read Golden Daughter on its own, but I would definitely recommend reading the other books of the series first. –In order. It makes every little moment ever so much more meaningful. In fact, I delighted in the similarities to Heartless (book one) that I found in Golden Daughter. It’s probably because, chronologically, Golden Daughter comes before Heartless. I loved how Sir Eanrin the cat was called “monster” again in this tale, just as he was in Heartless! Just brings back fond memories, :) :) Golden Daughter (as the other tales) can be a little creepy. A bit gory. It was also a little darker, like Shadow Hand, but not quite to the degree book six was. I found a lot of sweet, silly, touching, and hilarious moments in between. A lot of them included Eanrin (of course). Or the songbird, Lumil Eliasul. –Those particular moments chased away the darkness and brought a deep profoundness to Golden Daughter that often left me in tears. *clears throat* Anyway, because of some frightening/slightly gory content, I would strongly caution parents: read these books before you let your younger children (perhaps twelve and under) read them, and then judge for yourself if your child can handle it. Though I’m not sure, I think my twelve-year-old sister would be ok with the more mature content, and would love the books overall! The allegory. So many profound, heartfelt, real-like allegories. (And there’s even a subtle retelling of a Biblical story… do keep on the lookout!) Golden Daughter made me realize anew how very deep Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s books are. These are no fluffy tales of romance and humor. Though yes, it does contain those elements. But rather, they are a part of a much bigger tale. A tale of the all-surpassing love of a God for His people. A tale of the power of a Creator and His hand in all the events that come to pass. A tale of darkness getting swallowed up in a much-greater Light. And of imperfect, sometimes lost, but unique characters caught up in that tale. I just have to sit in awe of the beauty of the allegories Anne Elisabeth weaves together. May she ever continue to follow God’s leading and let Him speak through her novels. I’m left deeply touched. We meet fascinating new characters, Sairu and Jovann, to name our main characters; and reconnect with beloved old ones. Sir Eanrin for one. Oh, the smug, irresistible cat! I just love him. :) We uncover some dark secrets about the evil Dragon. And we learn anew the power of the songbird; his silver trill of: Won’t you return to me? always brings hope in even the darkest of moments. A horrible-yet-amazing story is finally told. A story we’ve perhaps been waiting to hear since the very first book, Heartless. It includes encounters with Hymlume, the Gold Gong, and the wretched Dragon. Very emotional and deep story. And Sairu, Jovann, Sunan, Lady Hariawan, and Sir Eanrin all have a place in the unfolding of the tale. I love how real Golden Daughter is. The bad is not brushed over; it’s displayed along with the good. The characters are flawed, and they have raw, real feelings and emotions. They’re not the perfect heroes and heroines—they often make mistakes. Oftentimes they don’t even know how to respond to their Lord. It’s messy, but it’s beautiful. –When Lumil Eliasul is there to hold their hands. Just like real life, hey? So yeah… at some point… after Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, Dragonwitch, Goddess Tithe (novella), and Shadow Hand, if you haven’t read those… do pick up Golden Daughter and let your heart be warmed, your mind be thrilled, and your soul be touched. For myself, I’m waiting (im)patiently for book eight. Or perhaps another novella, Draven’s Light; whichever comes first! :) :) I received an advanced copy of Golden Daughter in exchange for my honest review.
katielohr More than 1 year ago
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Golden Daughter, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, is a captivating twist in the Goldstone Woods series. Filled with great characters, a dramatic plot, and an out of this world setting, Golden Daughter is a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anne Elisabeth Stengl creates unique fairy tales with well-crafted characters and world-building. In Golden Daughter, the seventh book in her Tales of Goldstone Wood series, she weaves an epic tale that will hold you captive and leave you longing for more. For those familiar with the series, Golden Daughter fills in some important gaps in the story world’s history (what exactly happened on the Night of Moonblood? You’ll find out!). The story can also stand on its own, so if you’re a newcomer to the world of Goldstone Wood you can still enjoy it fully (though I recommend checking out the rest of the series as well). One of the book’s greatest strengths is its protagonist. Sairu is a compelling character with relatable hopes and fears, an interesting skill set, and a lively and engaging personality. I enjoyed the inventive ways she handled each challenge she faced and how she grew into a better understanding of herself over the course of the story. The supporting characters shone as well. Jovann, with his resilient and hopeful nature, was a refreshing contrast to the story’s intense elements. Those familiar with the series will enjoy encountering a few familiar faces, including Sunan (as a younger and very different man), and the always-fantastic Eanrin. Stengl’s knack for creating detestable villains also reaches new heights, to excellent effect. Stengl has crafted a wonderfully vast story world in the Goldstone Wood series, and Golden Daughter gives readers a chance to explore some fascinating new regions. The story takes place in the Noorhitam Empire, a rich and diverse setting influenced by various Asiatic cultures. It was refreshing to read a fantasy novel with a fully-realized setting inspired by something other than medieval western Europe. The Dream is something else entirely. I won’t give away too much, as it’s an important part of the plot, but it’s beautiful and unsettling and not like anything I’ve read before. The author is a Christian, and all of the Tales of Goldstone Wood have allegorical elements. What comes across in Golden Daughter, however, is more of a worldview than a clear Biblical parallel, and it flows seamlessly with the story. The overarching themes of hope, love, and redemption play out beautifully in the journeys of the central characters and lead to a potent and satisfying conclusion. Golden Daughter is an intricate tapestry of a story, and this complexity is both a strength and a weakness. As with the rest of the books in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, it has a large cast of characters and each one has a story. While I appreciate the work Stengl puts into fleshing out even the most minor characters, it can be overwhelming at points. The omniscient perspective allows readers to appreciate each character’s point of view, but there are times when it becomes confusing as the reader hops between characters’ viewpoints with dizzying speed. At over 500 pages Golden Daughter is a hefty book, but very much worth the effort. It has been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a book as much as I enjoyed this one. Because of the intensity of the story and the level of (non-graphic) violence involved, this is not a book for children. However, I highly recommend it to anyone teenaged or older who enjoys epic fantasy or fairy tales.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TheScriptSpinner More than 1 year ago
It is clear from the beginning that this tale is unique from all the other Tales. It takes place in a far different and more ruthless world than we have met before in the series. Even the time we spend in the Between is a different place than we have seen. But despite almost an entirely new cast and setting, this Tale is VITAL to the series. I dare not reveal all the incredible things revealed here. It is the first night of Moonblood. It is the first part of Sunan's history (it is hard to believe that this Sunan is the same Sunan we love later on). And we learn the history of the Goldstone. And--oh, so much! Any newcomers into Goldstone Wood might be surprised to find out Golden Daughter is "Christian" fantasy. After all, most of the characters and the very culture dedicates itself to their goddess, the moon. And while some perform their rituals with hypocritical ease, others carry out their dedication with disturbing loyalty. Unlike most Christian fantasy, this doesn't take the point of view of the "Christian" character. This is the real world. Not to say that is actually exists, but because the foundation of it is true. A corrupt world. Fallen. Deceived. As such, there is false religion, and people devoted and aloof to it. There is an awareness of the more lewd sides of the world that adds a certain maturity that wasn't so present in other Goldstone Novels. It shows us that men trying to connect with the spiritual worlds without God's summoning leads to damaging consequences. But this book takes us by the hand, and guides us through the lies, shows the fragility of the promises of the world, and brings us to a profound and beautiful portrayal of God's character and ultimate power. And actually, there does turn out to be a parallel here with a familiar Bible story. But perhaps because it is so obvious, we overlook it, because I never recognized it until thinking about the story later. This is definitely the most violent of the Tales so far. Not really graphic or disturbing, but it still packs some punch. It might be a bit too harsh for the very sensitive reader. The headcount by the end is rather high....and Anne Elisabeth has this way of making you feel each one, even the people you didn't particularly like. That is another of her gifts. Creating real people, so real you have trouble liking them. Oh, to be sure, there are plenty of characters to love here: Sairu--one of the funnest and most darling (and deadly) female characters I've met in a while, Jovann--who is AWESOME, Eanrin--who...who brings a whole new level to the words "I love him." But then we have characters who we see or know to commit heinous and cold deeds--characters who we might call "bad"--shock us with their depth. They may have few loves and loyalties left, but to those few they cling with a resilience that is truly admirable. Foreboding, strange, and ruthless are the worlds through which this tale weaves. It is difficult to discern what the will of the Song Giver is, what role the characters will play. But to those who are willing to take the journey, they will find a beauty at its peak, a hope of infinite glory. I do not believe I have yet read in a fantasy a more powerful, more beautiful representation of God as is found here in these pages. Indeed, in the midst of reading it, I found my eyes swimming with tears, for the potency of His majesty, love, and grandeur rang true in my own life. And that is the work of a master storyteller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just when we thought we had seen and learned all that the goldstone woods had to offer, Anne takes us on another adventure. Meeting some new and not so new faces in this ever growing world we have come to love. Great book for fans of the series or those who are new to the woods. I reccomend this book to anyone, but caution those who are new to tread carefully within the wood. You may be surprised by the "path" you find yourself on!
belisabethbrown More than 1 year ago
I’m a pretty big fan of Ms. Stengl’s “Tales of Goldstone Wood” series. Golden Daughter was an absolutely fabulous addition, staying true to the series while still introducing something completely new. One of the “new” things Golden Daughter introduces is the setting; while Heartless began in a fairly traditionally-flavored European-esque fairytale scene, Ms. Stengl hasn’t limited herself to that in following books.Noorhitam has a distinctly Asain flavor. Do you know how much fun it is to read fairytales that aren’t European-based? It’s not only fun, but it helps to keep the series fresh and unique. While it’s different in its cultural setting, however, Golden Daughter ties in quite beautifully with the rest of the series. It’s rather incredible to me, actually, how Ms. Stengl can take a theme from one book and make it into a whole ‘nother story… details which I wouldn’t have connected somehow come together. There’s a lot more I could say–about the characters (I loved Sairu, and Eanrin’s back! being chased by a fluffy lion dog names Rice Cake, no less!), about the plot (Mysterious? Check. Complicated? Check. Engaging? Check.), about the development of Ms. Stengl’s writing (I found Golden Daughter to be adult-ier than the beginning novels, if that makes sense), about the length (deliciously long!!)–but this is already getting pretty lengthy. A few random thoughts, and then the summary: -I wouldn’t recommend starting the series with this book. While you technically could–each book is written in a fairly stand-alone style–I still think Heartless is the best starting point. -As I mentioned, I found this book “adultier,” even a little bit darker at a point or two. Ms. Stengl has always been good at writing realistically, dealing with both the good and the bad, both the beautiful and the blighted, but it’s getting deeper. Not uncomfortably so, but so nonetheless. Evil exists, and she doesn’t shy away from portraying that. -I wasn’t as crazy about the allegory in this book as I was in some of the others. Heartless was a fairly straightforward Gospel allegory, and the subsequent books have delved into other themes. Golden Daughter has a Joseph theme, which , to my great chagrin, I didn’t pick up on until it was pointed out to me. I did, however, notice a fairly strong Revelation likeness, which I just wasn’t quite as comfortable with…probably because Revelation is already pretty debated about, and allegorizing an already-debated book just sits wrong on my dispensational upbringing, you know? However, I don’t think expounding on eschatology was Ms. Stengl’s purpose here. In summary, I really liked Golden Daughter (though Starflower still has the most feels for me). One of my favorite things about the series is Ms. Stengl’s ability to create realistic characters is non-realistic settings. While I don’t expect to ever go dream walking, witness an attack on the Lady Moon, or discover a temple made of voices, I can see myself in the characters that did. They had weaknesses and temptations and failures like me, and sometimes they had strengths and victories like me, and that is what I love about these stories. Without departing from her previous books, Ms. Stengl has created an epic that’s fresh and surprising and ancient and familiar and believably unbelievable and heartbreaking and joyously glad. Read it. You’ll be glad you did.
Athelas More than 1 year ago
Doesn't the back cover just sound awesome? The book is awesome, too.  Golden Daughter was, without a doubt, one of the best books I have read this year. I loved the characters, the setting—I marveled at the way the author wrote certain parts of it. I would recommend it to anyone who reads Young Adult Christna Fantasy.   Characters Oh, boy. Don’t get me started on the characters (no, sorry. It's too late; you already did). As always, Anne Elisabeth Stengl was a master at creating lovable, relatable characters. And also characters you would very much like to hit over the head a few times. With a log.     Sairu was epic. Her thoughts, her feelings, her complete ability to be a strong character and still be a girl all made her one of my favorite heroines ever. I adored the way she reacted to a certain event (though the event and the reaction were far from awesome) and the way she interacted with the other characters. I especially loved her smile.     The other characters were also amazing. One side character in particular made it to my “Favorite Character” list, and of course the recurring characters were awesome as usual. The two heroes in the book didn’t catch my attention quite as much as Sairu did, though I still eagerly followed along in his journey.     To avoid spoilers, I should move on.    Plot Have I mentioned that Anne Elisabeth Stengl is a genius? This book was full of characters. They wove a complex and gripping story—but as the story went on, we slowly saw these characters fading away into the background (Or... the morgue. *cringes*)  as the main thrust of the story came forward and the camera focus intensified on a few main characters. I don’t think I can express with words the amazingness* of the plot. The intensity slowly rose and my interest remained captured, beyond hope of rescue. It got to the point where I found myself gasping, crouched on the floor and with the Kindle clasped in my faintly shaking hands. I never even suspected half of the plot twists until I turned to the very scene and I realized, “Oh, no,” as the events were revealed as about to occur. The plot, putting it simply, was amazing. Setting    After writing this series for years, Anne Elisabeth knows her world, something you could tell while reading the book. Golden Daughter was set primarily in a place we’ve only briefly stayed in during the Tales of Goldstone Wood, but the land was still vividly there, every bit as real as any other world of any book. The history ran deep. The culture was defined, and the Asian setting was one that I, a particular lover of Asia (China, more specifically) was incredibly pleased with.     Something made the world come alive. Perhaps it was the fact that the majority of the people worshiped pagan deities, and the broken world we could see in the story. Whatever it was, the land, full of grit and filth, would have fit right in here on Earth. It felt so real you could almost smell the rotting fish and the salty air on the docks, hear the noises of the people, taste the smell of the dirt upon your tongue. It felt so real, I suppose, because of how desperately the people needed a Savior. Undoubtedly I would die a terrible death if I were to even briefly set foot in it—but nevertheless, I would have loved to go there and help all the hurting, broken people there. Writing     The author of these stories writes in omniscient narrative, which in some of the other books took some getting used to—even in this one, it may seem a little odd to some readers, though it didn’t to me. In this book I could really see the beauty of the writing style. In this story it stepped so solidly in and out of points-of-view at times so perfect that you could almost feel the heartbeat of each individual character while at the same time knowing the whole story.    At points, the writing was beautiful. At other points, it was painfully honest. At other points in the story, it just was. The writing was used in the best way possible to tell this particular story. That, I believe, is the purpose of writing styles in books.     Other     This story was set in a dark, damaged world. We see death and destruction. We see pain and filth. The body count for this novel seemed higher than in other Tales of Goldstone Wood books, but never to the point where it was pointless as it is in the novels of some authors. All the deaths served a purpose, however tragic each and every one (and one in particular) were. There were a few mentions of the cultures expectations in certain circumstances, but all of it was handled well.     In summary      I would not read this book aloud to my little sisters. The characters are too real, the story too painfully dirty, the monsters too human and yet monstrous. Yet I do expect to read it myself again and again. I loved the book, the journey of the characters, the answers we got to a few questions from the rest of the series while still being its own story, and the questions it opened up.    So read it. I suspect that you’ll love it.
Bookishqueen More than 1 year ago
This my favorite Goldstone Wood novel since Starflower. I might even like it a bit more than Starflower, which I wasn't sure was possible. Golden Daughter takes us to another country in the history of this world, one with customs far different than the other countries seen so far. The culture Anne Elisabeth constructed was so intricate and detailed, making it seem like someplace that might have once been real (and this comes from a Cultural Anthropologist). The character I didn't like was Lady Hariawan. Everyone else, including the villains, were so much fun to read about. Sunan (who I only recently discovered was Captain Sunan from Goddess Tithe) was probably my favorite, besides Sir Eanrin. As with Heartless, Eanrin spent most of the novel in cat form, which I must admit I found hilarious. I can not wait to read what comes next in the series. Surely it will be just as delightful as this. I received an ARC of Golden Daughter in exchange for an honest review