A copy of this book was provided to me by Bethamy House Publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
Dragonwitch is the 5th book in the Tales of the Goldstone Wood series. It's the first book I've read of the series. Though I normally don't jump in a series in the middle, I was told it would be OK. Thing is, it was difficult. Very difficult. The start of the book we find Alistair, earl and soon-to-be-king. There is also the Chronicler, who is the only librarian and who is teaching (or trying to) Alistair to read. He's a dwarf, a bitter dwarf of a man. Then we meet Leta, daughter of a king in a distant shore come to be the bride of the future king of Gaheris. Each of these characters takes a turn narrating. Also, a cat. And a dragon. And someone else who is a woman (?) all these different narrators and changes in story almost kept me from finishing this book. It was really hard. When did I finally feel like I wasn't being jerked around and was keeping up with what was happening? 40% in. Yeah, it took awhile. But, like I said, this was because I didn't know the world or characters or anything (my fault, I think).
What did keep me reading for the first half and made me very happy I kept reading for the last half was the story itself. It was an intricately woven tale of fairies, mortals, brothers, cousins, dragons, hatred, and courage. All were elements that make a good fantasy story great. The "evil" characters weren't truly evil, they were just responding to heartbreak and disappointment. The imagery was amazing. I really felt like I was watching a movie. A good movie, at that!
I don't want to give too much away, especially because I kept guessing where the story would go and definitely had a huge *gasp* moment regarding Mouse. Her and Leta were my favorite characters I think. I'm definitely going to be reading more of this series. All 5 of the books prior? Eh, I don't know. But I want to read another book and find out more about this world. And if a fantasy novel leaves me feeling this way, it was successful in my eyes.
I recommend this book for lovers of fantasy. I recommend you read at least 1 book in the series FIRST. If you are a first time reader (like I was) then I suggest you give yourself plenty of time to digest this book. It's not impossible to understand, but all the names, characters, places get overwhelming confusing unless you can really take your time and digest the story slowly.