February CSFF Blog Tour, Day 1: Cyndere’s Midnight


Welcome to February’s CSFF Blog Tour!  This month, we’re reviewing Cyndere’s Midnight, a fantasy novel by Jeffrey Overstreet.

This is just my second go-round of the Tour, so I’m still playing around with different approaches.  This time, I’m going to start with a brief overview and general comments, providing a more detailed review on Day 2, and finishing up on Day 3 with responses to what some of the other participants are saying about the book.

Cyndere’s Midnight is the second story in the Aurelia Thread series.  The first story, Auralia’s Colors, was reviewed in the January 2008 CSFF Blog Tour.  The next volume, yet to be released, is Raven’s Ladder.  The stories describe events in the vast territory called the Expanse, which is laboring under a doom of unrest and slow poisoning of its people and environment by evil, arcane forces.  Three kingdoms vie for supremacy in the Expanse: the rival city-states of Bel Amica and Abascar, and the depraved realm of Cent Regus, where the use of a powerful liquid called Essence that grants superhuman strength has twisted its inhabitants into mutant beast-men.  The mutagenic Essence has spread into the ecoystem of Cent Regus, corrupting the plant and animal life, its influence widening with each passing day.

As we begin Cyndere’s Midnight, we find the heroine, Cyndere, heir to the throne of Bel Amica, contemplating suicide.  She has lost her father to shipwreck and her brother to the depredations of the beast-men.  In a final, crushing blow, her husband, Deuneroi, has been killed by the beast-men while on a mission of mercy to the ruins of Abascar, whose subterranean metropolis was destroyed in a cataclysm.  Cyndere and Deuneroi had shared a dream, inspired by the mysterious artisan Auralia, to find a way to heal the beast-men and restore their humanity, but Auralia is missing, presumed dead in the disaster at Abascar.  Her life in shambles, Cyndere wonders if it would be better to throw herself into the sea and end the pain.

However, hope has a way of springing from unexpected places in the Expanse, and powerful forces are at work, for both good and evil.  Cyndere will soon find herself at the center of a battle for the very soul of her world.

This is a wonderful story.  Overstreet has created a world both familiar and alien, just a little askew from our own, and populated it with memorable characters.  I’ve not read Auralia’s Colors, but Cyndere’s Midnight drew me into the world of the Expanse immediately, and important details of the preceeding story were unobtrusively blended in, so I didn’t feel too lost or disoriented.

I’ll say more by way of a review tomorrow, but to sum up, I liked this book. I recommend it to fans of epic fantasy, or anybody who simply enjoys a good story. I look forward to reading Auralia’s Colors to catch myself up while I wait for the next installment in the series.

Link to purchase Cyndere’s Midnight
Jeffrey Overstreet’s Web site
Jeffrey Overstreet’s blog
Jeffrey Overstreet at Facebook

For more commentary on Cyndere’s Midnight, please visit the other fine sites on this month’s tour:

Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Rachel Briard
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Shane Deal
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Isbell
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
Wade Ogletree
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Alice M. Roelke
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jill Williamson

>>This review is based upon a copy of the book provided to me free of charge by the publisher, a courtesy I appreciate, but which does not guarantee my recommendation. I strive to evaluate every book I review purely on its intrinsic merits.<<

6 thoughts on “February CSFF Blog Tour, Day 1: Cyndere’s Midnight

  1. Welcome to the tour! I didn’t participate last month, but have been part of it for the last year.

    I’d also like to say that your approach is just fine, and I’ll stop by tomorrow to see what else you have to say.

    One minor thing … the series is named the “Auralia Thread” (not tapestry) … but you know what, that little circle on the back of the book is almost IMPOSSIBLE to read, so I understand if you misread it!

  2. Hi, Robert! Thanks for the welcome. Ah, you’re right…I think I was confused by the blurb at the end of the book that said this was the Gold Thread in the Aurelia tapestry, or something like that (don’t have my copy at hand), but its still the Aurelia Thread series. Good eye. Correcting the post.

  3. Hi, Fred,

    Glad to see you feel the freedom to experiment a bit. I don’t think I’ve stuck to one particular pattern because I relate to each book a little differently. Some make me think of a subject I want to explore. Others ignite a bit of controversy, and so on. I keep thinking I should do my reviews on the first day so people will know the story we’re talking about. I’m glad you’ve given them an overview.


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