Jeff Overstreet burst onto the Christian fantasy scene with his stellar debut novel, "Auralia's Colors". I anticipated the release of this book and was not disappointed in the least.
Imagine my expectations when I heard of his second in the series, "Cyndere's Midnight". Much darker in tone than the first, this novel has a beauty and the beast essence that, in my opinion, is a gorgeous picture of redemption for the believer in Christ.
Jordam is a member of the cursed Beastmen we met in Jeff's first novel. Set free from his curse, in a way, by Auralia and her colors, Jordam stands out among his four brothers.
Cyndere belongs to one of the ruling houses, and she shares a dream with her fiance, Deuneroi...a dream of breaking the curse on the Beastmen once and for all. But when tragedy befalls her beloved, will the dream die?
Remember our little friend, the ale boy? He reappears early on in this second installment...what role will he play in Cyndere's dream? And can he find the Keeper without Auralia's help...or will he wander into trouble he cannot escape?
Rich with imagination and creative description, Jeff's novels are not easy reads. You must plunge deeply into this fictional fantasy world with him as your literary guide, trusting him to take you places only he knows the way to and from.
But once you fall under the spell of his lyrical writing, it's almost a disappointment to close the book and return to the 'real world'. I loved Jordam's relationship to Cyndere, and kept on the edge of my seat trying to 'read ahead'.
You can't do that with Jeff. He stays one step ahead of you, the reader, and you have to let him take the lead. His map is laid out carefully, and his words are so selected to take you one place and to arrive there a tad bit scathed (is that even a word? I think I just made it up!)
Don't worry, though. It's obvious Jeff has traveled this strand many, many times himself, enjoying his own creative journey. With vawns and feelers and sisterlies, you can feel imagination soaring as it did in the days of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.
I can't predict the future, but I can easily see his books alongside "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Lord of the Rings" one day...and rightly so. It takes a special author to pen such imaginative worlds, and a special reader to fully appreciate the magic of the literature.
My prayer is that you'll join in the fun, wonder, and adventure of "Cyndere's Midnight". And yes, you need to begin with "Auralia's Colors"! I'm giving this volume of the series five out of five bookmarks, with a rain canopy as a charm. If those ever become available, I'll be first in line to purchase one!
Just as I'll be first in line for the third volume in "The Auralia Thread" fantasy series!