Well, I told you I would get around to posting a review of "Raven's Ladder" and here it is at last!
There is unrest among the survivors of House Abascar. Winter approaches, and with few provisions the House has little chance of survival. New quakes shake the foundations of stone that shelter them, turning the Black Caves into a place of fear, pain, and sometimes death. The time draws near for Cal-Raven's meeting with his old mentor, and now a new problem weighs on the young king's shoulders: assassins from within who wish for his life.
Yet these he puts aside. He must meet with his mentor; Shar Ben Fray will know what to do. And so Cal-Raven sets out on a journey - following Auralia's colors and the footsteps of a mysterious dream creature - that will bring him to the edge of myth, and draw him back again humbled and determined.
But while he is gone, a blackness settles over the caves at Barnushum, and Cal-Raven's faithful body guard must decide to leave the cave to preserve the safety of the House. Out alone in the wild, without walls to protect them or a king to follow, the remains of House Abascar are routed by the fortune hunters of Bel-Amica, a more powerful danger than the prowling beastmen. And to make matters worse, Bel-Amica has discovered the wonder of Auralia's colors, twisting the truth behind its beauty into a symbol of a dark and tortured religion. While Cynder, daughter to Bel-Amica's Queen, and Jordam, a beastman changed by the wonder of Aralia's colors, team up with Cal-Raven and the mysterious, fiery Ale-boy of House Abascar, striving to learn the real truth behind the colors and to rescue those humans still enslaved by the beastmen underground, the survivors of House Abascar slowly begin to succumb to the pagan wonders of the House on the edge of the Mystery Sea.
But now there is a new mystery to be solved, and one that's familiarity is both strange and beautiful like a wistful dream just out of reach of memory. Who is this young glass-worker whose childish ways and wondrous creativity reflect those seen in Auralia before Abascar's fall? And, perhaps more importantly, who is this girl's silent woman guardian who so fervently protects the child's right to play, whose past is a mystery even to herself, and whose small fingers bare the signet ring of King Cal-Raven?
Pros: "Raven's Ladder" is the third book in the Auralia Thread. As with his other books, Mr. Overstreet approaches this one with a wonderful sense of originality and a story-telling ability that (in my opinion) rivals many well-known authors of this day. The story is crisp and clean, well balanced with action and underlying meaning. There were many places where I held my breath in wait for what would happen next, or stopped to reread a passage when my mind caught a hidden meaning that my eyes had accidentally missed.
Cons: Actually, I didn't have any problems with this book. It was clean all the way through, completely well done, and left me on the edge of my seat even to the very end... where I sighed in frustration because the fourth book in the Auralia Strand isn't out yet.
I give this five stars out of five. If you love The Chronicles of Narnia, then for heaven's sake don't miss out on the Auralia Strand! :D
(On a completely different note, please don't forget that submissions for the "First Chapter" Contest on my blog is now open, and that I'm also considering throwing in a third place prize. XD)