Sunday, November 6, 2011
Couldn't Stay Awake - Review of Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
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. Leo, a lonely lad, befriends Rose Red, and together they begin hunting for the Mountain Monster which, rumor says, stalks these lands. But the hunt which began as a game holds greater risk than Leo supposes. Rose Red can scarcely guess at the consequences should he insist on continuing his search. Dare she trust him with her secret? Or tell him what dwells at the top of the mountain in the cave only she can find? Above all, when Leo asks Rose Red to leave the mountain and follow him to the low country, dare she agree and risk the wrath of a Monster that is all too real?
I am a huge fan of fantasy. I've read things from Tolkien, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, to CS Lewis and Kathy Tyers. When I first saw this book, I was intrigued by the back cover summary as well as by the beautiful cover. As I started to read it, I grew more and more disappointed and frustrated. Maybe it's because this is book two in a series and I hadn't read the first one. Maybe it's because I couldn't get a good sense of what was really going on. I don't know. I just know that I struggled to read and to complete the book. I would read a couple of pages and then promptly fall asleep - even when I wasn't tired. It got to the point that I took the book with me to work to read on my lunch breaks, and that did help me to finish it.
I really liked Rose Red's character. She was fun and a free spirit. But she was in bondage and felt that her secret was dangerous. Prince Leo, I found him to be arrogant and rather spoiled. It seemed to me that he was determined to find this monster no matter the cost to him, Rose Red, or to his kingdom. I admit that the monster is supposed to show our own sinful natures and that each person must come to the recognition that they have a sinful nature. But I found it to be very disjointed in the plot.
I will give the author credit. She took her time in developing the characters and the story. Though she was a bit too descriptive and wordy for my tastes, she did a good job in writing her book.
As much as I adore fantasy novels and know how hard it is to find quality fantasy novels in the Christian fiction market, I'm sorry to say that I will not be reading anything else that Anne Elisabeth Stengl writes because I honestly did not like the book. Typically if I don't like a book by about the 4th or 5th chapter, I won't finish it. But I did force myself to finish the book so that I could leave an honest review.
I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to like the book. My thoughts and opinions are my own.