Book Review: The Ale Boy’s Feast

Title: The Ale Boy’s Feast
Series: The Auralia Thread
Author: Jeffrey Overstreet
Publisher’s Synopsis: The king is missing.  His people are trapped as the woods turn deadly.  Underground, the boy called Rescue has found an escape.
Hopes are failing across The Expanse. The forests, once beautiful, are now haunted and bloodthirsty. House Abascar’s persecuted people risk their lives to journey through those predatory trees. They seek a mythic city – Abascar’s last, best hope for refuge – where they might find the source of Auralia’s colors.
They journey without their king. During a calamitous attempt to rescue some of his subjects from slavery, Cal-raven vanished.
But his helper, the ale boy, falling through a crack in the earth, has discovered a slender thread of hope in the dark. He will dare to lead a desperate company up the secret river.
Meanwhile, with a dragon’s help, the wandering mage Scharr ben Fray is uncovering history’s biggest lie – a deception that only a miracle can repair.
Time is running out for all those entangled in The Auralia Thread. But hope and miracles flicker wherever Auralia’s colors are found.

I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity of reviewing the previous book in the Auralia Thread, Raven’s Ladder.  That book introduced me to Mr. Overstreet’s work, and I loved it.  As with much of great fantasy, the book is a journey– both a physical and a personal one for many of the characters.  In my review of Raven’s Ladder, I said that if you enjoyed books such as the Ranger’s Apprentice, Lord of the Rings, or even Andrew Peterson’s books, you’d enjoy these.  I stand by that.  In here, more so than that last one it seems, the symbolism found in good fantasy is there.  Good vs. evil, friends vs. foes and in this, sometimes those are not as clear cut as you might have thought.

Again, I loved Mr. Overstreet’s rich characterization.  What I seemed to notice in this book that either wasn’t in or was harder to appreciate in the last (since I read the third in a series first) was his uniquely lyrical writing.  He isn’t flowery or verbose in his writing, and yet there is a definite poetic-ness to it.  I need to read the entire series together to see if he has just expanded himself in this book or if I missed it in my previous reading.

Mr. Overstreet tells a fabulous tale in vivid detail almost as if you are viewing it on the page– much as books written long ago did- and yet unlike some of those older stories, his are not tedious to read.  You feel the despair and then the hope as things go all wrong and somehow are righted even when it seemed impossible.

I know these books were written as “children’s stories,” but it is my opinion that they are excellent books for any age.  If you have not read the first books, don’t read this one.  Wait until you’ve read the first books.  Even though I’d read the third (I have the others but haven’t had time to read them), there were still parts that were hard to wade through, and I’m certain that it is due to needing a refresher course in all that has happened.  Don’t let that discourage you.  Buy the books– they’re worth it.  And if you can’t afford them, get them from the library.  You won’t regret it.

I want to thank Water Brook for providing this copy of The Ale Boy’s Feast for review.  My opinions, for what they are worth, do not do the book justice.  Sorry, I’m not giving this one away.  That should tell you something about how much I enjoy this man’s writing AND his stories.  Oh, and Jenna would kill me.

Even though I’m not giving a copy of this one away, I would really appreciate if you’d take a moment and hop on over to Water Brook and rank my review.  I’m finding the selection getting slim again.  I really want a chance at Josh Harris’ new book!  Oh, and stay tuned for next week.  I think I’ll be able to review The Runner from Ravenshead movie!  I will also be giving away a copy of that movie… on my own dime!  Stay tuned… no pun intended of course.