Reviewed by Lori Fox
Cyndere's Midnight by
"Jeffrey Overstreet's writing is incomparable--in a good way."
The House of Cent Regus has been enslaved for generations by their curse. Reduced to little better than slavering beasts, the entire population lives for nothing more than to win the favor of their chieftain in order to procure more Essence. Essence equals power, despite the destruction of their minds and souls, and mutation of their bodies.
One such is Jordam, one of four brothers who have learned that fighting together can mean bigger prizes and more Essence. But Jordam has a secret; Essence is not all that he longs for. Nor is power. Jordam seeks peace. A peace that he has only found in the presence of Auralia's colors.
As the need for Essence burns stronger in the brothers, they are weakened enough that one is caught by the "weakerfolk" of House Bel Amica who worship moonspirits. Jordam escapes, but barely, and is so injured that he cannot move. What he finds in his place of sanctuary can change the course of the futures of not just himself, but of the houses Cent Regus and Bel Amica.
Jeffrey Overstreet's stunningly well written The Auralia Thread series continues with Cyndere's Midnight, The Blue Strand. While I would highly recommend reading the first book, Auralia's Colors, before reading Cyndere's Midnight, this book can be read on its own. You will miss a lot of nuances should you choose to do so, but the story itself can stand on its own.
While I don't find the storyline in Cyndere's Midnight to be as surprising as Auralia's Colors, it is just as unique when compared to other fantasy novels. Flatly stated, Jeffrey Overstreet's writing is incomparable--in a good way.
This is a Christian fantasy novel, but it is not allegory, nor is it heavy handed. The Keeper pretty obviously represents God, but certainly not in the normal way. In times of desperation, The Keeper protects and defends those in need--but often the needy aren't even aware of how they've been helped. They're always left to solve their own problems and make their own choices. In fact, The Keeper terrifies even the most pure hearted of Overstreet's characters.
In most novels, even in fantasy, the primary driving force is some form of romance. In Overstreet's novels, it's greed and lust for power. The world he writes in is corrupt to the marrow. But just as in the midst of winter a single flower heralds the approach of spring, so does Auralia and her colors sing new life into this world of destruction.
Lori Fox is a freelance writer who is working on her first novel as well as writing reviews for TitleTrakk.com. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, making jewelry, and taking as many trips to Walt Disney World as possible with her wonderful husband Kyle. Visit her online at her website.