Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Auralia's Colors

A friend of mine suggested this series, beginning with Auralia's Colors, by Jeffrey Overstreet, to me and lent me the book. It's Christian fiction, which I almost never read anymore since I get so many secular advance reader's copies and since I often have issues with the way Christianity is presented in such books, particularly in Christian fantasy. Auralia's Colors does happen to be Christian fantasy, but it's one of the good ones. It doesn't hit you over the head with a message, and if you aren't looking for it, you might not even see it: perfect.

It's the story of a world of four cities, called "Houses," but particularly House Abascar, where a queen once made it illegal to wear or own anything colorful unless you were granted the privilege. The queen disappeared, but the king keeps his subjects under her burdensome Proclamation. Those who disobey are sent to be Gatherers and live outside the house until they are pardoned, if ever. Orphans live with them, and one of these orphans is a young woman named Auralia. She has a special and dangerous talent, the ability to see all the colors of the wild and craft them into woven, seemingly magical gifts. Her masterpiece is a cloak of all the colors of the Expanse. But everything she does is forbidden, so Auralia must work in secret. Still, she believes the colors are for everyone, and she may risk everything to show House Abascar the truth.

Overstreet crafts a detailed world, perhaps more detailed than I sometimes have the patience for, but I know most fantasy is more detailed than what I read. Auralia is certainly a main character of the story, but she is not the only one. Many of the people around her have vital roles in the story and are as carefully and uniquely created and written as she is.

This is not a romance and should not be read in the hopes of finding one. I mistakenly thought there might be some romance and was disappointed in that, though the story holds its own without it.

Auralia's Colors intrigued me for its characters, its unique world, and its clean and subtle message. If you read Christian fantasy, this is not one to miss. Had it not been lent to me, I think I would have picked it up still. But the story does not end. Be prepared to read the series.

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