Author: Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Source: I borrowed it from the library.
Publication Date: April 1st, 2012
Blurb: Desperate to regain the trust of his kingdom, Prince Lionheart reluctantly banishes his faithful servant and only friend, Rose Red. Now she is lost in the hidden realm of Arpiar, held captive by her evil goblin father, King Vahe.
Vowing to redeem himself, Lionheart plunges into the mysterious Goldstone Wood, seeking Rose Red. In strange other worlds, Lionheart must face a lyrical yet lethal tiger, a fallen unicorn, and a goblin horde on his quest to rescue the girl he betrayed.
With the Night of Moonblood fast approaching–when King Vahe seeks to wake the Dragon’s sleeping children–Lionheart must discover whether or not his heart contains courage before it’s too late for Rose Red…and all those he loves.
Ahem. So ummm I kind of wrote this review 9 months ago? And then promptly forgot about it. In any case, here it is now.
In the third installment of the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, Anne Elisabeth Stengl focuses once again on Lionheart, this time showing his journey through Goldstone Wood as he sacrifices everything to save Rose Red.
I’ll admit that I kind of hated on Leo (yes, I still call him that for nostalgic purposes) after reading Veiled Rose and seeing how he treated Rose Red. Now, once again, Leo faces his past guilt and tries to make things right. Ultimately, that made my favorite part about this book Leo’s inner struggle.
Throughout the story, Leo constantly struggles with temptation. Every time he is faced with a challenge, he goes back to what he’s done before, and briefly thinks that maybe what he’s done already is enough. He tells himself that he tried the best he could, and has done all he could do. However, every time, he reaches deep into his own inner strength and comes to realize that he can do better. He pushes himself to sacrifice to the utmost level to make up for his own mistakes and save Rose Red, his dear friend. It’s hard to realize that you actually haven’t done enough or tried hard enough, but Leo was brave enough to face these things about himself head on. Moonblood was definitely a chance for Leo to redeem himself and he did.
Leo’s inner struggles are also balanced with riveting external conflict that kept me on edge throughout the book. Leo faces many obstacles in Goldstone Wood. He faces the dangerous tiger Ragniprava, a unicorn sent to lure people in, and the formidable King Vahe in the dangerous and alluring Arpiar. King Vahe is the ultimate villain, a chilling man that aims to awaken the Dragon’s sleeping children on the Night of Moonblood so that they may wreak havoc on the world. He seemed so much more powerful than Leo, and I was constantly wondering who would come out on top.
I also loved how much world building was packed into this volume. I didn’t know that Goldstone Wood could get even larger, but in this book, Anne Elisabeth Stengl introduces us to new sections of Goldstone Wood. We are introduced to Hymlume’s Garden with its mysterious unicorns, and Arpiar, with its dangerous illusions, roses and goblins. Anne Elisabeth describes everything in such rich and lyrical writing that adds depth to the story and the world.
Not to mention the humor. In Moonblood, we get a closer look at the grand and noble hero, Eanrin, who is quite possibly the funniest character in the series. He is able to help Leo along, as well as Oeric, the goblin, and is always there to provide comic relief. He is such an endearing character because he is not only strong and heroic, but also kind and caring.
This is a book that you won’t want to miss. From the rich plot to the equally complex characters and world, Moonblood will amaze you with its timeless themes of sacrifice hidden behind a beautiful story. I give it a solid five butterflies.