Friday, April 23, 2010


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.

MY REVIEW: I received a free copy of Raven's Ladder, for the CSFF blog tour, from the publisher. As always, Overstreets lyrical prose, while unusual, is compelling reading. Raven's Ladder focuses on King Cal-Raven who seeks to lead his people out of the caves where they have lived since the literal collapse of their House Abascar in Auralia's Colors. However, danger is buidling and deadly vines spreading underground are chasing them out of hiding. Now they have become vulnerable to threats from the other houses. Characters like Jordam and Cyndere appear in this tale as well as the returning Aleboy...there's plenty going on. However, I couldn't maintain the same interest I enjoyed from the first novel, Auralia's Colors. It seemed as though Auralia, being the character behind these colors, not to mention the inspiration of many in the story, is sadly missing in all of the sequels since. She is the connection, but having been killed in the first book, leaves a void that I haven't found the side characters interesting enough to fill. Overstreet is a gifted writer, but I'm finding Auralia's Thread less interesting the further it travels away from that central, wonderful character...Miss you O' Raya :-)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lost Mission by Athol Dickson

Among the dirt-poor barrios and ultra-wealthy enclaves lining the hills of southern California, a construction project unearths a long-lost Spanish mission. This discovery sets off a chain of events that presents four unrelated people—Reverend Tucker Lockwood, Concha Rivera, Delano Jones, and Detective Harmony Killeen—with difficult choices. In every case, a greater good could be served with a compromise of some basic moral value. Lockwood could steal to feed the poor. Delano Jones could lie—or at least bury the truth—to protect his monument to God's law. Concha Rivera, a Christian with a strong sense of mission, could trespass to preach the Gospel. Detective Killeen could betray her sense of legal responsibility to defend her family. It seems these devil's alternatives will inspire these modern people to perpetuate the very crime that left the mission buried and forgotten 250 years ago—a mystery that is gradually revealed through research into a mysterious triptych excavated at the mission site, as well as through historical flashbacks. At least two themes of magical realism appear repeatedly through the story. First is the appearances of Santos, a mysterious being characterized by a crooked nose, in both the contemporary and historical storylines. And second, the gradual appearance of faces on the triptych as the story's four protagonists—often with the help of a mysterious Hispanic man with the crooked nose—decide whether they will repeat the mistakes of the past.

Lost Mission was not what I was expecting from the description: "Magical Realism." Maybe that was just my misunderstanding, but it never really grabbed my interest. I found the time jumping a bit of a distraction, though once you get used to it and realize the format of the storytelling it isn't a problem. Honestly this is not the kind of novel I would buy and so I found myself laboring to finish it. Dickson is obviously a good writer, it just wasn't my cup of tea.