Brandywine Books pulled off a big surprise tonight, posting a review of Auralia’s Colors!

The reviewer closes the review by quoting one of my favorite moments in the book, and one that I haven’t heard anyone comment on before.

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At The Greenman Review, Matthew Winslow writes:

I’m so pleased to report … that Auralia’s Colors is one of the best fantasy books of 2007, reminiscent of Patricia McKillip, but more so.

Overstreet’s use of language is beautiful and lyrical, reminiscent of Patricia McKillip’s elegant prose. The book starts out slowly — to be honest, it took me a few attempts before I really got into the book — but once it gets going, it’s a page-turner, and that not just for the lovely writing: Overstreet gives us a story that we want to see to its end, but that we also do not want ever to end.

Don’t forget: I’ll be reading from Auralia’s Colors at the SPU Library on Thursday. The “Food for Thought” program coordinator wants me to mention that space is limited, so get there early.

Want a free copy of Auralia’s Colors? Jen just might give you one.

Want to read my conversation with Graeme at Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review? Here it is! Many thanks to Graeme Flory, who asked thoughtful questions. (He also wrote a detailed review.)

Kevin Lucia at TitleTrakk also asked me some questions about Auralia’s Colors. TitleTrakk’s review of Auralia’s Colors was published a while back.

I’ve been reading so many different interpretations of Auralia’s Colors, and I’m constantly surprised by ideas I didn’t think much about while I was writing the book.

But the review at MyShelf.com finds the reviewer thinking about the book as a story about the arts, and the role of the artist in culture. That’s something I haven’t come across yet. Many thanks to Janie Franz for her thoughtful review!

Fantasy Book Critic has just published thoughts on Auralia’s Colors, and he’s offering a free copy!

Thanks to Robert Thompson for the review!

Every year, whether you’re talking about movies, music or books, you have what are commonly known as ‘hidden treasures’. You know the album that never cracks Billboard’s Top 200 list, the film that is forever relegated to ‘indie’ status, the novel that can’t be found in your local bookstore… For whatever reason, these releases just don’t get the respect they deserve even though they’re just as good, if not better than any of the so-called bestsellers or blockbusters that all the major publications are praising. Well here’s another gem for you….

TitleTrakks review Lori Fox turned in this review.

And what can I do but say “Thank you!”

At her blog, she continued:

… let me tell you — that book was good!

Absolutely unbelievable, actually. I was quite skeptical before I started actually reading it since… well, how can the absence of color really make a good plot point? It just does. I’m not saying that to gloss over it- I mean it. It just does. It’s in the way he weaves his characters, the culture, the land, everything together. It all builds up into something brilliant.

And we’ve all heard about “poetic prose” and roll our eyes. How trite. What a cop out. You use it to gloss over a weak story. Wrong. There are parts of Auralia’s Colors that actually sing, and mesmerize. Repeatedly, I found myself drifting along on the mental sounds of the words and the pictures they conveyed, only to snap my mind back to the story. It’s like masterful epic poetry crossed with a fantasy legend’s best novel. Only better.

Many thanks to the folks at The Supsense Zone, where there’s a new review of Auralia’s Colors by Karri Compton (“A very unique novel, one from which most readers can find enjoyment and wonder….”) and an interview that includes the following questions:

  • Do you have any previously completed novels that you think may be published one day?
  • What are the most important things you have learned so far in your writing journey?
  • If you could make a living at anything besides being an author, what would that occupation be?
  • Who was your favorite character to write in Auralia’s Colors?
  • What is the hardest part of writing for you?
  • Can you tell us a bit about the next book in the series, Cyndere’s Midnight?

God bless Jason Panella, who’s blogging at Truer Than Truth. His response to Auralia’s Colors makes me feel better about all of the editing that still needs to be done on the sequel.

… when I say Auralia’s Colors is a different sort of fantasy novel, that’s meant as high praise. Even though it took a few chapters to draw me in, I fell in love with everything about the book. I’m already impatient for the sequel, slated for next fall. … It’s hard to believe this is Jeffrey’s first novel.

The review of Auralia’s Colors at Front Street Reviews says a little more about the conclusion of the story than other reviews. But I’m grateful that Susan Helene Gottfried is so pleased….

We’ve seen this before: the unique child with the power to change the world. It’s not a new story — until it is deposited into Overstreet’s hands. In Auralia’s case, the change she brings doesn’t save the world in one fell swoop.

This isn’t the only thing that sets Auralia’s Colors apart from the rest of the fantasy genre. In fact, the twist on what has become a familiar formula isn’t even the most exciting and ground-breaking.

Rather, it is the emphasis that Overstreet puts on the use of color. From the shades of grey in the storyline to the bold, vibrant colors that surround Auralia, this book — and, hopefully, this series — is defined by this one simple element.

It’s interesting that Gottfried picked up on this. Yes, color is central to the story… even more central than Auralia herself.

In my mind, Auralia’s just the messenger to her world. She’s wide awake, and she directs our attention to look closer at what she sees.

One reader commented that Auralia’s colors are the closest thing to a “savior” in this story. I thought that was interesting.

And another reader shared that he thought it was the first story he’d read in which the Main Character of the Story is, in fact, a city: House Abascar, and what is going on in Abascar’s “mind” and “heart.” That caught me by surprise too.

I don’t consider Auralia a savior — to me, she just seems to be an artist who’s exploring complex questions through art. Nor did I give much thought as to who might be “the main character” as I wrote. (The first draft of the story did not let us see Auralia much at all, but focused on how her presence had affected those around her.) But now that I stand back and look at the finished story, I can understand why some people might conclude she’s a “Christ figure.”

Finding out the many and varied ways people are interpreting Auralia’s Colors is proving just as much fun as writing it.

But now, I gotta get back to writing the second one. Reading something like Gottfried’s comments reminds me how challenging it will be to complete what Auralia’s colors has set in motion. I’d better not drop any of those loose “threads” of the story along the way…

*You can also read the review here, at Gather.

I’ve been reading movie reviews at Crosswalk for years, so it’s kind of wild to see some criticism there relating to my own work. What a relief that they found it worthwhile.

Thanks to Cheryl Russell for her review, and thanks also to other reviewers: Thanks to Valerie Comer. And thanks to Jake at Bookshelf Review who says,

Jeffrey Overstreet has crafted a beautifully woven tale of hope and adventure in this marvelous debut. His writing is rich and gripping, forcing the reader to savor every line as the story unfolds at a perfect pace. Overstreet’s characters are wonderfully fashioned and the struggles and triumphs of each are incredibly captivating.

You can’t read Auralia’s Colors without sensing that this is the start of something great. With more volumes of Auralia’s Thread to come, I cannot wait to see where Jeffrey Overstreet takes us next.

Auralia finds new friends…

November 17, 2007

A good friend just alerted me to the reviews page at Faithful Reader, where a new review of Auralia’s Colors has just been published.

And at Infuze, Cheryl Russell writes, “This book has earned a place on my keeper shelf, with enough space reserved for the rest of the series.”

And then this email showed up from a new Auralia reader:

Hello, my name is Michael Kane.

I just finished reading Auralia’s Colors and I must say I’m impressed.

For the last year I’ve worked at a christian bookstore, and must admit I get tired of the mediocre stories and writing that so proliferates the market today.

As someone who whet my teeth on Lewis, Tolkien, and MacDonald, it can be hard to swallow a lot of what is publishers claim is fiction.

I saw one brief ad for your book, I beieve in a free sample book put out by Waterbrook, and made a note of the release date in the back of my mind. Release date came and passed. No Auralia’s Colors. The particular store I work in is a small regional chain, so I understand perfectly well that the owners must carry what will sell. Fantasy is never an easy sell and so I usually only see a few copies of a particular fantasy book hit out shelves.

Last week I was dusting the fiction section when I found a single copy of Auralia’s Colors. It was the only one we had received and it had eluded my notice apparently for a week. I bought the book on the spot. However due to an impending eight page paper due in a certain history class, I was unable to start it until this last weekend. I was very impressed from the start.

But come the chapter on the Rites I was thoroughly sucked in. That was Monday evening. Come Tuesday morning around 3:00 A.M I was done.

I can truthfully say that I consider Auralia’s Colors one of the best modern fantasies I have read. Particular haunting to me were the Northchildren and the Keeper. The way you handled them were nothing short of masterful. You had done such an excellent job in hinting and them both both and building the myth and mystery surrounding them, that when they were finally reavealed, the effect was piercingly beautiful.

And as such, I had difficulty sleeping after reading the chapter “Laughter in Chains.”

Thank you so much for writing this novel. As one who one day dreams of doing the same, I would rather not imagine the toil required to produce it such a work of art. For now I must scrounge some patience while awaiting the stories that follow Auralia.

And I must also figure out how to convice my manager to pull in some more copies of Auralia into the store. … It’s the least I can do for you after you caused me to lose half a night of sleep at the end of the semester, a time when I have so many other supposedly more important but so much less interesting things to do.

Thank you again!

Michael Kane

Michael, I’m not sure how to respond except to say… THANK YOU!!