Sunday, November 9, 2014

Golden Daughter by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Golden Daughter by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Rogglewood Press, 2014. 570p. (9780989447850) Series: Tales of Goldstone Wood, #7

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.

Goodreads Summary:

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.

My Review:
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.

Masayi Sairu
as drawn by AES
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.)

The Blue Star 
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.

If you read this before 7pm - 9pm EST on Nov 10, 2014 then join the Golden Daughter Chat Party on Facebook!

Go read it! Buy it from Amazon ($4.99 / $15.29); Buy it from Barnes & Noble ($4.99); Buy it from Smashwords ($4.99)
(E-book/paperback prices good as of November 9, 2014; always double check for yourself)

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. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.
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