#2: Cyndere's Midnight: The Blue Strand#2: Cyndere's Midnight: The Blue Strand
Jeffrey Overstreet
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In Cyndere's Midnight, the power of Auralia's colors brings together a bloodthirsty beastman and a compassionate widow in a most unlikely relationship. Jordam is one of four ferocious brothers from the clan of cursed "beastmen." But he is unique -- the glory of Auralia's colors,revealed in the book by the same title, has enchanted him, slowing his vicious appetite and awakening his conscience. When Jordam finds a woman weeping in the woods, his healing continues. Beside a mysterious well, seemingly the source of some of Auralia's colors, this beast and beauty form a cautious bond. Cyndere, heiress to one of the great houses, has always hoped to help the violent Cent Regus beastmen. To honor her husband, who shared that hope, she risks her life and reputation to reach out to Jordam. Jordam, too, will be tested. He will either be overcome by the dark impulse of the "beastmen curse", or he will stand against his brothers to defend House Abascar's survivors from a deadly assault. The novel picks up where Auralia's Colors left off and reveals more of the history and culture of the entire Expanse, a land which branched off into four kingdoms centuries before.

 Cyndere's Midnight Discussion Questions: Jeffrey Overstreet

1.      Cyndere is the heiress to House Bel Amica. But she's not looking forward to inheriting the throne of her mother, Queen Thesera. Why? What are her passions, and why does she feel so lonely in House Bel Amica?


2.      What attracted Cyndere to Deuneroi?


3.      Jordam the beastman and his three brothers—Mordafey, Goreth, and Djorn—are all murderous savages. But they're different from each other. What are the distinguishing characteristics of each brother? What are their personalities, strengths, and weaknesses?



4.      In Cyndere's Midnight, we catch fleeting glimpses of House Bel Amica. How do you think Bel Amican culture differs from that of House Abascar in Auralia's Colors?



5.      What do the followers of moon-spirits believe? What is it about moon-spirit worship that appeals to people? How does Ryllion's belief in the moon-spirits affect his behavior? Does moon-spirit worship resemble anything in our world? What kinds of things in our world encourage us to focus upon our own desires and drive us to become competitive and self-centered?



6.      When we encounter the ale boy again, he is living a dangerous life. How has he changed since we first met him in Auralia's Colors? What enables him to live so boldly, and save so many people from peril?



7.      How did Jordam change during his first encounters with Auralia in her caves? Why do you suppose the beauty of Auralia's colors affected him so profoundly? What are the most important lessons he learns in this story? What changes in his thinking and behavior?



8.      Describe the friendship of Cyndere and Emeriene. Is it a healthy friendship?


9.      The beastmen are addicted to the power-enhancing substance called Essence. They seem unable to resist it. What are some things in our own lives that people pursue for certain benefits, only to become enslaved to them? Is there anything in your own life that has a strong hold on you, so that you cannot do without it?



10.     Cyndere makes a rash decision to run away from Tilianpurth. What drives her to this? Why does she behave so recklessly? Does Emeriene have a right to be upset with her?



11.     What does Cyndere mean when she says that the heart has "only one hand"?


12.     Describe the turning point in Jordam's life. What is the most important moment of decision in this story? Why does he make that decision?



13.     What does Cal-raven learn from his fight with Jordam?


14.     What understanding does Cyndere gain in her visit to Auralia's caves? Do we learn anything new about Auralia from Cyndere's experience in the caves?



15.     Consider these elements of Cyndere's Midnight, and discuss if they have any particular relevance to the themes of the story: Bel Amican mirrors; the tetherwings; the fallen tree in the glen; the water from the well.



16.     Cyndere's Midnight opens with a flashback to an afternoon when Auralia painted the stones of a mysterious well. Auralia is seized with a feeling of frustration. What frustrates her? Was she wasting her time, or was there real value in her work, and why?



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