by Jeffrey Overstreet
from the back cover
Following the beacon of Auralia’s colors and the footsteps of a mysterious dream-creature, King Cal-raven has discovered a destination for his weary crowd of refugees. It’s a city only imagined in legendary tales. And it gives him hope to establish New Abascar.
But when Cal-raven is waylaid by fortune hunters, his people become vulnerable to a danger more powerful than the prowling beastmen––House Bel Amica. In this oceanside kingdom of wealth, enchantment, and beauty, deceitful Seers are all too eager to ensnare House Abascar’s wandering throng...
If there is any hope for the people of Abascar, it lies in the courage of Cyndere, daughter of Bel Amica's queen; the strength of Jordom the beastman; and the fiery gifts of the ale boy, who is devising a rescue for prisoners of the savage Cent Regus beastmen.
I almost rated this book a little lower, as it jumped from character to character, making it difficult to really get into. But the ending revealed, once again, the brilliance of Jeffrey Overstreet and the true intricacy of the web he had stealthily been weaving throughout the story, and which clearly threads into yet another volume. I enjoyed Raven's Ladder with the curiosity of Aurailia's Colors, but without the emotional investment of Cyndere's Midnight (books 1 and 2).
King Cal-raven is a deep, introverted character whom the book fails to penetrate as well as I would like, though I suppose not all mysteries should be fully revealed, or else they lose their allure. While he faithfully follows the elusive Keeper, directions from his equally elusive mentor, and the word of a... well, unlikely messenger from the previous book, he wonders at times if his people are right in questioning the wisdom of their leader, if in fact the majestic Keeper he dreams of is, indeed, a childish fantasy.
And then there's Bauris, a former guard who appears to have left his mind at the bottom of the well, and eccentric little Obrey, who might be more than she appears. These two are actually my favorite characters in this book, though I'm afraid that's all I can say without giving too much away.