Customer Reviews for

Raven's Ladder

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted April 21, 2012

    Evil is spreading throughout the land of Jeffrey Overstreet&rsqu

    Evil is spreading throughout the land of Jeffrey Overstreet’s third novel in the Auralia’s Thread series. The people of House Abascar are living a hardscrabble life in caves and losing faith in their king, Cal-raven. Some of them think he talks too much of visions and fairy tales. In the previous novel, their caves were attacked by beastmen, men in bondage to a horrible curse which hulks them out like wild, contorted beasts. Now, they worry about vines called “feelers” or “deathweeds” which appear to be spreading everywhere, grabbing men or animals and pulling them into the earth.

    In the middle of this, a few visionaries, like Cal-raven, are telling their people of worlds elsewhere. They remember the vivid, almost spiritual, colors that Auralia teased out of nature. They find small spots of those colors in the wild and healing in common things like pure water. Legends, like The Keeper, an enormous dragon who seems to keep a wise, though distant, eye on them, are being revealed. Abascar has a hope beyond any they could imagine, if they can only hold on long enough to see it.

    By contrast, the people of House Bel Amica seek the latest pleasures and want to be distracted constantly. They live on the coast where there is a great wealth of food and trade. The Seers rule their philosophy, urging them to pray to moon spirits and pursue their own desires above all. I doubt Bel Amicans ever urge each other to get a grip on reality. When refugees from Abascar find shelter in Bel Amica, their leaders begin to worry they will never want to leave this luxurious city.

    Overstreet has created a magical world. I’m fascinated by its natural glory. When the visionary characters do marvelous things or make inspiring culture, they don’t use magic. They apply artistic skill to tease out of the natural world beauty that’s either hidden or disregarded. Though their world is dangerous, many natural elements encourage health, peace, and hope. When these elements are magnified by artists, they comfort some and inspire others to noble work.

    Raven's Ladder is a thrilling third part of this four-part series. The revelations that conclude the book are monumental, and there’s a story in the mid-section that appears to put this fantasy world in a new context, hinting at who the Seers are and how mankind came into this place. Noting the title, the focus of this novel is on Cal-raven, Abascar’s king. He wrestles with himself as a leader and as a man and also with his visions of a bright future in pursuit of The Keeper’s tracks. That name, The Keeper, and the faith of some of the characters may lead you to suspect a thinly veiled God-figure. You might think Aslan has been restyled as a dragon, but he hasn’t. The Keeper is a complicated animal, who appears to respond to prayers as well as act like any other intelligent beast. I could say more, but I’d rather you enjoy the mystery yourself.

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  • Posted March 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A DEADLY MENACE IS BREAKING THROUGH THE GROUND. THE PEOPLE OF ABASCAR MUST ABANDON THEIR STONE REFUGE AND FLEE INTO VULNERABILITY IN THE FOREST. BUT THEIR KING HAS HAD A VISION.

    Following the beacon of Auralia's colors and the footsteps of a mysterious dream-creature, King Cal-raven has discovered a destination for his weary crowd of refugees. It's a city only imagined in legendary tales. And it gives him hope to establish New Abascar.

    But when Cal-raven is waylaid by fortune hunters, his people become vulnerable to a danger more powerful than the prowling beastmen--House Bel Amica. In this oceanside kingdom of wealth, enchantment, and beauty, deceitful Seers are all too eager to ensnare House Abascar's wandering throng.

    Even worse, the Bel Amicans have discovered Auralia's colors, and are twisting a language of faith into a lie of corruption and control.

    If there is any hope for the people of Abascar, it lies in the courage of Cyndere, daughter of Bel Amica's queen; the strength of Jordam the beastman; and the fiery gifts of the ale boy, who is devising a rescue for prisoners of the savage Cent Regus beastmen.

    As his faith suffers one devastating blow after another, Cal-raven's journey is a perilous climb from despair to a faint gleam of hope--the vision he sees in Auralia's colors.

    I loved this book and found myself completely lost in this world with these amazing characters. If you love books like Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia, than this is a book for you to read.

    I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book to review by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. If you would like additional information on this book and where to purchase, please click on the link provided below.

    http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781400074679

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  • Posted January 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    strong inspirational fantasy

    When he was a prince Cal-raven freed Auralia's Colors only to find their "house" collapsed killing his father. Still believing that the Keeper sent Auralia to them for a reason, he led his people to safety inside a stone labyrinth after overcoming the beastmen (see Cyndere's Midnight). However their refuge proves unsafe when something from underground is trying to drill through the stones. The people of Abascar flee again while their ruler King Cal-raven foretells the rebuilding of a New Abascar.

    However, King Cal-raven is distracted by the Seers of the House Bel Amica. He fails to protect his people who have plans for the wanderers and having learned of Auralia's Colors from those they have trapped with their charms, they weave this into their lies. Only Cyndere as daughter of Bel Amica's widow Queen Thesera abetted by Jordam the House of Cent Regus beastman; and "Rescue" the mysterious ale boy can save the weary wanderers. However they must overcome the brutal cursed Cent Regus beastmen, the sneaky Seers advisors to the queen of Bel Amica and the wavering monarch Cal-raven having lost his faith in the colors and his vision.

    The third colorful Abascar religious fantasy is a terrific entry with a powerful message of keep the faith at all times especially when you feel abandoned. The story line is fast-paced but character driven as Cyndere continues to believe even more so while Cal-raven is losing his beliefs. Although filled with action throughout, it is the King's questioning what the Keeper wants for the House of Abascar that he helped to collapse that makes this a strong inspirational fantasy.

    Harriet Klausner

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