This was a very different genre for me. I think it was very well written but this was Book 4 in the series. I wish I had begun at Book 1. It was a little hard for me to get into the story and follow the characters. I think this is a book my boys will simply love though.
I've loved the Auralia Thread series since the beginning, and this finale did not disappoint.
1. The prose is as beautiful as the other books in the series, which is, to say, literary in the best sense of the word.
2. There are a lot of characters because it ties three previous books together. Also a list of them, which is helpful, being as it had been too long since I'd read Book 3.
3. This is NOT a stand-alone book. It will confuse the heck out of you if you attempt to read it without the other books.
4. I found the size of the font difficult to read, especially as large sections were in italics. This made me wish I'd bought the Kindle version rather than the paper version, but I needed the paper to complete my set.
5. If you like literary fiction AND fantasy, you owe yourself the opportunity to read the entire series, in order: Auralia's Colors, Cyndere's Midnight, Raven's Ladder, and now, The Ale Boy's Feast. You won't be disappointed. Take the time to savor it.
The characters from book three, Cyndere's Midnight, continue along their way. We follow many different groups of characters, most importantly: Cal-raven and the ale boy. King Cal-raven, having escaped Cent Regus, eventually meets up with some companions and sets off to find the New Abascar. The ale boy attempts to lead a group of former captives toward a safe location. Deathweed and visorclaws are growing throughout the land and killing many.
Mr. Overstreet writes beautifully. I tend to favor books that follow one or two main characters, and his book follows many, though they are all wonderful, deep, realistic, fun, yet flawed characters. It took me a while to remember who everyone was and where they were and why. If I had read these books one after another, this wouldn't have been an issue. But it had been a while, so I had a hard time following so many characters and caring about what happened to them all.
The storyworld is amazing and creative and beautiful. I love it. And I like the questions Overstreet posed about creation and a creator, though I admit I was painfully seeking out the Christian allegory the whole time. Turn out this isn't that kind of series.
A Jeffrey Overstreet book is not one to read through in a day. It is one to read slowly and thoughtfully. It is not a fast-paced adventure but a literary journey. I was happy to discover some very interesting answers in this final volume, some of which I guessed, some of which totally surprised me. But as to the ending_ I'm a happy ending girl. And while this ending wasn't necessarily unhappy, if was murky. I couldn't quite tell what happened. So I went back and re-read the last few chapters again, thinking I somehow missed something major. Alas, no. So I had to take my best guess as to what happened. And it left me feeling slightly disgruntled, like I couldn't understand what the author was trying to say. So I would have liked a little more resolution. Even if one minor character said, "Well, I guess this is what happened," I would have felt better. My two cents.
When I agreed to review this book, I didn't realize that it was the last book in a seriesâ€”a series of which I have not read the first three. As a result, I don't have much to say about the plot, because it didn't make much sense to me (I am definitely looking forward to finding and reading the first three, though!).
What did stand out to me about this book was the beautiful, vivid, multi-layered descriptions the author used to bring the story to life.
In a recent discussion with a friend, I heard the complaint that the vast majority of fantasy novels contain almost no animals except for the horses necessary for the plot, a few dogs and cats, perhaps, many rats, and that's all. Not the case with this book!
From vawns to gorrels and a host of unusual creatures in between, The Ale Boy's Feast is full of colorful, fascinating, and sometimes unnerving creatures of all shapes and sizes.
The scene settings were another aspect of the story that intrigued me. From desolate mountains to ruined cities and underground rivers, the story is an ever-changing journey into realms the likes of which you've never seen before. I have no idea how Jeffrey Overstreet does itâ€”which, for me as a writer, is infuriatingâ€”but he leaves you feeling like you've been there, seen it, felt it, taken part in it.
The Ale Boy's Feast is well worth reading, if for no other reason than just to experience the vivid and mysterious fantasy world that Jeffrey Overstreet has created in The Expanse.
I received this book free of charge from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my review. A favorable review is not required; Waterbrook is committed to gathering honest opinions about the books they publish.
I honestly wasn't sure about this book when I requested it. And I was even more unsure of it once I started reading it. But then I had to take a mental step back. This is the fourth book in a series about Auralia's colors. Auralia has brought colors into a normally drab world. This series tells what happens once the colors are introduced. Reading this as a stand-alone book is definitely not a recommendation.
Aside from the fact that I have only read The Ale Boy's Feast and don't understand the rest of the storyline, the author does an excellent job creating an atmosphere for his story. You can actually see the characters Jeffery Overstreet has created. He has a gift for the imaginary. There are creatures in this book that I would have never even dreamed of, much less been able to describe.
Like anxious road-sweepers, dust columns whirled between the purple dunes, brushing bones, branches, and snakeskins aside in their hurry. The muskgrazers, shaggy as haystacks, ignored the whirlwinds. They hung their hairy heads and thrust curly, sinuous tongues into the grit, probing for burrowbirds and redthislte bulbs. After the dust phantoms passed, the cattle shook clouds of debris from their golden hair.
You can actually see the muskgrazers out there, standing in the middle of a dust storm. The entire book is filled with descriptive phrases to give you a feeling that you are there, that you are a participant in the story.
In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.