June 07, 2011

Book Review – Heartless

Heartless-Anne-Elisabeth-Stengl-Pap11-medBook Description:

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 also 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.




As most of my book reviews and blog posts can attest to, I am huge fan of Christian fantasy so I’ve been looking forward to reading Heartless for a long time. At last I had a chance to get it and read it.


When I first started reading, Heartless didn’t grab me like some books. I had a difficult time liking Una. She’s pretty much a spoiled, whiny princess, which is actually great for the beginning of a book because it sets up for a lot of great character growth, but I need to feel something for the character at the start despite their flaws so I want to see the growth. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t like her as I would have liked. However, I did have compassion for her by the end.


For the first half of the book, the one thing that kept me interested was Prince Aethelbald. I adored him. I hated the name (lol), but I think that was kind of the point, that and his completely ordinary looks. I wasn’t drawn to him for any outward reasons, but because of his character. I couldn’t wait to keep reading about him. He was mysterious, yet kind and compassionate. He was the perfect illustration of true, Christ-like love. That was one of the best parts of this book, the sweet, pure romance. It was very well done.


Heartless didn’t turn out as I was expecting at all. It was a little darker and more intense than I thought it would be, but I like intense stories. I wasn’t sure about the whole fantasy world at first. Despite being a huge fan of fantasy, I’m not big on worlds with fairies and such (being more of a fan of truer to life realms like Middle-earth), but by the end I didn’t think about it so much.


To sum it all up, I read 310 of the 363 pages yesterday afternoon and evening, and I would have finished if I hadn’t needed to get to bed in preparation for work in the morning. I don’t read any book that fast if it doesn’t capture my attention. I even found myself thinking about it often while I was at work. So despite an uncertain beginning, I found I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and it certainly sparked my imagination. I highly recommend it to readers of Christian fantasy and look forward to reading the next in the series.


To find out more about Anne Elisabeth Stengl and her books, you can visit her blog: http://anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com/