This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing AURALIA’S COLORS (WaterBrook Press September 4, 2007) by Jeffrey Overstreet
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
By day, Jeffrey Overstreet writes about movies at LookingCloser.org and in publications like Christianity Today, Paste, and Image. His adventures in cinema are chronicled in his book Through a Screen Darkly. By night, he composes fictional worlds all his own. Living in Shoreline, Washington, with his wife, Anne, a poet, he is a senior staff writer for Response Magazine at Seattle Pacific University.
Auraliaâ€™s Colors is his first novel. He is now hard at work on many new stories, including three more strands of The Auralia Thread.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
When thieves find an abandoned child lying in a monsterâ€™s footprint, they have no idea their wilderness discovery will change the course of history.
Cloaked in mystery, Auralia grows up among criminals outside the walls of House Abascar, where vicious beastmen lurk in shadow. There, she discovers an unsettlingâ€“and forbiddenâ€“talent for crafting colors that enchant all who behold them, including Abascarâ€™s hard-hearted king, an exiled wizard, and a prince who keeps dangerous secrets.
Auraliaâ€™s gift opens doors from the palace to the dungeons, setting the stage for violent and miraculous change in the great houses of the Expanse.
Auraliaâ€™s Colors weaves literary fantasy together with poetic prose, a suspenseful plot, adrenaline-rush action, and unpredictable characters sure to enthrall ambitious imaginations.
At the Auralia’s Colors Website you can read the first chapter and listen to Overstreet’s introduction of the book.
Okay, seriously now. The copy of the pre-written “reviews” the CFBA happily supplies summarizes this one pretty nicely. Albeit the “poetic prose” was still clearly written by an imperfect human being who occasionally uses an unnecessary thought tag here or there (pet peeve), and slips into omniscient now and again (that it largely proved effective where used is a credit to the author’s own gift) it represents an excellent first effort and fresh addition to fantasy bookshelves.
I really appreciated the distinctive world-building. Lately, too many of the “fantasy” stories I’ve read were set on basically earth. When you’re using magical elements, which do crop up in a few places, it’s the setting that will make or break that. What can be accepted as part of another world in well-structured fantasy will amount to dabbling in the realm of demons in a world too much like our own, and Overstreet’s writing showed an appreciation for this.
Though subtle, the theme of forbidding colors and talk of the Keeper (a God-figure) is woven to prod readers about matters of faith; although I had trouble interpreting the precise parable; Auralia almost becomes a Christ-figure in a traditional tragedy that would make the Bard proud (and how often do I get to invoke Shakespeare in a review?)