The Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl have quickly become some of my all-time favorite books in the past couple of years. I own many of them and have reviewed almost all of them (you can find the links on my Recommended Reads page). I was saddened to hear recently that she is temporarily (hopefully only temporarily) discontinuing the series and beginning a new authoring journey under a different pen-name. However, the books that are out remain and will continue to be some of the most enjoyable fantasy I have stumbled upon. Each book is better than the last, and Draven’s Light did not disappoint.
Though it is only a novella, Draven’s Light is a powerful story that explores the themes of courage and cowardice, love and self-sacrifice, standing up for what is right even when you’re the only one, darkness versus light, and many many more.
Like her other novella, Goddess Tithe, this story does not follow any of the main characters that we’ve come to know and love in the rest of the Goldstone Wood Saga, but rather explores some side-characters whose stories have been hinted at but not completely revealed. However, despite the lack of appearance by Eanrin or Imraldera, this little story packs a powerful punch. Written in the style of a story-within-a-story (one of my favorite story-telling devices), we meet a young girl who is tasked with taking water up to the two men who are building a large structure on the hill above her village. She is a bit scared of them, but she takes the water up and meets Akilun, who is carving a statue from a tree. When he notes her interest, he begins to tell her the story of the man whose likeness he is carving. The girl returns day after day, spellbound by the story of Draven, “The Coward.”
I could hardly bear to put this book down each night when I had reached the end of my allotted reading time. I sped through it swiftly, devouring the story from its pages. And in spite of the fact that I did guess the big surprise twist before it was revealed, that did not detract at all from my enjoyment of this wonderful story.
I would unreservedly recommend this and any other story in the Tales of Goldstone Wood. I anxiously hope for the day that it continues once more, but at least there are quite a few stories already written in this world to keep me entertained until then.
Five Dragon Eggs: