Bookworm's Ranking - 4 Worms
Storyline - Book 4 - The Ale Boy's Feast - After the slave rescue fails, the ale boy, Rescue, and the king of Abascar, Cal-raven, and several others are split up across the Expanse. The ale boy leads the survivors down an underground river to find the source of healing water and a safe place for the people. Cal-raven has to over come his failures and lead his people to the new home he's promised them. The glass workers are almost home and a woman named Milora is about to remember who she is. But things are not over yet with the Seers, having more to release on the people of the Expanse. As Deathweed and a new killer emerge, the journey is becoming more dangerous. Will the ale boy be able to save the people underground? Will Cal-raven be able to finally find what he has been searching for? And what will happen when the secret of their ancestors is found?
Author - Jeffrey Overstreet
Age Group - 16 and up
Positive - The forgiveness in the book was wonderful as Cal-raven pardons those that did great wrongs. Several of the people who did evil finally saw the truth about their actions and wanted to correct them. Jordam was shown to be more than what he appeared on the outside. Many of the main characters were underdogs and were strong people who became able to lead the others. The ale boy was very humble and only took authority because others looked to him. He also had a big heart and wanted to help everyone, didn't just think about himself. A woman, Brevolo, talked about the true qualities in a man which mentioned qualities that women should look for in men. Some characters died to save others.
Negative - Unfortunately, there were some stuff that brought the book down. Two people were seen naked but only one had a crude joke to go with it. The romance stuff was a little uncomfortable for me and thought some wasn't necessary (I like some romance in my books but there was something in this book makes me feel uneasy). There was a few too many love triangles (or pentagons or octagons) which made me wonder about who was truly in love with whom. One woman seemed to be throwing herself at someone, willing to come to him if he called, she said. Another character got pregnant before marriage but I do think one of the people in the relationship seemed to see that it was wrong but the book never really got into that. Something was also taken from someone by force because they knew that it would not be given to them completely but only partially (sorry if this is really vague but I don't want to give away the story).
Writing - The descriptions were intricate and detailed. They were very beautiful. In fact, there were times that they were so intricate that I got lost on what was being described but I still liked them and it made for colorful reading. It kinda reminded me of Shakespeare and how it takes a little to understand him but the language is flowers and pretty still. The author created strange creatures and weapons for his world and also, it seemed to me, gave new names to things that also exist in our world as well as that one (that made sense because, if something like a bow and arrow existed in another world, what would be the guaranty that it would have the same name there as it does here?). The diverse characters also made the book interesting. They ranged from being full of hope to completely despairing, being faithful to betrayal, and more. But I do wish that the characters' emotions had been tapped into more. I wasn't always sure of some of the characters motivations or feelings to one situation or another.
Personal Opinion - All in all, the book was an interesting analogy (at least I think it was meant to be). I was a little confused in the beginning but that was my own fault. I read book four in a series that really interconnects with each other but haven't read any of the others books (I did once read a review for book 1 and there was a short section in the beginning of this book to remind you of what has happened so far and a nice glossary on the characters in the back but I was still trying to figure it out on my feet. It didn't help either that I started it with a cold and my head was foggy). I know, that was pretty dumb but I did get past the confusion and I would have understood things better had I read the first 3 books. I am curious about the other books so I probably will read them which might help me understand things more. But, anyways, some of the romance stuff did make me a little uncomfortable and I didn't see the point why someone had to be seen naked (I could see a small lesson was being started with the pregnancy one and wish it had gone more into it). But there was many good, Christian lessons to be had in this book. Though, I understood what some of the people or situations were suppose to represent, there were some I didn't quite get. In fact, one of them, in the way I interpreted it, didn't sound Christian like and made me feel uncomfortable but I might have miss understood so I wont share anymore on it. The book ended with too many loose threads I felt, but that could mean the author might write more books but concentrate on different characters (this is a guess, not a guaranty). Perhaps the books were really only meant to cover certain characters and then leave you with the rest of them still having a chance to grown and live (still a guess). But there was still things, like the forgiveness examples and the characters actions that were positive, that I liked. The story was well told too (maybe a little rushed at the end but still good). Over all, it was a pretty good book. The descriptions and language makes this book great for an older age group who might still enjoy fantasy but doesn't want to read a book for young adults. If you are interested, just one world of advise, be smart and read the books in order. Don't be me.
Links - Learn more about the book, other books, and the author at: http://lookingcloser.org/ . You can also find information, like an excerpt, at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781400074686 . There is also an interview with the author in Family Fiction emagazine that help me understand the story a little. You can read it at: http://www.familyfiction.com/magazines/2011/mar-apr/pageflip.aspx ; on page 32.
Disclaimer - In exchange for an honest review, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
Special Notes - There are three other books in the series; Auralia's Colors, Cyndere's Midnight, and Raven's Ladder. (Book list taken from http://lookingcloser.org/ - author's website. I have not read any of them except The Ale Boy's Feast.)
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