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.
For more commentary on Cyndere’s Midnight, please visit the other fine sites on this month’s tour:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Alice M. Roelke
Rachel Starr Thomson
>>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.<<