April CSFF Blog Tour II, Day 3: Raven’s Ladder, by Jeffrey Overstreet

It’s Day 3 for Jeffrey Overstreet’s Raven’s Ladder! What’s the word around the Tour?

Talkin’ ‘Bout My Girl: Some of our reviewers, like James Somers, really miss Auralia. Though her influence and legacy pervades all three stories so far, she’s been offstage since Auralia’s Colors, and her absence has left a tangible vacuum that development of the other characters hasn’t quite filled. Of course, the mystery of her life and disappearance is also one of the driving forces behind the plot of this series. I wonder who might be the focus of the fourth book?

Strong to the Finish? Without any Spinach?: While Jason Joyner was pushing hard to finish Raven’s Ladder before the Tour ends (Go, Jason, go!), Shane Deal wondered how Mr. Overstreet was going to trim up all the loose threads left for the fourth and final volume of the series, such as the identity and nature of the Keeper and the Northchildren, the fate of Auralia, the fate of Jordam, the fate of Jaralaine, the fate of the Abascar survivors, the fate of the beastmen, the Seers’ next move, the solution to the monstrous “feelers,” the status of House Jenta…the list goes on. Quoting an anonymous Bel Amican, “What kind of story stops with a question?” Well…this one. Lots of questions.

Yes, We’re Looking at You, Ugly American: Phyllis Wheeler noticed that Bel Amica has a lot in common with modern American culture, and I agree. Everything’s decorated with mirrors and distorting lenses, the state religion is focused on self-advancement and garnering wealth, drug use is rampant, leaders are manipulated by power brokers behind the scenes, etc, etc. Is Bel Amica a stand-in for America? No, I don’t think so, but its problems are similar to ours, and that’s one way that Overstreet made the world of the Expanse accessible to readers, an issue discussed in more depth in Rebecca Miller’s posts.

The Allegory Allosaurus: John W. Otte (Least-Read Blog on the Web? Only in Cent Regus!) and I both struggled against the impulse to read Raven’s Ladder (or the other Auralia Thread stories) as an allegory, and though neither of us is exactly sure what it is, an allegory it’s not. Any attempt to draw a one-to-one correspondence between any of the characters, plot elements, themes, etc, in the story and Biblical personalities or events or doctrine is quickly met with frustration and confusion. As an approximation, I’d say Mr. Overstreet does something akin to what J.R.R. Tolkien did with the Creation story in The Silmarillion, which parallels and echoes the Creation account in the Bible while retaining its own unique identity. It’s not Genesis in fancy dress. Likewise, Raven’s Ladder reflects Biblical truths without directly retelling them in a sort of Expanse Version of the Bible.

Yeah, I don’t really understand it either, but I think it works.

Thus concludes our double helping of CSFF Blog Tour in April. Come back next month, when we’ll consider another fantasy selection, Jill Williamson’s By Darkness Hid. Eat your spinach, and leave the Ugly American t-shirt at home. In a box. In the attic. Under three crates of books. See you then!

Purchase Raven’s Ladder
Jeffrey Overstreet’s website and blog

Brandon Barr
Rachel Briard
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Shane Deal
Jeff Draper
Emmalyn Edwards
April Erwin
Ryan Heart
Joleen Howell
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher


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