Thursday, May 19, 2011

CSFF Tour: Jeffrey Overstreet's The Ale Boy's Feast

Much is made of spec fiction that is not a proper trilogy, or a quadrology, or otherwise in a series where each book cannot stand alone ... I suppose because making a cohesive unit of more than one or two books is so very difficult, and for a first-time novelist, nearly impossible. Yet Jeffrey Overstreet succeeded brilliantly with the Auralia Thread.

I’m not sure I could add anything to what the other tour members are saying in their reviews. It’s marvelous. Heartwrenching. Beautifully redemptive. It awakens a hunger for the eternal—and eternity itself—that lingers long after I finish reading. This series is everything I love most about fantasy, and rich in ways I’ve found many offerings lacking the last few years. I can’t wait to have the time to re-read the entire series!

So, what is the Auralia Thread really about? I read one review on Amazon that trashed the first book for being a thinly veiled parallel of Christianity. Well, it’s a parallel, of sorts, and it’s not. That reviewer also complained that everything was destroyed at the end. This person either didn’t know it was the first of four, or didn’t have the patience to wait for the rest of the story. I’m glad I knew there was more to come, and that it was not an allegory. More than anything, I’m glad I trusted Jeffrey Overstreet’s understanding of story as a whole. Nothing is random; nothing is wasted. Everything eventually “fits.” The completion of threads that aren’t overtly tied up are at least foreshadowed. And the surprise of who Auralia turns out to be took my breath away. (I didn’t see that coming!)

This story is about self-sacrifice, redemption, love, loss, and the overshadowing mystery of a life where nothing really is random, nothing is wasted, even when it’s unbearably painful—when we walk in the hope and the light of the One who weaves the entire story from start to finish.

Thank you, Jeffrey, for a beautiful parable of what it means to be awakened to and seek after our God, who loves us and longs for our eventual homecoming even more than we do.

(For other reviewers, and links to Amazon and Jeffrey Overstreet’s site, see Monday’s post.)

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