Originally Posted at Bibliophile's Retreat by Melissa Meeks
Waterbrook Press (September 16, 2008)
Overstreet has once again transported readers to the vast world of The Expanse first encountered in Auralia’s Colors (The Red Strand of The Auralia Thread). Cyndere’s Midnight (The Blue Strand) took me a bit longer to get into as I was expecting the tone and style to be similar to the first book. While still uniquely Overstreet, the undertones of Cyndere’s story are darker and the prose, though still flowery and flowing, is less lyrical than in Auralia’s Colors. Mind you this does not make for a bad or even mediocre book, it was still a wonderful read just different than I had expected.
Cyndere has lost several loved ones in close succession as the curtain opens for readers on her story. Her father, brother and her very new husband have all been claimed by one danger or another. Deuneroi (her loving spouse) was attacked by Beastmen of House Cent Regus while attempting to salvage lives and goods in the underkeep of House Abascar, if anything was left behind after the blast which leveled the entire fortress. Cyndere and Emeriene (her personal attendant or sisterly as they are called in House Bel Amica) pack themselves off to Tilianpurth for peace and quiet to allow Cyndere time and space to mourn her losses. Though they played in the fields surrounding the fortress as children and it was lightly used at the time, things have changed radically in the years since they abandoned their childhood haunts. The Beastmen have encroached on the forests and meadows nearby and a full compliment of soldiers are housed at the outpost to guard it from these creatures as well as rid the land of a perceived menace to everyone’s safety. Cyndere and Deuneroi however had other ideas that Cyndere is still committed to trying and seeing the methods used to deter the Beastmen ires Cyndere rather than ingratiating Ryllion to her whom she already detests and blames for the loss of Deuneroi.
Can Cyndere and Deuneroi’s ideas for transforming the Beasts of Cent Regus succeed or is it merely a pipe dream? Are faith and love enough to bring out the true spirit of these “cursed” creatures or has it been forever lost? Will Cyndere be able to mourn lost love and companionship in peace or will the activities and presence of the soldiers thwart her intentions and the dangers of the woods prevent her from properly saying goodbye to those she wishes to grieve? This vivid return to the Houses of The Expanse and the readers first real glimpse of House Bel Amica has drawn me even deeper into the stories of Overstreet’s world and characters. I just wish it weren’t so long till Cal Raven’s story (The Gold Thread) will be available to me. In fact with a great series that is generally my only complaint until the series ends at which point my complaint is in losing characters that have become an integral part of my imagination and touched my life in numerous ways as I’ve experienced their stories along with them. (ISBN#9781400072538, 380pp, $13.99)
Drop into Jeffrey’s website and visit Auralia’s blog while you're there. Click the bookcover above to purchase your own copy as well as read more about the book. If this is the first you’ve heard of Overstreet and his novels you’d do well to get your hands on both books. Auralia’s Colors is a bit different in tone and style than Cyndere’s story but provides significant background and world building details that will prove useful in understanding events and characters as you proceed with the series.