Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cyndere's Midnight 2: Good Points

Jeffrey Overstreet’s Cyndere's Midnight has many of the same positives as Auralia's Colors. Specifically,

Writing Style. Overstreet still bothers to produce literate prose that feels like poetry, so the book can function as a modern chrestomathy for those wanting to improve their style.

Flow. This is actually better than in Auralia's Colors, which seemed to wander a bit. Although there are numerous viewpoint characters, the overall focus is strong. Part of the difference is that Jordam is simply a more compelling character than Auralia was. (Yes, Cyndere is okay as well, but this is really Jordam's book, regardless of the title.)

(I should probably mention that I had some misgivings over trying CM, and it took me almost a hundred pages to really get into it as a result. I think I would ordinarily have gotten into it a little sooner.)

Realistic Characterization. Cal-raven, Abascar's king, is still a bit headstrong, and though generally virtuous, he does react reflexively and prejudicially when he ought to shut up and listen. And Jordam, being in effect a drug addict--the beastmen are produced and sustained by the mutagenic "Essence"--struggles with his need for a fix.

Messages. Though most of these have been done before, they're still worthwhile: Drugs can warp you; tinkering with God's design as an "improvement" is a bad idea; following your dreams can lead you to run over other people, and so on.

Tomorrow I'll present some weak points in the story and try to produce a strong conclusion.

Meanwhile, check out the other CSFF bloggers:
Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Rachel Briard
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Shane Deal
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Isbell
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
Wade Ogletree
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Crista Richey
Alice M. Roelke
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Fred Warren
Jill Williamson


Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

I'm reading your posts backwards, Steve. Again I mostly agree with you, but I think there are deeper themes. However, given what Jeffrey says about his manner of writing, I question my idea of what his intended themes are. If I understand him correctly, he doesn't intend themes; he discovers them. That's my phrasing of what he said to Robert Treskillard in his interview.

In my review yesterday, I also said I thought this was Jordam's story and could have been titled Jordam's Dawn because I thought it was much more than him fighting out of drug addiction.

I see the whole beastman thing as a metaphor for our sin nature.

But is that me thinking the way I think or is this actually what Jeffrey wanted to communicate through his story? Or is he writing a story without any intention, which allows for multiple interpretations?

There's the crux of the problem of this current popular trend among Christian writers to escew theme.


Alexander Field said...

I tend to agree with your comment about Overstreet's prose. I think he has improved the flow in this book over Auralia's Colors. His writing is strong in both books, but so far I much prefer CM to AC. : ) Thanks for the posts on the book!

Steve said...

CM definitely flows better than AC. In fact, I'm strongly tempted to advise newcomers to read the second and ignore the first. There are a lot of allusions to AC, but most are relatively clear in context.

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