Friday, March 12, 2010

"raven's ladder" by jeffrey overstreet

Raven's Ladder is the second book I received for the fantasy blog tour. (Read my review of Lady Carliss here.) It is book three of Jeffrey Overstreet's "The Auralia Thread" series.

Prior to reading this book, I had never heard of "The Auralia Thread," though I was familiar with Overstreet through his articles on Christianity Today's movie website. Those essays were what compelled me to reply "yes" when offered the chance to read and review this book. It's a decision I regretted as I slogged my way through the book.

"I don't like feeling stupid when I read" are the exact words I used to describe to someone how I felt about Raven's Ladder. As I worked through the book, I frequently had to stop and ponder what I'd read or even go back and reread a section. I often mentally--and sometimes verbally--expressed my frustration with Overstreet's lack of description of places and creatures I had no concept of. Then it hit me: Overstreet certainly described those very things in the first book of the series! Of course I was confused and frustrated--I had jumped headlong into the second half of the story!

Once I got through the first 200 pages of the 380 page book, the puzzle pieces began falling into place, and I started to appreciate Overstreet's story. As the book ended, I felt like I was just getting started, and I am very curious about what will happen next to the characters who at first frustrated me. Also, the last two pages left me with a gasping "aha!" moment ... and I really love those!

Following House Abscar's destruction, King Cal-raven leads the survivors on a journey to find a place to establish New Abscar. After Cal-raven disappears, the Abscar survivors find their way to House Bel Amica, where they find favor with the royal family. The queen's Seers, however, would love nothing more than to destroy the survivors ... and the royal family. Cal-raven's faith in the Keeper will be tested as he attempts to regain leadership over his people, rescue the ale boy and the Treasure from House Cent Regus, and discover what happened to Auralia. (See? What did I say about it not making sense if you haven't read the first two books?)

Should you read it? If you enjoy fantasy, a la Lord of the Rings. But please read the books in the proper order! (You can purchase it here.)

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

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