The Auralia Thread, Book 1
By: Jeffrey Overstreet
5/5 Stars (And Going on the Favorites Shelf)
What: In a society where only the privileged are allowed to wear bright colors, an orphan is about to change everything.
Recommended to those who like: Fantasy, loosely Christian, darker stories
I borrowed this book from the library a few years ago and loved it. I couldn’t recall exactly what it was about when I came across it in a local used bookstore, but I sprung for it. To my delight, I enjoyed it just as much as (if not more than) the last time I had read it.
Auralia is an orphan with mysterious origins. Taken in by the outcast “Gatherers” of the city, she seems to be an odd bird. She’s always wandering through the woods, gathering brightly colored objects to make gifts for her friends. This colorful habit gets her into trouble with the law, as only the royal family is allowed to wear colors. But she’s determined to teach House Abascar something that even she doesn’t fully understand.
Okay, so it doesn’t sound all that exciting, but I ask you to give it a chance if you’re a fan of fantasy. We have strange beasts, magical powers, and some good world-building. While I wouldn’t call myself “close” to Auralia, the supporting cast of characters is extraordinarily vibrant and very human.
The story’s a bit slow at the start and Mr. Overstreet’s writing style does take a little while to adapt to.
However, the action picks up about halfway through and everything starts to click together.
One of the other reasons I like this story is that it provides an interesting perspective on greed and materialism. It isn’t preachy, but it certainly made me think about what I value most. There are also some other themes involved, like the importance of art. I look forward to reading the next book and seeing how those plot threads are developed.
The Christian element to this story is rather minimal and I don’t know that I would have called it Christian, save for the fact that it’s published by a Christian publisher. I would recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of fantasy (this probably wouldn’t be a good intro story for someone who isn’t already a fantasy fan), doesn’t mind some darker elements, and is open to a different writing style.
I wish I could provide a more in depth review for the book, but I don’t want to give too much away. If you do pick it up, go into it with an open mind and don’t expect it to be your “normal” Christian book.
Bottom Line: A good pick for fantasy fans who are open to trying a new author with a new style.
Have you read any books lately that didn’t fit into the typical mold for the genre? Did you like it?