Wednesday, July 9, 2008
About six months ago I read Jeffrey Overstreet's Auralia's Colors. When I finished it, I thought it a decent book, but nothing particularly special. Problem is I can't stop thinking about it now, five months after finishing that last page and placing it back on my bookshelf. The subtle charm of the colors, the vividness of the characters, the strange and new places.
Now as I read it again for this review, I realize how much I enjoy this gem of literature. Imaginative, charming, and magical are words I could use to attempt to describe it, however, they fall short of the overall sense of beauty that the book paints. Reflecting on it, I can't help but think that it is like a jewel, the plot is not as straightforward as some other books that I have read, but that's where part of it's beauty comes from. Like a jewel it has many sides to the same story, but it also has a central focus that all these other sides revolve around. Missing a side, you lose the beauty of the whole. This isn't a mere novel, it is a work of art.
The writing itself could be considered poetry, most of the words seem to be exactly where they ought to be in relation to the whole of the work. I find myself taking almost as much delight in the words themselves as I do the story, and yet they are written so that they are not a hindrance to the story but an aid. A difficult balance to achieve indeed, yet Mr. Overstreet has done so.
It is a rare book indeed that will captivate my imagination more upon the second reading then the first, Auralia's Colors is one of them, much to my delight.
When I am reading it I find my mind immersed in a world, different and recognizable. Not so foreign that it is completely alien, but different enough to find it quite interesting. Though I keep picturing it as a world of somewhat dull colors with vivid ones placed throughout. Several times I wish I could explore the places that are mentioned or described in the book in greater detail.
Several of the characters seem to practically jump out of the page and take form... They are so vivid and not only that, they are vastly interesting. Enthralling would be a better word. The two characters I found most intriguing was Prince Cal-raven and Auralia. Both mysterious in their own ways, both seeming almost to weave a spell of sorts in my mind. There is not the usual flatness to the characters, instead they come across as something alive, each with a history of their own and secrets both of light and of darkness. Even minor background characters tend to hold to a certain degree the quality of living beings rather then just being some sort of disposable resource to move the story along.
It tells a story, first and foremost I would say that Jeffrey Overstreet is a storyteller, when I read Auralia's Colors I do not feel that I am being assaulted with some idea of something I'm supposed to be getting. I can just, for lack of better words, bask in the glory of the story itself. Though not all events in the book could be described as enjoyable or something I would personally care to experience, the tale is woven so that I can learn what I receive from the scene before my inner eye. That being so, I do not feel myself threatened by some ideology... Being free to make my own conclusions of an storyweaver's work is a refreshing change from what I'm used to. One of the things I'm drawing from it is a deeper appreciation of art and of the world around me. I would say that a good story is told when the author is forgotten, this story certainly falls in that category.
There are a few minor things I didn't like... I didn't exactly enjoy reading about one characters actions in one chapter, and another character did tend to mildly rather get on my nerves. Mostly my own personal distaste. My dislikes of the book are so far and few between that I'll leave this part of my review short, which is something in and of itself that I find delightful.
In conclusion, Auralia's Colors is a work of literature that is most worthy of being called literature. Reminding me more of the works of earlier writers such as Dickens then that of more contemporary authors: in the quality of writing and the story woven by Jeffrey Overstreet in his debut novel Auralia's Colors. It is with great anticipation that I look forward to reading the second book in the Auralia Thread: Cyndere's Midnight which is due for release in September. This is definitely a book I'd highly recommend.
Auralia's Colors website.
Posted by Shane Deal at 5:00 AM