Monday, December 26, 2011

Review: Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Tales of Goldstone Wood #2
Genre: YA Fantasy Fiction
Pages: 384
Publication Date: July 2011
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: This book was provided for review through the Bethany House Book Reviewers program (for more information on my reviews, please view my disclosure policy).
Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Book Description (from the publisher):
A Monster Prowls the Mountains of Southlands
Rose Red trusts no one with her secret. She hides in the forest, her face veiled in rags, shunning the company of all save her old father and her nanny goat. Her life is bleak and lonely.
Until she meets a privileged young man sent to spend his summer in the mountains. Headstrong young Leo startles everyone by befriending Rose Red, and together they begin searching for the monster rumored to be stalking these lands.
But the hunt, which began as a game, holds greater risk than either imagines. Soon both are forced to test their trust in each other as a far more terrifying scourge puts their entire land at risk.

Veiled Rose begins unassumingly enough, with little magic in evidence as young Leo explores the mountains above Hill House, where he has been sent for the summer. He'd heard rumors of a monster in the mountains, but all he has found is a little girl wearing layers of veils, named Rose Red. The two become friends, and even though he leaves for several years, their bond remains when he returns to Hill House several years later. When he learns that her father has died, he asks her to return with him to his home so he can make sure she is taken care of. But Rose Red is clearly hiding a secret, and the magical elements that had previously seemed limited to dreams build up to a crescendo with the arrival of a dragon on Leo's doorstep. What follows is a quest by Leo to free Southlands of the dragon and by Rose Red to free Leo's betrothed from the clutches of the dragon.

I liked this book, though I feel like I didn't truly understand what was going on and why certain characters were being manipulated by certain beings through dreams. It is the second book in a series, and I wonder whether I would have had a better grasp on the events and the characters if I had read the first book. Even several weeks after finishing this book and trying to digest it well enough for a review, I still think I don't completely understand what was going on. I'm definitely not entirely clear on some of the details, and I'm hoping that maybe that will be cleared up by reading the other books in the series. So even though I had moments of confusion, I liked this story well enough that I'm willing to continue with the series. I'm especially curious about where the relationship between Leo and Rose Red will lead after Leo gets married, and what will happen when the dragon returns.

Although this book is published by Bethany House, which is known for Christian fiction, the religious aspects of this story are allegorical. I think even readers who dislike Christian fiction would not find the subtle nature of the Christian allegory in this tale to be off-putting, though I can only speak for this book in the series. I'll have to read the other books to see if this holds true for the rest of the series.

Related Linkage:
Reading Challenges: 2nds Challenge, Speculative Fiction Challenge


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