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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Auralia's Colors: The Red Strand (The Auralia Thread #1) by Jeffrey Overstreet

Auralia's Colors: The Red Strand (The Auralia Thread #1)When thieves find an abandoned child lying in a monster’s footprint, they have no idea that 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 unsettling–and forbidden–talent for crafting colors that enchant all who behold them, including Abascar’s hard-hearted king, an exiled wizard, and a prince who keeps dangerous secrets.

Auralia’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.

Auralia’s Colors weaves literary fantasy together with poetic prose, a suspenseful plot, adrenaline-rush action, and unpredictable characters sure to enthrall ambitious imaginations.

 First Look: ***** It's been awhile since I've done a category review. And I think it'll end up being awhile until I do one again. Savor this very normal, calm, sane review while you can, as I'm rereading one of the best books EVER right now, Eragon.  Okay, now for the actual review. 

I love the cover.  Love, love, love it.  It's cooler in real life, too.  It's gorgeous, and I love the castle in the fog.  The premise for this just looked so-so, but I loved the cover enough to pick it up anyway.

Setting: *****
I really liked the setting.  I love how Overstreet described it.  He made it seem gorgeous and real at the same time.  He showed the reader the entire thing in so much detail, so we could picture it ourselves. Ordinarily, I might've gotten bored with so much detail about the setting, but in this case, it worked for some reason. I wish I knew why, but I don't.

Characters: *****
I could never get a grasp on Auralia's personality. She seemed so distant, and otherworldly, and I could never connect to her. Plus, we almost never got to read her story from her own perspective--it was almost always told through the eyes of someone else, which didn't help. How are we supposed to get to know her when we don't get to see her point of view?

The only two interesting characters were the ale boy and Cal-raven. Cal-raven seemed like an interesting, likable character, and I wish we would've seen him more. I loved the fact that the ale boy never got a name. He had the most three-dimensional personality, it seemed. The whole story should've been written from his perspective.

Plot: *****
It wasn't until the final chapters that a plot actually showed up. For most of the book, there really wasn't much of a plot. There was quite a bit of backstory, but it took way too long for something to actually happen and shake things up. The idea of the Proclamation of the Colors was interesting, but I just didn't care all that much. I cared that beastmen were attacking the borders, but it seemed that no one else did, so I stopped caring.
The plot did take a nice turn at the end. I liked the way it ended. But, unfortunately, it took way too long to get to that point.

Uniqueness: *****
Most of the concepts were original, like the Proclamation of the Colors, and the interesting setup of the countries.

Writing: ****
I really enjoyed the writing style. It was gorgeous, and very poetic. Like the setting, this kind of attention to detail can get very boring for the reader, but in this book, it worked. The author used the perfect word to describe everything, and creating amazing imagery. Again, it was awesomely poetic! I liked it a lot. I just wish we could've seen more of Auralia's point of view.

Likes: The setting. The gorgeous writing. The subtle symbolism.

Nothing not mentioned above.

Total Score:
This was an okay read. The setting was amazing, and the writing style flowed poetically. On the other hand, the characters weren't that interesting, and the majority of the book moved way too slowly, without much of a plot. I did appreciate the Christian aspects, but I don't think I'll be bothering to read the next books in the series.

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