If a reader wonders why the second in the Auralia’s Colors series is titled “Cyndere’s Midnight,” Overstreet wastes no time answering him. Heiress to the Bel Amican throne, Cyndere, is grieving the loss of her father and brother, thinking she would not throw herself into the sea that day, when she hears of the death of her husband, Deuneroi. In time, she goes to an outpost named Tilianpurth to mourn, but many around her don’t know how to help, and being royalty, she will not take difficult counsel easily.
Elsewhere, a band of four beastmen roam the wilderness, killing children and traders. The beastmen are monsters, men mixed with many other animal forms. They were cursed long ago by wicked strangers with unknown motives. One them, Jordam, has stumbled onto a supernatural, dragon-like monster called The Keeper, and in a way it has shocked him into new life. Jordam was physically and emotionally broken when he ran from The Keeper. Those wounds and Auralia’s artwork began to heal him.
The hope of redemption is a major theme in this adventure. Cyndere and Deuneroi hope to overcome the curse of the beastmen. The ale boy has earned the name Rescue by the people he has given his life to save. Auralia, though only a background character in this story, continues her influence on many people with her infectious love of life and endurance of her artwork.
But it isn’t as if Auralia is the one light of goodness in a dark world. Overstreet’s fantastic setting teems with life as if created by a wild and loving god. Colors found everywhere and the pure water of the deep well depicted on the cover give an enchanted life to those who absorb them. It’s part of the magical fiber threaded throughout. It’s one of many things I love about this series, which I believe deserves a place on your bookself.