Monday, August 23, 2010

Cyndere’s Midnight Review (And Some REALLY Exciting News!)

Well, it's been awhile since I've actually sat down to do a book review, and now school is starting up again tomorrow. I'm not sure exactly how I feel about that, considering summer seems to have only been two weeks long. But perhaps this semester will be easier than the ones previous and I'll really be able to concentrate on my book. Remember how my goal for this year was to see it on an editor's desk before 2011? (If not, read my bio.) Well, the all exciting news is that I have now reached my goal!!! I won't say which publisher it is (not until I know for sure whether or not they will actually publish me), but I received a request in the mail the other day asking me to send my full manuscript for review. The even better news is that the publisher I received the letter from – though a rather small press – is the one that kept popping up in my prayers when I was asking God to point me to the right publisher for SOTD. However, just because they want to review my work for consideration doesn't mean that they will decide to publish it, and I certainly don't want to count my chicks before they hatch so please keep your fingers crossed and pray. :D

And now to the real reason for this post. As a warning to those of you who would rather find out about plot and such by reading the book yourself, (and as usually happens with book reviews) this review contains some spoilers.

Cyndere's Midnight is a continuation of "The Auralia Thread" Written by Jeffrey Overstreet, the first book of which is "Auralia's Colors". (You can read my review of "Auralia's Colors" here)

As per his first book, "Cyndere's Midnight" is written with vivid color and a subtle flare that I find very addictive. After reading "Auralia's Colors", I knew I had to find and read the other two books in Overstreet's fantasy series. "Cyndere's Midnight" picks up along the line of where the first book in the series left off, with Cal-Raven, House Abascar's young new king, trying to lead and rebuild what is left of his people after Old Abascar's disastrous fall. Then some new characters are introduced: Cyndere is the newly widowed daughter of the king and queen of Bel-Amica, a house built on the edge of the Mystery Sea and whose people are devoted to following their desires and their "moon-spirits" rather than The Keeper. And then there's this Beastman…

Well, here: I'll just post the cover blurb for you and let you come to your own conclusions. :D

When a murderous Beastman discovers the art of Auralia's colors, something awakens within him. When a widowed heiress risks everything to help him, their lives – and the lives of a kingdom – hang in the balance.

Jordam is one of four ferocious brothers from the clan of cursed Beastman. But he is unique. The glory of Auralia's 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 Auralia's colors – a beauty and a beast form a cautious bond. Will Jordam be overcome by the dark impulses of his curse, or stand against his brothers to defend House Abascar's survivors from a deadly assault?

What did I think after reading this book?

Well, it was certainly an enjoyable read, but I found that I read it over a much longer period of time than I did "Auralia's Colors". Perhaps I felt there was more to digest in this book… I'm not really sure of the reason it took me so long to finish it. I think the plotline is a bit slower to follow than the first book, but it picks up more towards the end. Some of my favorite scenes included the story of the Ale Boy – named Rescue by the survivor's of Abascar – who believes it is his destiny to follow the Keeper's tracks and help any Abascar stragglers make it to the cliffs of Barnashum where King Cal-Raven is gathering the Abascar remains. I also enjoyed reading scenes that involved Cal-Raven's gift of stonemastery. The type of magic that Overstreet instills in his book is the type I fell in love with when I first read the Chronicles of Narnia: there is a holy mystery behind Cal-Raven's gift and behind the Keeper. They almost seem sacred, and every time I read a scene where either the Stonemaster or the Keeper are involved, I find I read the section slower, hoping to glean as much information as I can from the scene.

If you pick up this book hoping for a light, fantastical read, you'll find yourself disappointed… or perhaps not. Cyndere's Midnight, like its prequel, is not a light fantasy read to be picked off a shelf and read over the weekend. However, it is a very satisfying book. It addresses interesting political and religious topics in a subtle way that will force you (without seeming forceful at all) to think through what you are reading and consider all that it implies. I give it four stars while tentatively considering a fifth. This is most definitely a book worth reading.


Galadriel said...

It's definately not a light's a thinking read.

Jake said...

A publisher?!?!? *leaps for joy!*

Hmmm... I think, from the word 'small', I have a guess at the publisher. But I shall not reveal it, though you may guess my guess. :D

Great job! If it does get publish, I will do all that is possible to get it.... *thinks*

Star-Dreamer said...

Jake: You probably guessed the right guess. :D I've finished the cover letter and marketing strategy last night and will send everything in as soon as school is out. I'm so excited!

But... *tries to regain composure* I need to gather my wits about me: there's nothing garunteed yet. I need to be calm... or at least to pretend that I am. :D