Cyndere's Midnight

( 23 )

Overview

When a bloodthirsty beastman discovers Auralia’s colors, his conscience awakens. When the heiress of a powerful kingdom risks everything to help him, their lives--and the lives of a kingdom--hang in the balance.

“Cyndere walked down to the water to make her daily decision — whether to turn and go back into House Bel Amica, or to climb old Stairway Rock and throw herself into the sea…”

In Cyndere’s Midnight, ...

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Cyndere's Midnight

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Overview

When a bloodthirsty beastman discovers Auralia’s colors, his conscience awakens. When the heiress of a powerful kingdom risks everything to help him, their lives--and the lives of a kingdom--hang in the balance.

“Cyndere walked down to the water to make her daily decision — whether to turn and go back into House Bel Amica, or to climb old Stairway Rock and throw herself into the sea…”

In Cyndere’s Midnight, the power of Auralia’s colors brings together a bloodthirsty beastman and a grieving widow in a most unlikely relationship… one that not only will change their lives, but could also impact the four kingdoms of The Expanse forever.

Jordam is one of four ferocious brothers from the clan of cursed beastmen. But he is unique: The glory of Auralia’s colors has enchanted him, awakening a noble conscience that clashes with his vicious appetites.

Cyndere, heiress to a great ruling house, and her husband Deuneroi share a dream of helping the beastmen. But when Deuneroi is killed by the very people he sought to help, Cyndere risks her life and reputation to reach out to Jordam. Beside a mysterious well–an apparent source of Auralia’s colors–a beauty and a beast form a cautious bond. Will Jordam be overcome by the dark impulse of his curse, or stand against his brothers to defend House Abascar’s survivors from a deadly assault?

Critics hailed Jeffrey Overstreet’s first fantasy novel, Auralia’s Colors, as “exceptionally well crafted,” “beautiful,” and “masterfully told.” Now he continues weaving this fantastic tapestry with an enchanting fairy tale for ambitious imaginations of all ages.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Overstreet's writing is precise and beautiful, and the story is masterfully told.”
Publishers Weekly


“Overstreet paints vividly imagined scenes and develops his characters and story with thought-provoking insights into human motivations.”
CBA Retailers+Resources


“[Overstreet weaves] a story filled with an intriguing plot; vivid characters; and, most importantly, imagination.”
Church Libraries

“Overstreet writes gorgeous and gritty fantasy that leaves us wanting more.”
Youth Worker Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400072538
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/16/2008
  • Series: The Auralia Thread
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,051,463
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Overstreet is a novelist and award-winning film reviewer. A contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response, his work has also appeared in Risen, Paste, and Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion. His reviews are published at LookingCloser.org and regularly featured at ChristianityTodayMovies.com. A frequent lecturer at universities, arts conferences, and film festivals around the country, Jeffrey lives in Shoreline, Washington, with his wife, Anne. Cyndere’s Midnight is the second novel in The Auralia Thread series.
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Read an Excerpt

Prologue

A magnificent viscorcat paws at the trunk of the coil tree, yearning for a summer sun spot up in the branches, his black fur glossed from grooming. The cat’s rider, a girl no more than thirteen, slides from his back.

Impatient, the cat claws neat lines down through the bark. “Go ahead, Dukas,” says the girl, running her hand from his neck to his tail, tracing sturdy links of spine through the fur. The cat leaps into the tree and stretches out on a sun-warmed branch.

The girl is tempted to follow. She has wandered far from her lakeside caves, feeling confident as a queen. Her realm has provided everything she might need–nourishment, shelter, color, and materials for her art. But she has yet to offer something in response.

She descends through fern fronds into a quiet glen and finds a place to rest, sitting against a young cloudgrasper tree. Rummaging through her ribbon-weave bag, she considers an array of unfinished crafts. Blue curtains–she’s making them for Krawg, the old man who rescued her from the wilderness when she was a baby. The floppy, fur-spun hats are for the Gatherers. There are lake-fishing lures of dragonfly wings and throwing dice fashioned from acorns. But none of these seems the right subject for this afternoon’s play. She shoves them back inside and listens to the trees’ ideas.

A murmur of water deep underground draws her into a stroll around a flowered mound of stones, a weathered well. Something about that distant song is familiar. How curious, she thinks. Why would anyone need a well here?

She climbs up on the wellstones. Ivy has stitched the well’s mouth shut, shielding it from summer’s slow, golden dust. She tears the ivy loose and shoves her head in, then withdraws, brushing cobwebs and tiny white spiders from her silverbrown hair. Her eyes are wide. The sad, familiar music of the rushing water far below inspires her to imagine its source–a place of fierce purity, high above the world, in skies alive with color and light.

Inside the well a rope is bound to an iron ring. She seizes it and feels resistance. Persisting, she pulls until a sturdy bucket appears. Swirling water mirrors the layered ceiling of dark boughs, delicate leaves, the shining sky. She splashes it across her face. It is surprisingly warm.

She pours the water over the wellstones, washing away dust, webs, fragments of leaves, old spider-egg sacs. Beetles scramble, looking for new homes.

Arranging small glass jars of dye beside her, she takes tiny brushes of vawn-tail hair and sets about painting.

She daubs one wellstone, pauses, considers what should come next. Proceeding like a worryworm, she feels around for a sure step, then teases the air before her in search of the next certainty. She examines the cloudgrasper, its bark green as olives. She scoops up handfuls of leaves, lays them over each other, holds them up to the light. Mixing the paints and spreading them thick and bright across another boulder, she considers how the colors fit. She wishes for more stones, a larger well, something mountain-sized.

When she is finished, Dukas has dropped down from the tree, disgruntled by the fading sunlight. He sniffs at the well, blinks, and sneezes in disgust.

The girl scowls. “Thanks for nothing.”

Dukas slinks off to search for a madweed patch where he can roll and dream, leaving her to grumble. “But I suppose you’re right,” she sighs. “I mean, what’s the use?” She shrugs and tosses the paintbrush aside. “Who’s ever gonna see it? Just a pile of painted stones. In a few harsh winters, it’ll all be gone.”

The cat snarls, dragging his claws down the trunk of a maple this time.

“Hunting and eating. That’s all you think about. You know you’ll be fed by sundown. I’m hungry too. I just can’t say for what.”

A cloud passes over, hastening the night.

“We should go.”

While she gathers up her brushes and jars, buds open on the frail stems, blessing the glen with their tiny, cerulean stars. “Why bother?” she snaps at the flowers. “Nobody notices.”

But as she sits back down before their constellations, she relaxes, seduced by the light. “Dukas, have you seen the beastman who comes to my caves?

He comes to see the colors. And he’s got a strange liking for blue. He should see this.”

She shivers. The tree shadows have shifted, darkening every color they find.

“He doesn’t hurt me. Never has. But I wonder what he’s like when he’s out on his own.” She sighs. “No. I don’t wonder. I think I know.”

She plucks a cluster of the blooms, careful to draw the shallow, fragile roots along with them. She’ll replant them where she lives. They’re a color with possibilities. “A little something I’m working on,” she mumbles. “Another splash of nothing.”

When she’s gone, the starflowers go on glowing, testifying to the water beneath their roots, raising their own version of its song in perfume and light. Even if no travelers ever pause to observe, they shine as if for joy.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 21, 2012

    If a reader wonders why the second in the Auralia's Colors serie

    If a reader wonders why the second in the Auralia's Colors series is titled “Cyndere's Midnight,” Overstreet wastes no time answering him. Heiress to the Bel Amican throne, Cyndere, is grieving the loss of her father and brother, thinking she would not throw herself into the sea that day, when she hears of the death of her husband, Deuneroi. In time, she goes to an outpost named Tilianpurth to mourn, but many around her don't know how to help, and being royalty, she will not take difficult counsel easily.

    Elsewhere, a band of four beastmen roam the wilderness, killing children and traders. The beastmen are monsters, men mixed with many other animal forms. They were cursed long ago by wicked strangers with unknown motives. One them, Jordam, has stumbled onto an apparently supernatural dragon called The Keeper, and in a way it has shocked him into new life. Jordam was physically and emotionally broken when he ran from The Keeper. Those wounds and Auralia's artwork began to heal him.

    The hope of redemption is a major theme in this adventure. Cyndere and Deuneroi hope to overcome the curse of the beastmen. The ale boy has earned the name Rescue by the people he has given his life to save. Auralia, though only a background character in this story, continues her influence on many people with her infectious love of life and endurance of her artwork.

    But it isn't as if Auralia is the one light of goodness in a dark world. Overstreet's fantastic setting teems with life as if created by a wild and loving god. Colors found everywhere and the pure water of the deep well depicted on the cover give an enchanted life to those who absorb them. It's part of the magical fiber threaded throughout. It's one of many things I love about this series, which I believe deserves a place on your bookself.

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

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    I Also Recommend:

    Lovely writing, deep themes.

    Cyndere's Midnight is the second in Overstreet's Auralia Thread. The first is Auralia's Colors. If you haven't read that one, check it out first before reading further in the series. These stories are NOT stand-alone. The story of Cyndere is all at once emotional, dark, lovely, exciting, fast-paced, hilarious, and tender. Can one story really be all those things? Hallelujah, yes it can! I think Overstreet manages to accomplish this (without giving the reader whiplash) by having multiple viewpoint characters, each fully-fleshed out as a human being (or beastman, as the case may be) and with his own agenda, struggles, and emotional journey. The story is fast-paced and exciting while we follow the exploits of a murderous beastman with ambitions for the throne. It's tender and emotional when we get glimpses of a widow's debilitating grief. It's humorous as we climb into the mind of a simple, forgetful beastman, torn between love and fear. It's lovely when we discover an unlikely friendship and sense of understanding between two characters we'd never expect to have a thing in common. Now, what sets this story apart for me is the mastery with which Overstreet is able to weave these separate, yet completely dependent, stories together. The same was true in Auralia's Colors, as we hopped from head to head throughout the story. Finally, at the climax of the novel, you understand why each separate story was being told and how each viewpoint character played a part in the ultimate outcome. Wonderfully done. A second highpoint of Overstreet's writing is his characterization. Each character's voice is unique and distinct. This is important, having so many point-of-view shifts throughout the story. Every character is either likable or understandable, meaning that even if you don't like a character, you understand his motivations and why he behaves the way he does. Overstreet's ability in this area is solid, even masterful in places. The two major criticisms of this series I have read are that it's confusing (these are people trying to start the series in the middle... see my above disclaimer) and that some people don't think the "Christian element" is strong enough to be considered a CBA book (Waterbrook Multnomah is a Christian publisher). This is a valid opinion, but I'd respectfully disagree. Are the allusions in The Auralia Thread thus far subtle? Yes. Is there much direct allegory? No. But I would argue that there is a place for this type of literature in CBA, right alongside Narnia or The Dragon Keeper Chronicles with their more obvious parallels. One of Overstreet's biggest assets as an author is his subtlety. There are whispers of Beauty and the Beast in Cyndere's Midnight, but it's not like reading a fairytale retelling. It's clear that the Bible and Overstreet's Christian faith are strong influences in his work, and that's enough for me. It's fiction, not Bible study. Overall, I'd highly recommend Cyndere's Midnight. But please start with Auralia's Colors first. :)

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    A Story that Matters

    Cyndere's Midnight, the second book of the Auralia's Thread series, was even more captivating than the first. The pacing is outstanding; it keeps the readers on their toes with best of the fantasy genre, and yet never looses sight of the developing characters. These characters themselves are very compelling; the reader will very quickly come to care about each one including not only the sympathetic but also the antipathetic ones. Each is wonderfully drawn, from the nameless Ale Boy, to young king Cal-Raven struggling to keep his unhoused people together, to the grieving heiress of the title, and even (or perhaps especially) the three Beastmen brothers who weave through the story. Though Overstreet carefully avoids allegory or didacticism, there are parallels to our worlds history and politics that the careful reader will appreciate. Most importantly, this is a story where there is something at stake, and so the reader really does care what happens.

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  • Posted October 14, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Much deeper than a parallel story to Beauty and the Beast

    I'm torn over these books. They are wonderful stories, imaginative and beautifully written, but I can't read them fast. I'm a quick reader, and no matter how hard I try, I can't get though a Jeffrey Overstreet book in a day or two like I can most others. I felt the same way about Overstreet's first novel, Auralia's Colors. Around page one hundred, I could have walked away from the book easily, but when I reached page two hundred, I couldn't put it down. As a writer, I know that's a dangerous way to tell a story, but it seems to work for Overstreet.

    Cyndere's Midnight gripped me much earlier than Auralia's Colors did, but I was disappointed to meet a new host of characters from page one when I wanted to read about the characters at the end of Auralia's Colors. Some of those characters are in Cyndere's Midnight, but this is not their story. I am glad to discover that book three is called Cal-raven's Ladder, for Cal-raven is one of my favorite characters in the series. Him and the ale boy.

    Cyndere's Midnight is an inspiring story that goes much deeper than a parallel story to Beauty and the Beast. To me, the beastmen, who were once regular men, represent sin. They've indulged in the Essence to give them strength and must go back again and again to be revitalized. But the Essence is what has turned them into beastmen. Jordam has discovered another way to survive the craving: to wean himself of the Essence altogether. And Auralia's colors give him the strength to do that in the same way a relationship with Jesus gives us strength to overcome our own temptations. It is these deep parallels that keep me hooked into Overstreet's tales of The Expanse.

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  • Posted February 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Wonder

    just as good as the frist book, has a special way of reaching out and involing you. wonderous story, makes you see some thing new in the things around you.

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  • Posted December 29, 2008

    Fantasy¿

    Auralia¿s Colors<BR/>Jeffrey Overstreet<BR/>Waterbrook Press, 2007<BR/>ISBN: 9781400072521<BR/>Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com, 12/08<BR/>4 Stars<BR/>Fantasy¿<BR/>Auralia¿s Colors is not a fast read. The reader will want to savor every bite of this novel. Jeffrey Overstreet is a talented writer. His style is almost poetic. As they ponder the words of this fantasy, the reader will see the plot develop before his eyes. This haunting tale will stay with the reader long after they close the book for the last time. <BR/>There is a lot of violence in this fantasy novel. The reader should not expect Auralia¿s Colors to be an action adventure or thriller; instead this is a book is to be contemplated deeply. The cover of this book is beautifully done and tempts the observer to delve inside. I suspect this will be a very successful series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2008

    wonderful fantasy

    To be or not to be is the question that Cyndere asks herself every day at the water¿s edge. The widow grieves the loss of her spouse Deuneroi. He was more than just her husband they shared a common dream of trying to help the Beastmen. She struggles to live another day although she is the House of Bel Amica¿s heiress because she no longer dreams except for leaping off the top of the Stairway Rock. Besides losing her husband, the Beastmen who they wanted to assist killed him in cold blood. --- Jordan the Beastman has heard of the enchantment of Auralia¿s Colors his cursed tribe especially his three blood thirsty brothers think he is crazy as they hear nothing. To his chagrin, Jordan finds himself thinking of shades of consequences that he and his Beastmen do in their black and white berserker rages. When he meets the grieving Cyndere he sees first hand the impact on a person adding to his guilt, she wants to help him rather than he her. Still confused, as his siblings prepare to attack the House of Abascar, he must decide whether to help Cyndere defend the place or join his brothers the former feels foreign but right while the latter feels instinctive but wrong. Either way he chooses to ally himself will impact the kingdoms of The Expanse so that they will never be the same. --- The ¿Blue Strand¿ sequel to ¿The Red Strand¿ thread (of AURALIA'S COLORS) is a wonderful fantasy starring a grieving widow with nothing to live for since her mate and with him their dream, was murdered until she meets Jordan. He gives her a renewal of faith by lifting off the hopelessness that engulfed her she now has a reason to live. In some ways the confused Jordan is the more fascinating character as his world has changed from that of his siblings whereas they think in terms of us and them he understands complex interweaving colors of us, us, and more us. CYNDERE'S MIDNIGHT is an entertaining wonderful fairy tale. --- Harriet Klausner

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