In particular, we are looking at his second novel, CYNDERE’S MIDNIGHT, the blue strand of the Auralia Thread.
To begin with, I really want you take a close look at the incredible cover of this book.
Some books have great covers and poor writing. Here, the artistry of the cover matches the quality of the authorship.
The First Book
I reviewed the first book of this series, Auralia’s Colors, last year as part of the tour, and if you are not familiar with the series or that book, please take a look at these posts:
Not only have these posts proved popular on my blog, but the first one is MY MOST POPULAR book review of all time—by almost double the number of hits than its nearest competitor! If that is any indication of the books popularity and sales, then Jeffrey is well on his way to making a permanent place for himself in the halls of great Christian fantasy authors.
(Click the following link to keep reading — there’s lots more below!)
At first I thought this book would be a retelling of the Cinderella story, considering the title, but it turns out to be more of a Beauty and the Beast—although nothing like you’re grandmother’s version!
Not only does Jeffrey tell us this tale with fresh eyes, but he weaves it perfectly into his previous book and also sets up the next.
Jordam is a man turned into a cursed beast by the liquid, addicting, Essence. He must somehow break free of his past, and his three ferocious brothers and find Auralia’s colors again. These colors are the only thing that seems to awaken his conscience.
And in the throes of his struggles he encounters Cyndere, the suicidal heiress to the Bel Amican throne. Together they must both find a way out of their nightmares and into the fresh light of Auralia’s colors and the life-giving water of a mysterious well.
Secrets. Betrayal. Murder. And the fate of House Abascar, House Bel Amica and the entire Expanse hangs in the balance.
I think this book will DEFINITELY appeal to anyone who loves fantasy—not just Christians. The spiritual themes are subtle enough that this would make a great gift for non-Christian friends (starting out, of course, with Auralia’s Colors).
But even those who are not into “fantasy” books would also enjoy this. Who hasn’t ready fairytales as a kid, or enjoyed a good Disney retelling? These books will strike a chord with anyone.
One warning: the books are for mature teens on up due to some very minor adult content.
Jeffrey Overstreet lives in Shoreline, Washington with his wife, Anne.
He is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response, posts perspectives on art and entertainment at LookingCloser.org, and his reviews are published in ChristianityTodayMovies.com and Paste.
His movie-going adventures are chronicled in his award-winning book, Through a Screen Darkly.
There is A LOT to like in this novel:
- Great Characterization – not only were the characters believable, but sometimes they acted differently than I expected until I thought about it and realized how true they were to their circumstances.
- Beautiful Descriptions – while not as many as in Auralia’s Colors due to the Jordam being one of the primary characters of the book, there are still enough of these threaded through brighten up your day.
- Touching Scenes – Lets just say I teared up here and there through the book. Even laughed, especially at the plight of the Ale Boy! (my favorite character)
- Original Plot – Everything feels new here, nothing cliche. Not only that, but you will likely not find another book that gets as effectively into the head of the “evil side” as this one does.
- The Bad Guys – Whereas the last book only hinted at them, here you are confronted fully with the evil that infects the Expanse. Prepare to be horrified!
- Spiritual Themes – You will begin to look deeply into your own heart as you see Jordam struggle with his addiction to the Essence.
Really—there’s almost nothing here to complain about! Well … maybe Ryllion’s motivations could have been a little stronger, but I guess Pretor Xa’s moon-spirits are just creepy enough to cover him there.
If you like the beautiful descriptions, then you’ll like the first book better. If you like action more, then the second book will grab you. But both books have both, and the two really complement one another.
The Ale Boy
And how could I not write a bit about the Ale Boy! Now known as Rescue because of his do-gooder job of saving the roaming remnant of the Expanse and bringing them to safety, he is absolutely wonderful to read about.
Not only does he end up in one scrape after another, but he rides a vawn (a fast plant-eating lizard) named Rumpa. If they ever make a movie out of these books, and I think they should, then Rumpa will be one of the stars of the show.
The FANTASTIC Elements
Yes, this book has enough strange creatures to make the Star Wars bar-scene look tame. From bizarre bird like creatures, pig-snouted beastmen, cursed bulls, and the spider like Sopper Crone, you will be amazed, repulsed, and fascinated.
Like I said above, if this book gets made into a movie, then the CGI guys will have their work cut out for them!
My Interview With Jeffrey Overstreet
If you haven’t already done so, please read my personal interview with Jeffrey Overstreet about his books, his writing, and his inspirations!
My Interview With Jordam, The Beastman
And for a “tongue in furry cheek” read, you can go to my interview with Jordam, The Beastman.
Here are the other participants to the CSFF Blog Tour who are also reviewing Cyndere’s Midnight: