Monday, November 17, 2014
Golden Daughter Review
When I picked up Golden Daughter, the latest book in Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s Tales of Goldstone Wood series, I wasn’t sure what to expect. (This was probably just as well, since Anne Elisabeth has, in her last few books, made a habit of turning my expectations on their heads.) Golden Daughter sounded like it would be very different from the other Tales, and in many ways, it was. However, it’s every bit as amazing.
For fans of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, Golden Daughter is a book full of questions asked and answered. We discover more about people, things, and events we’ve heard about in other books, like Una’s ring and the Night of the Moonblood, though some of these discoveries, like what we learn of Sunan (previously seen in Goddess Tithe) are only smaller pieces of a much larger puzzle. Even newcomers to the Tales will be able to enjoy this book, however. Though there are many, many references to other books in the series, Golden Daughter is a complete and independent story in its own right.
As I mentioned earlier, Golden Daughter is quite different in some from many of the other Tales of Goldstone Wood. It’s set far from Parumvir and Southlands, in Lunthea Maly and the surrounding country, which I very much enjoyed. Though I love the countries we’ve seen previously, it was really fun to explore somewhere new. Golden Daughter also has a more mysterious, suspenseful feel than the other Tales, which I also really liked.
Another favorite aspect of Golden Daughter is the characters. I’ve talked about Anne Elisabeth’s gift for character creation before; even the minor characters seem incredibly alive and real. The population of Golden Daughter is no exception. My favorite character was definitely Sairu. She’s an incredible contradiction: determined and deadly, yet fun, clever, and lovable from the first time we meet her. Eanrin was also awesome; I think I love him more with every Tale he appears in. Moving on to much-less-lovable characters, the Dragon reappears as main villain for the first time since Veiled Rose. I was very excited to see him again; the Dragon is one of my all-time favorite villains, and he’s every bit as chilling and evil in Golden Daughter as I remembered him from previous books.
I did have a slightly hard time getting into this book at first. It started off a bit slowly, and certain characters turned me off until I figured out that I didn’t have to like them. Then the twists started coming, ushered in (for the most part) by Jovann and Eanrin, and the slow beginning was all but forgotten. Once again I learned the folly of thinking I could predict the path of one of the Tales of Goldstone Wood; each time I thought I knew how the rest of the story would play out, I was proven wrong. By the end of Golden Daughter, I was so captured by the story that I stayed up until eleven at night to finish it.
Be warned, though: Golden Daughter is not always easy to read. There is heartbreak and tears and yelling at characters. There is failure and death and seeming certainty of defeat. But in the mist of all this darkness, there is light. There is hope. There’s a promise that good will overcome in the end. There’s a beautiful, powerful, message that shines all the more for the darkness it’s held against. And that, most of all, is why I love Golden Daughter.
In conclusion, Golden Daughter is an amazing addition to the Tales of Goldstone Wood, and my favorite Tale since Heartless. Both newcomers and experienced Goldstone Wood fans will love this book for its amazing characters, stunning plot, and beautiful, inspiring message. It’s a book that you’ll want to read over and over again.