Heartless Paperback – Jun 8 2010
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From the Back Cover
The Dragon King Seeks His Princess--
Who Dares to Stop Him?
Princess Una of Parumvir has come of age and will soon marry. She dreams of a charming prince, but when her first suitor arrives, he's not what she'd hoped. Prince Aethelbald of mysterious Farthestshore has travelled a great distance to prove his love--and also to bring hushed warnings of danger. A dragon is rumored to be on the hunt and blazing a path of terror.
Una, smitten instead with a more dashing prince, refuses Aethelbald's offer--and ignores his cautions with dire consequences. Soon the Dragon King himself is in Parumvir and Una, in giving her heart away unwisely, finds herself in his sights. Only those courageous enough to risk everything have a hope of fighting off this advancing evil.
A Tale of Goldstone Wood
Timeless Fantasy That Will Keep You Spellbound
About the Author
Anne Elisabeth Stengl 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. She is the author of Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, and Starflower. Heartless and Veiled Rose have each been honored with a Christy Award.
Top Customer Reviews
What Una doesn't know is that there is a huge plot underfoot to gain control of her father's kingdom, Parumvir, and that she is being manipulated to make wrong choices. The story takes a distinct turn into left field midway through when the Dragon appears and tosses Una into a dark whirlwind she couldn't have foreseen. Neither could the reader, honestly. In retrospect, there was foreshadowing, but I wasn't prepared for the completely different feel unfolding in the second half of the book.
Besides the characters and the specific plot, the author has created an interesting world. Adjoining Parumvir are the Goldstone Woods. Una and her brother are forbidden from crossing the bridge to discover the strange things that go on in these woods, though Una's pet cat, Monster, has come from there. Not only is he blind, but has no eyes at all, yet he seems attuned to the family and is just as agile and coordinated as any sighted cat. And oh the fun when the faerie folk cross the bridge and set up the Twelve-Year Market in Parumvir.
This is a novel in which the omniscient point-of-view worked for me most of the time. I believe any story would be strengthened by the use of specific viewpoint characters, but Stengl's style ebbs and flows with the story and does it justice.Read more ›
Anne Elisabeth Stengl casts an amazing spell her debut novel. I enjoy reading Young Adult Fiction, and this book did not disappoint. The fantasy and fairytale aspects of the story drew me in and kept me reading. I can't wait to read the rest of the Goldstone Wood series. These are going to be great!
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
What I liked about this book: My favorite aspect of this book is the metaphorical. This book could be taken from the Bible. One of the characters, Una's main suitor Prince Aethelbald, is undeniably representing Jesus. And the dragon represents satan. I have read representations of the gospel before, and nothing compared to this. It is essentially a love story between Jesus and you. The theology is bang on too. For example, the dragon (or satan) could not take Una until she had given up all hope and gave in to him. To me, this was one of the most monumental truths in the book. That satan cannot have us as the rightful bride of Christ, unless we lose faith and hope in God and give ourselves to him.
What I didn't like about this book: Una is naiive, her view of love and life is a bit cliche. As a married sceptic of the wonder and joy and perfection and romance that young people think love is sickens me.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In the Kingdom of Parumvir, we find that Princess Una has come of age. Suitors of noble status journey from kingdoms far and wide to pay their respects to her. But it is from the Unseen realm of Farthestshore that the `remarkably unremarkable' Prince Aethelbald arrives to declare his love and intentions toward Una. He is however rejected by the Princess. Furthermore, his warnings to her father King Fidel of a coming great and terrible danger are not heeded. There is yet another one who is also rejected by the lovely princess and one of those rejected nobility will become dangerously revengeful. Feeling as if her dream of being swept away in love by a prince was never going to happen, she was taken by surprise when an unexpected admirer, captured her heart completely. He asks her to trust him when he had to leave to help free his imprisoned people from the dragon. But can he truly be trusted, and will she continue to trust him when he doesn't return, and of what cost will this trust be to her and to those she loves?
Meanwhile the menacingly evil and fiery Dragon is on its way to Parumvir to claim Una, the `Beloved of my enemy', a name he'd called her in one of the terrible dreams she was plagued with after touching a dragon scale at the 12 Year Market. It is Una's kiss and heart that the Dragon seeks to claim. But her father the King, her brother Prince Felix, Oriana Palace and their city are also in the Dragon's sights to destroy!
I loved the fantastic and unique elements throughout, such as the 12 Year Market; Woodhaven - The Halflight Realm; and the blind cat that seems to see and is more than what he seems! This riveting and intricately crafted tale is also threaded with such inspiring allegories; you will enjoy the thrill of discovering the Christian parallels as you read this story and likely even discover more as I did when you ponder the possibilities once you've finished. Some of them were so beautifully expressed; it was emotional at times! As was the humble and beautifully significant expressions of the Prince's love.
Overall, Heartless is an entertaining and exciting story of God's love and sacrifice. There are also many thought-provoking messages of encouragement we can take from this inspired fantasy tale. Una is challenged to learn not to trust her feelings or that what she sees, but to trust what she knows to be true, and to listen and obey that still, quiet voice in her spirit. The message of trust is also eloquently explained. We feel Una's terrible despair at being betrayed, her isolation and loneliness when she becomes different, and her overwhelming fear. However as demonstrated in Heartless, it is when we place our unswerving faith in God in all circumstances that He will bring that pure peace that passes all understanding!
Genre: YA Fantasy (Classic Fairy Tale)
Fairytales are the timeless joy of the fantasy genre. Readers thrive off of them, whether it's retellings or variations of our favorite stories. What gets readers into more of a frenzy then the classic Fairytale? Why, an original tale that is clearly worthy of the classics. That is exactly what Heartless is.
The beauty of Stengl's writing style will please fantasy fans who hunger for the kind of quality found in Robin McKinley's books. For those who find McKinley's style too harsh and a bit hard to sink into, Stengl's softer style will be a relief. The landscapes just flow up majestically and the emotions that consume the reader make the characters feel real. The story and plot sweeps across the page with a timeless grace.
Una is definitely a classic fairytale Princess. She needs to be rescued, and there are enough warnings given to her before hand that she shouldn't have fallen victim. Then again--that's life--everyone has bitten and choked on the apple at some point. Una's downfall is of the heart, a modern and historic story of how someone can give their heart to the wrong person. In Una's case it's a terrible price she pays for the nativity of her emotions. Unlike the classic princess, Una is strong and willful. She has enough spirit to make up her own mind, and in the end find redemption--even learning from her mistakes. (Of course Prince Charming still get to ride in and save the day.)
Dragons never quite get the attention they deserve in most fairytales. In Heartless the Dragon(s) finally get that time to shine--even if they are quite the villains. Anne has created a dragon mythology that sent my head spinning into giddiness. They're like vampires in the aspect that they must be invited into a dwelling, and that they can turn other humans into dragons. It's breath taking, and terrifying, all at the same time. Heartless is such a tease as it reveals enough to get you there, but enough is left out to keep you crawling after the next book!
This is a win-win for Fairytale lovers! Dragon lovers will be smitten by the new mythology of the dragon. Princess Una will frustrate readers with the paroles of love, and have readers rooting for her (or wanting to smack her upside the head). This book deals with the modern day heartbreak on a grander scale only a Fairytale can exploit. The ending is just as practical and sweet as a Happily Ever After should be, so HEA readers should feel content. Keep an eye out for more by this author as there's more world--and dragons--to enchant readers.
Sexual Content: Really clean. A few kissing scenes, some blushing, and some very vague sexual humor. Definitely good for the kiddies.
Rating: 4/5- Great! Really enjoyed it.
The story itself was pretty good, at least the part that I read. We've got weird-looking creatures, who come from an ancient and mysterious forest. An even mysterious bridge no one may cross... It really piqued my interest! Unfortunately Una ruined everything... She's snobbish, haughty, conceited, arrogant, spoiled.... The title of this book is a very good description of her personality: heartless! Furthermore, when someone tries to help her, mostly prince Oeric who can feel something is wrong with her, she just insults him and runs him down. Just because he's not pretty enough for her taste. Who cares how he looks like? There's something wrong with you and you need help! This was just an example of Una's behavior. Can you imagine why I quit?
Conclusion: Did Not Finish. I've tried so many times to read this book, but stranded after a couple of pages. Una is too vain, conceited, haughty, spoiled, etc... to really enjoy and to read the story. The story on its own was engaging, but because of Una and her behaviour spoiled. What a shame!
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