Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ale Boy's Feast by Jeffrey Overstreet

Thank you Waterbook Publisher for giving me this book to review.
They’re on the move. Tabor Jan is leading his people through the dangerous forest of Fraughtenwood. Trying to lead them the way their king would have, if he wasn’t missing.
Mean while Queen Thesera and her children Partayn, and Cyndere are discussing ways they might be able to help the beastmen trapped in the curse. 
Ale Boy is lost in the core of Cent Regus, vainly searching for survivors in the slaughter the beastmen made of his people. And the Seers haven’t given up yet, new creatures and dangers are hiding waiting for their bidding. The Expanse as they know it is turning against them, and no one knows how to stop it.

For me this book was long, and I’ll take some of the blame for not liking it. Due to a busy life I was forced to spread the book out over 3 weeks. With the time lapses I had between reading I am sure I missed and forgot quite a few important details that would have helped me enjoy the book more.

With that said I’ll go into character development. Jeffrey Overstreet did a great job showing us everyone’s true colors in this book. Toward the end I felt like I didn’t know a lot of the people in the book, that is how much they changed. I am still debating whether I like this or not. People I trusted seemed to turn, while people I felt should have been dangerous became heroes.  Ale boy, and a few others remained steady, people to cling to as the Expanse changed.

As I said above the plot was slow, I was hoping for a big climaxed ending and was disappointed to see it curve to its height of thrill. The last 50 pages of this book were the best in the series though, as far as action goes.
Another thing that I didn’t fully understand, are a few of the character wrap-ups. Some people it seems Overstreet just had to finish up, so he came up with the easiest way to do that, (Spoiler) killing them off. (End of Spoiler)  Now I don’t mind that too much but I got the feeling the series wasn’t as well planed as it could have been. Almost like the ending was rushed.
Now this book is sold to a Christian Market and I think that some people might not see the Christian teachings in the series. They are very evident toward the end but you have a long wait to see the lessons the series teaches.
I guess it was a good ending and had a lot of interesting twists in the last 50 pages. Just with some threads left untied I have a bitter-sweet after taste of this book. Sweet because it was a series worth reading, bitter because the ending wasn’t all I had hoped it to be.

 Final Notice: this is the last book in the series. Even though the author has an overview in the beginning of this book you really must read the entire series to understand this world and the people. Read, Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight and Raven’s Ladder before you read Ale Boy’s Feast. I made the mistake of trying to read the series out of order and was forced to go back to read everything else before I finished this book. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Raven's Ladder by Jeffrey Overstreet

House Abascar is living on the bare rocks of Barnashum, wondering when they might leave this desolate place. Their king keeps telling them soon then he suddenly vanishes. Should they trust him and his belief in a "made-up" creature, even as the ground is falling out from under them? Bel Amica is losing it's grip on reality, following the Seers and their ways blindly, doing as they want and not caring about repercussions for their actions. The houses are slowly falling while hidden enemies are strengthening. Doom is looming.

This book was better then Cyndere’s Midnight but still not as good as Auralia’s Colors. The very beginning was good, sadly it took a turn for the downright weird. Powders and potions, legends coming to life, as well a variety of confusing religions are created in this story. If you want to read this as a causal read then I don’t recommend it for you. Everything in Raven’s Ladder is in-depth, many character points of view, a plethora of creatures, plots, sub-plots and theological ideas are enclosed in this book. I had trouble keeping people, places and things straight. At times I spent pages going, “Now you are?”

The characters are okay here as well. I feel this book, unlike Auralia’s Colors and Cyndere’s Midnight, was based more on plot. Which is good, the author has had two books to set up the characters and worlds so this one needed to be about the plot. The plot for this book was faster then Cyndre’s Midnight but it still isn’t a page turner. I know that fast pace isn’t Overstreet’s style but slow doesn’t help me to get through this book as I would like.

This story teaches what life is like when a group of people looked out only for themselves, greedy and careless. I like the fact that Overstreet used his book to teach this and I hope that Ale Boy’s Feast, the next book in the series, will follow up on this idea.  

It was a good book with a catching intro, a dragging middle that then sped up for a interesting ending. If you have read other books by Jeffrey Overstreet you will like this one by him.


As I final note, this is the third book in the series. You cannot tell this by the cover art and this is a series you cannot read out of order. Read Auralia’s Colors and Cyndere’s Midnight before reading this book or Ale Boy’s Feast.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cyndere’s Midnight by Jeffrey Overstreet

House Abascar is regrouping after the traumatic quake, slowly one by one people are finding out who lived and who died in the kingdom. Turning from Abascar “Cyndere’s Midnight” focuses on House Bel Amica’s princess as she goes though hardships most people can’t even dream of dealing with. Trying to run from the power hungry Seers and get some time to think Cyndere goes to a secluded fort. Slipping out of her room at night she goes to a clearing, there she is nearly killed by a beastman. But this beast is more of a man then the others of his race. Could Cyndere’s dream of saving the beastman from their curse come true with this creature?
This book wasn’t nearly as good as the last book in the series. Now Cyndere and the others were created well, but I didn’t feel like I could relate to her, or the others like I did last time. A big thing I had trouble with is something called the Keeper, it is designed to be a mystery to pull you through the book but I found it annoying. We know of this thing and having everything dragged out and learning nothing got really old, fast.  
A friend described the book as a modern “Beauty and the Beast” and it was. The plot was predicable, to the point it was slow. Sadly, I feel asleep reading this book twice (at times I was NOT sleep deprived). I just couldn’t get into this story, something that didn’t help was the multiple perspectives and then the fact everyone was on slightly different times. This made the book very confusing, Ale Boy might be two days behind Cal-raven, while Cyndere was hours ahead of Krawg’s time line. It just had me baffled.  
Something I would like to point out, this is the second book in the series. By looking at the cover art you would have no idea it is part of a series. The cover says “A Novel” like it should stand alone, yet you couldn’t pick this book up and understand what is going on without reading “Auralia’s Colors”. This was a huge problem I have with the books in general.
Now this book was interesting just very, very slow. I couldn’t get into it, but since Auralia’s Colors was good I’ll continue on in the series. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet

A greedy queen sets a ban in the kingdom, no one is to own anything of color.While the House of Abascar goes on waiting for the day common people can own color again. A wild young girl is breaking the law, a small boy is trying to discover who he is and a prince is searching for a creature only children believe in. All while forces are at work trying to stop them. In this kingdom void of free color a gifted young girl might bring the house down.

After having multiple people tell me this is a must read fantasy series I hoped it would be.

The world is masterfully created. The houses, forest, people, creatures were all well done. Though this is a great world but it did take a while to understand, I took the entire book to keep the Houses straight, and some people I got confused with who was who. But overall it was well done.

Characters were interesting. Ale boy, Auralia, Prince Cal-Raven, the king, Ark-robin as well as others were unique in their own style. Cal-raven was personally my favorite, we had insight into his life more then others. Overstreet has a new style of character point of view that I have never read before, it is a style of 3rd person. There isn’t a lot of getting in their head like "His emotions were..." you had to figure out the character’s emotions or thoughts from his or her actions. It was different, maybe not my favorite style but not all bad.
Down falls with the characters are that the ages were hard to understand, is this person 80? 28? 18? 8? Also comment tags were few, making me have to reread parts to understand who said what.

For the plot I was frankly confused for the first 150 pages of the book figuering what it was meant to be. Making it a slow start. But after finding the plot and settling into the world I found the plot fairly effective. The story is about a bunch of people and how their actions and choices effect their world. As a quilter I love the color ideas, as well as the multiple characters. Each person had a piece to this plot and when everyone was woven together it was rather good.

I look forward to Reading Cynders Midnight if it is like this book. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ale Boy's Feast Giveaway! (closed)

That is right! I am having my first giveaway! So what am I giving away? Ale Boy's Feast by Jeffrey Overstreet. This giveaway is part of my Overstreet Overkill event. I will be reviewing the Auralia's Thread series once a week. Tomorrow I will be reviewing book one, Auralia's Colors. But in the meantime you can sign upto win.
Leave a comment below telling me what you have done on the following list.

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Open to U.S. residents only.
This giveaway will end May 31th 2011, unless fewer then 10 people sign up. If less then 10 people sign up it will be extended.