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|Title: #2: Cyndere's Midnight: The Blue Strand|
By: Jeffrey Overstreet
Number of Pages: 336
Publication Date: 2008
|Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.19 (inches)|
Weight: 16 ounces
Series: Auralia Thread
Stock No: WW072538
Jordam is one of four ferocious brothers from the clan of cursed beastmen. But he is unique: The glory of Auralias colors has enchanted him, awakening a noble conscience that clashes with his vicious appetites.
Cyndere, heiress to a great ruling house, and her husband Deuneroi share a dream of helping the beastmen. But when Deuneroi is killed by the very people he sought to help, Cyndere risks her life and reputation to reach out to Jordam. Beside a mysterious well--an apparent source of Auralias colors--a beauty and a beast form a cautious bond. Will Jordam be overcome by the dark impulse of his curse, or stand against his brothers to defend House Abascars survivors from a deadly assault?
To achieve her late husband's goal of releasing the beastmen of the curse put upon them, Cyndere sets out first to heal Jordam and then to free all beastmen from their addiction to "Essence" and their murderous natures. Secondary characters begin to appear in the plot at this time, such as a young lad known only as Ale Boy, who seems to have benefited from Auralias power and guidance. There also is Ryllion, a spurned knight looking to find favor in Queen Thesera's eyes by performing underhanded deeds with the assistance of a dark and sinister Seer named Prater Xa.
Jeffery Overstreet's flowing diction and lovely prose make it difficult to tear away from the story. He creates a unique world in beautiful ways. Unfortunately, he has a tendency to get a bit too flowery with his passages at times, which slows the pace of the book and delays the plot action. Additionally, because there is a lack of adequate back story for some of the characters, the readers are confused at times by their actions, as in the case of Ryllion, who first seems to be a noble and gentile knight, only later to be shown to be deceitful. Furthermore, Overstreet is very effective at making small scenes vivid and three-dimensional, but in the large scale scenes he fails to give details and images that make the full canvas come alive.
One weakness the book has is in its author's effort to insert some Christian symbolism. He tries to make messages related to service, sacrifice, humility, and grace very obvious, but in order to do so, he adds a lot of drawn-out scenes that would have improved the book if they had been cut. Most readers will prefer to stick to the core of the story and maintain momentum. Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien, who also likes to insert long symbolic scenes, will not be bothered by these purposefully Christianized sections.
Overall, this is a good story with realistic characters and a message of survival, faith, loyalty, and optimism. Nan Johnson, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
“Overstreet paints vividly imagined scenes and develops his characters and story with thought-provoking insights into human motivations.”
“[Overstreet weaves] a story filled with an intriguing plot; vivid characters; and, most importantly, imagination.”
“Overstreet writes gorgeous and gritty fantasy that leaves us wanting more.”
–Youth Worker Journal