Personally, I strongly suggest reading this series in order. Even though Stengl does jump around in time a bit, giving different perspectives and stories from different angles at parallel times, it can get super confusing if it’s not in order.
Case in point: I was introduced to this series with book two, Veiled Rose. Then I read book one, Heartless. Then, somehow, I totally missed book three (until now) and read book four Starflower and book five Dragonwitch (shockingly!) in order. Now I’ve read Moonblood, book three, before I’ll be reading the next book, number six, Shadow Hand.
Yeah, I’ve been jumping all over the place. It just sort of happened.
I do not recommend you follow my example.
Anywho, a short synopsis of Moonblood:
Prince Lionheart, having returned to his kingdom immediately after his kingdom had suffered a long, terrifying occupation of a Dragon, is in desperate need of regaining his people’s trust.
Having not suffered with them, they don’t feel he understands the horrors they endured. And without any proof of the Prince fighting the Dragon, or doing anything to save them, their suspicions turn dark – and their anger focuses on Rose Red.
A close friend from childhood, Prince Lionheart has given Rose Red a place in his palace as a chambermaid for many years. Her veil covers her ugliness – but there was a time when her grotesque goblin face was revealed – and no one has forgotten it.
In disbelief that he’d want to keep such a horror in his home, the people decide that Rose Red must have bewitched him. In order to win back the approval of his people – Prince Lionheart banishes her.
His faithful servant. His only true friend.
Not long after, Prince Lionheart becomes determined to find her again. He plunges into the mysterious, treacherous Goldstone Wood to search for Rose Red – only to find himself in a maze of strange other worlds and crossing paths with others searching for the same goblin girl.
Will Lionheart finally find the courage he has lacked for so long? Or will his banishment of Rose Red lead to a destruction to more than he ever expected?
Well, as I said earlier, I have really jumped around in this series.
Each book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood are like puzzle pieces fitting plots intricately together to form one massive, complex, epic story. Making the fact that I’ve bounced around out of order all the worse.
Yet it is a demonstration of Stengl’s talent that I still manage to feel the strong emotions, the anguishing mistakes, the love and deceit that perforate each page. She creates worlds that are surreal, creative and sprawling.
Due to the intricacy and my own jumbled order I’ve read the books in, I admit I often got very confused. I couldn’t remember necessary details, names, and people and overall felt that there would be a much better impact if I were to read each book in quick succession, in order.
However, Moonblood is even still a powerful, sweeping fantasy novel that promises more and leaves oh-so-many open ends.
I want more – and happily there seems to be more coming!
Definitely an original, rare accomplishment in fantasy literature today – an authentic, lyrical fairy-tale vibe with unfamiliar stories!!!