Starflower ReviewBlurb: When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps the lovely Lady Gleamdren, Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission...and a race against his rival for Gleamdren's favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.
But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin suddenly finds his story entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren's rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her rescuer?
When I saw the cover for Starflower, I had to jump on this book. I loved that it featured what looked like a woman of color (reminding me of the actress Rosario Dawson) and the beautifully painted style just accentuated the focus of the character. I was a bit worried that this was the fourth in a series but I soon got over that as I dove into the wonderful worldbuilding and lyrical narrative of the story.
Starflower is a fast paced story filled with princess, dragons, bards and a beautiful fantasy setting with various worlds within its own world. Although the story seems like a simple one, it is anything but traditional. On the surface it is a tale of a princess with two suitors interested in her hand (one of which is our hero) and the dragon that kidnaps her. I don't want to give too much away because much of what made this a fun experience for me was going in knowing as little as possible. I will say that this is a great read suitable for both adult and young adult readers alike and for those looking for something a little different with their fantasy (say, a sprinkle of inspirational/Christian fiction) this will certainly be a treat. As mentioned before, I was not aware of Ms. Stengl's previous books in the series and starting with this one didn't make me feel as if I was missing anything. The one thing it may do is make you want to pick up the other books to read the backstory on the characters!
All in all, a fun book that was a pleasure to read. In a book world of increasing violence and sex (which is especially creeping up in modern fantasy fiction), I hope to see more fantasy books like this in the near future that puts the story and characters first and leaves the shock value at the door.
A recommended read!