Heartless by Anne Stengl


“ ‘Have you ever dreamed of one thing for so long, wanted nothing more than to have that dream fulfilled, only to find out that maybe it wasn’t what you actually wanted all along?’

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He juggled four stones lightly. ‘I believe that’s called growing up.’ ”


Princess Una of Parumvir has come of age and will soon be married. She dreams of a handsome and charming prince, but when the first suitor arrives, she finds him stodgy and boring. Prince Aethelbald from the mysterious land of Farthestshore has traveled far to prove his love–and to bring hushed warnings of danger. A dragon is rumored to be approaching Parumvir.

Una, smitten instead with a more dashing prince, refuses Aethelbald’s offer–and ignores his warnings. Soon the Dragon King himself is in Parumvir, and Una, in giving her heart away unwisely, finds herself in grave danger. Only those courageous enough to risk everything have a hope of fighting off this advancing evil.–summary found on Goodreads

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It’s been a long time since I’ve read such a beautiful book. The gorgeously painted descriptions, the magical, fantastic world-building, the ethereal beauty, and heavenly theme… it was wonderful.

I normally don’t like allegories, but this series is an exception, along with the Chronicles of Narnia and Chuck Black’s books. This new series promises to take its place securely among both as one of my new favorites.
 Una, poor dear Una, only wanted to have the perfect fairytale romance. Unfortunately, her dreams of happily ever after lead to discontent and unhappiness. In search of true love and fulfillment, she dashes off on her own adventure. Will she fulfill her heart’s longing in the end? The characters are very real, and well-drawn-so much so, you might wonder whether the thought you just had been a quote from the book or a quote from your heart. I loved how much I was able to connect with Una and experience with her all the joy and pain her romantic escapades brought her.
Another aspect of Heartless I enjoyed was the world it was set in. I love, love, loved the faerie world, and all the beautiful, otherworldly characters and themes. Prince Aethelbald, the Twelve-Year Market, and all the other fun surprises the author wove in were a delight to read. If you were enchanted by Narnia and enthralled by Middle-Earth, then you must read these books simply to experience the magic and wonder of Goldstone Woods.
The characters were great, the setting out-of-this-world (okay, sorry for the pun), but my favorite part of the book? True love. THIS is how love should be depicted in romances. Not the fluffy, I-like-you-and-you-like-me sort of romance, or the sizzle and steam junk of drug-store novels, but true love. The kind of love in which the hero might sacrifice everything, in order that heroine may live with her beloved… even if it isn’t him. Or the kind of love that would let the hero sacrifice himself to save others, even if those others are the ones putting him to death. Heartless depicts this kind of love perfectly. Even though I am not a super-emotional person, Heartless still had me tearing up because of the beauty and purity that was depicted in the romance. True love is so often misrepresented in today’s culture, so it was refreshing to see it depicted to accurately here.
All in all, I am giving Heartless five stars out of five for beauty, magic, and the redemptive power of true love.

The only caution I would leave with readers is that those who are sensitive (and/or younger readers) might want to wait to read this one, as the antagonists are very dark and evil, and very much nightmare-material. Overall Rating: Five Glowing Stars

Content Rating:
Note: content in parentheses may contain minor spoilers.
Violence/Graphic: 4/10  (mostly because of the darkness of the Dragon and his kin)
Sexual Content: 1/10  (one kiss-romance in this book was very pure and represented very well)
Language: 1/10  (characters say “Dragon’s teeth!” as a strong phrase and other similar phrases)Verdict: I LOVE this book! I would recommend it for 11-12 on up- unless you’re a sensitive reader. Then I would recommend 14 on up.
Enter this giveaway for a chance to win the complete Tales of Goldstone Woods series, the Seventh World trilogy, and a Kindle Fire! Giveaway compliments of Rachel Starr Thomson.

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