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Dragonwitch ~ Review with Interview

Posted by bloomingwithbooks on July 15, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Welcome to the Dragonwitch Blog Tour!

Due to all I have to offer you I've broken my Tour offering into two posts.  You are on the Review ~ Interview / Giveaway post.  There are two(2) giveaways: the first is for one copy of Dragonwitch and  the second is for the entire blog tour and is for a copy of the entire 5 book Tales of Goldstone Wood (Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, and Dragonwitch)!


Tales of Goldstone Wood #5

Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Dragonwitch is yet another enchanting excursion into Goldstone Wood.  The opening starts with the Legend of the Brothers Ashiun

which gave me the same thrill of beauty that I felt when I read The Silmarillion by Tolkien.  There is an awe that this opening legend imparts that is hard to describe with words and its touches the very heart of one's soul!

Dragonwitch is two stories in one.  The first story is of the Brothers Ashuin - Etanun and Akilun  and the Flame at Night.  The second story belongs to Alastair, Leta, the Chronicler, and Mouse.  But these two stories are essential to each other because without one you won't fully grasp the other.

Alastair of Geheris is destined to become king of the North Country and the Lady Leta is to become his wife.  But Alastair is haunted and hunted in his sleep by the face of a child.  What can the meaning of his recurring dream mean?   While Alastair struggles through his unwanted lessons under his uncle's Chronicler, Leta secretly seeks out the knowledge that Alastair disdains.  The lessons the two pursue are steeped in the legends and nursery tales surrounding the House of Light and the Brothers Ashiun.  If there any truth to the prophecy regarding the rising of a heir who will claim the long lost sword of Etanun?  

When Eanrin comes upon evidence that someone or something is attempting to force open a new death-house gate he becomes alarmed and warns Imraldera to keep an extra watch over the gate while he is away. But when the Murderer comes upon Imraldera in Eanrin's absence the gate is allowed to open and goblins pour into Geheris.  

The goblins search and dismantle the castle in search of a prize for their Queen Vartera.  The king-to-be is the key to goblins quest.  But the King-to-be is who Eanrin needs to save Imraldera.  But how can the future king of the North Country be in two different places at once.  Torn between duty, desire, fear, and feelings he can't explain the heir of Geheris and Etanun is about to embark on a life altering journey that could cost him his very life. 

Dragonwitch is a story of disappointment, sacrifice, betrayal, love lost and love found.  It is a story of new beginnings and lost dreams.  There are lessons for both the characters and the reader.  When we rely upon our senses we are restrained in how we view the world around because we see through preconceived perceptions.  We judge others on appearance, but the true measure of a person is who they are in their spirit.  

Dragonwitch won't disappoint and you'll want to revisit it again (as is the case with all the Tales of Goldstone Wood books) while you await Shadow Hand.  

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.



7721_133549311830_623396830_3040333_1407935_n.jpgAuthor bio




Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the author of the award-winning Tales of Goldstone Wood series, adventure fantasies told in the classic Fairy Tale style. She makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University.




Interview with Anne Elisabeth Stengl




1) When there is mention of the Song of the Spheres do you have a song that comes to mind?  If so is it something grand or is soft and simple?




In my head, the Song of the Spheres is actually many songs, depending on who is hearing it. So sometimes it might be grand, sometimes soft.




The Song of the Spheres is an important theme in Dragonwitch, especially right at the final climactic scene. A few days before writing that scene, while mulling over how I would handle it, a song came on the radio that moved me to tears, it was so perfect, I thought: Gustav Holst’s Jupiter Theme (




My husband thinks of a different song, however. He says the perfect song would be a theme from the TV show Doctor Who: “The Ood Song of Freedom.” ( It’s a pretty neat option too! I think it’s safe to say it’s open to interpretation, though.


2) Etanun and Akilun: What was your inspiration for these two brothers?

100_3757.jpgWow, you know, it’s been so long since I started writing about them, I don’t even remember what the original inspiration was! I was sixteen, maybe seventeen when they first began featuring in the short stories I was writing about Goldstone Wood then. I remember specifically one epic story in which they traveled into the Netherworld to face a wicked red dragon who was poisoning the river flowing beneath the Mortal World. While that story has not yet made it into the series as it stands now, it was, I believe, the first story I wrote about the two brothers, and it even inspired a large illustration . . . which, while a little amateur, proved enough to get me an art scholarship to the college of my choice!

 So, I suppose I owe Etanun and Akilun a bit of a debt. LOL.

3) Death-in-Life is an ominous name, yet seems appropriate for this character.  Why this character?

This character is the counterpoint to his sister, Life-in-Death. Life-in-Death was directly inspired from a character in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” In the poem, the titular ancient mariner spies the phantom Life-in-Death gambling with Death for the lives of the crew . . . and it is she who wins the mariner himself.

I was so inspired and chilled by that scene, that I began developing my own riff on that character. And her brother became Death-in-Life, the Dragon—both her opposite and her completion. The Dragon has gone on to take a more prominent role in recent stories, but his sister will return in all her dreadful glory soon enough.

4) Alistair and Leta seem so different from one another.  Where Alistair scorns his lessons, Leta seeks lessons.  Why do you think some seek out knowledge while others do everything to avoid it?

I think Alistair is more afraid of being made to feel stupid than Leta is. Both of them started learning when older, which is much, much more difficult than growing up learning it. But Alistair sees reading and studying as a binding that keeps him from real life . . . Leta, by contrast, sees reading as her escape into a life far bigger than anything she has ever before known.

Personally, I don’t judge or blame Alistair for his attitude. It is difficult enough to learn a new skill without enduring cynical remarks from a short-tempered teacher such as the Chronicler! And he didn’t need reading to make his life broader and more complete. Leta needed it. Desperately, desperately needed it.

(And, seriously, the Chronicler is nowhere near so short-tempered with her!)

5) The old scrubber seems to have an inkling of what Alistair is experiencing in his dreams?  Why is this?

Well, the Scrubber knows a lot more about the workings of the worlds than anyone else in Gaheris Castle. And he has, I do not doubt, traveled himself into the Realm of Dreams, beyond the borders of the Wood Between. So he would have little to no trouble discerning what was going on inside Alistair’s head. Plus, it is implied that he is gifted with foresight and prophecy. He might even know directly what is coming for Alistair.

6) Where did you discover the Chronicler?  He seems to have a wisdom that Leta needs, especially when he tells her that she shouldn't listen to the lies that say the inner shape of the spirit is determined by the body's outer shape.







The Chronicler is another character, like Akilun and Etanun, whom I have toyed around with in short-story form for years . . . but he didn’t become the character he is now until late into the process of drafting Dragonwitch! I tried multiple variations on the theme, usually calling him by his true name. But when I started calling him simply “The Chronicler,” I learned a truth about him. He defines himself by his role. He sees his worth as existing only in his abilities, and so he doesn’t even bother with a name. He rejects himself as much as anyone else does. That was when he began to take on life as a real character!


I think this is why the Chronicler has such insight into Leta. He knows that he has defined himself by what others see, that he has allowed himself to be shaped and molded according to other people’s expectations. And he hates this about himself. But it is much easier to see your own faults in another person. So while he has so much wisdom and insight into Leta’s own character, he also needs her to point out the same in him.

Ultimately, he is not the stronger of the two. They are equally bound and equally in need of liberation.

7) In a conversation between Leta and the Chronicler we are told in summary "Belief cannot change the truth."  Why do you feel so many of your characters (and people for that matter) feel that what they believe is the truth even if it is obvious that the truth they cling to isn't truth?



People don’t like to be challenged in their worldview, in the comfortable little fortresses of belief in which they have shielded themselves. And I include myself in that statement! It is terrifying to have one’s beliefs challenged, to have to begin considering the possibility of other truths. In Dragonwitch, we see this reflected in a number of different characters as they are challenged in their faith, in their beliefs, in their understanding of truth. And yet the truth itself never does change. It forms the foundations beneath their feet, whether or not they can see it.




8) In the Tales of Goldstone Wood do you have a favourite book and a favourite cover?  If so what are they and why?




My favourite book is always the one I just finished writing. So that means Shadow Hand is my favourite just now, though I’m sure it will be supplanted by Book 7 in just another few months. 

My favourite cover . . . hmmm, that’s a little harder. I love most of them for different reasons. I love how both Heartless and Veiled Rose so perfectly fit their stories. I love the beauty of Starflower, which makes my very girly side go, “SQUEAL!” In a good way, mind you. I love the menace of Dragonwitch, which appeals to a different range of readers, particularly the male audience.




But I have to say, I think the new cover, Shadow Hand’s cover, might be my favourite. It’s so beautiful and there are many little details from the story represented. It’s just fabulous and fairy tale and wonderful! I have been blessed by the talented art team at Bethany House, who never fail to surprise and impress me.





Check-out the Sneak Peek/Excerpt of Dragonwitch along with a chance to win a copy of Dragonwitch here.

Now that you have been tantalized you can enter for a chance to win a copy of Dragonwitch.  Open to US residents only due to the cost of shipping.  Enter daily July 15 - July 22 to gain more entries!



Be sure to visit ALL the tour stops:





14 - Day 1

























15 - Day 2


























16 - Day 3






















July 17 



Tour Finale and Prize Awarded back at the Tales

of Goldstone Wood!



 Be sure to enter the Giveaway hosted by author Anne Elisabeth Stengl across the tour:


Categories: Books for 2013, Book Reviews, Virtual Book Tours

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