Golden Daughter by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Review)



Masayi Sairu was raised to be dainty, delicate, demure . . . and deadly. She is one of the emperor’s Golden Daughters, as much a legend as she is a commodity. One day, Sairu will be contracted in marriage to a patron, whom she will secretly guard for the rest of her life.

But when she learns that a sacred Dream Walker of the temple seeks the protection of Golden Daughter, Sairu forgoes marriage in favor of this role. Her skills are stretched to the limit, for assassins hunt in the shadows, and phantoms haunt in dreams. With only a mysterious Faerie cat and a handsome slave—possessed of his own strange abilities—to help her, can Sairu shield her new mistress from evils she can neither see nor touch?

For the Dragon is building an army of fire, and soon the heavens will burn.

Golden Daughter is the latest (and the last for a long time) novel in the painfully underrated Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

Tales of Goldstone Wood is a Christian anthology series where every book is written to stand on its own but they all interweave to form a larger story. I’m sure you could pick up Golden Daughter with no previous knowledge of the series, but reading the other 6 books first would transform your reading experience. I highly recommend you read the books in the order they were published.

Most of the characters in Golden Daughter are great new additions to the series. All of them are complex and are suffering in some way. Some find healing and some don’t. There’s a lot of ambiguity around the characters in the beginning; I wasn’t sure who was good and who was evil, and some characters that I disliked at first ended up being likeable by the end. Eanrin, a character from the rest of the series, is back and as enjoyable as ever.

The main romance felt a little rushed. They were acting like they were madly in love with each other when they hadn’t really known each other that long. I still loved them as a couple though but would have enjoyed reading more about the falling in love process. But a lot is always happening, so I understand why there wasn’t more.

The plot was intricate with lots of players so I wasn’t sure who to trust or root for, but I loved that about Golden Daughter. If you don’t mind being slightly confused and have patience for slow developments and reveals, this is the book for you. Golden Daughter can be gruesome at times. There’s a strong sense of dread leading up to the ending, but there’s still a lot of humor and hope.

Like all of Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s books, Golden Daughter gave me all the feels: joy, dread, sadness, hope, etc. It marks the end of a significant era in the series while also leaving the door open for more tales.

Rating: 4.5/5


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