Will These Books “Grab You By the Throat”?

I’m almost always surprised when I come across new reviews of my four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread.

It’s never going to be a best-selling series. It isn’t about a girl and the boys who are competing for her. It isn’t about zombies or vampires or werewolves (although it does have beastmen, who are kind of like all three). It spends as much time on quiet moments as loud moments, and reveals that I’m as interested in environments as characters, as intrigued by the interior lives of my characters as I am by any action.

But it seems to have found a few readers out there who enjoy the same kind of story I do.

This review by Lindsay Marshall at Wheatstone Ministries came as a very pleasant surprise.

Here’s an excerpt…

Fantasy tends toward heavy-handed symbolism, but in the Auralia Thread, Overstreet pushes his readers to decipher its symbols without the aid of exposition. It’s the kind of deft writing that leads the reader through a Socratic experience. Overstreet’s beastmen of Cent Regus, for example, would be simple knockoffs of Tolkein’s orcs in any other series, a clearly evil group of enemies who may justifiably be destroyed by triumphant heroes. Instead, Overstreet asks us if we should be rooting for their redemption, not their destruction.

Jeffrey Overstreet writes like Van Gogh painted. I had the opportunity to see some of Van Gogh’s finest works at an exhibit at San Francisco’s De Young Museum. It was like walking through an explosion of creative beauty. Van Gogh’s use of color, his bold, even violent brushstrokes that leave great gobs of glistening paint on the canvas draw the viewer into the world as Van Gogh saw it, swirling with passionate beauty. I stood before Starry Night Over the Rhone (1888) for what felt like hours. I wasn’t in a museum, I was outside looking up at the stars. That’s the power of his work. It grabs you by the throat, overwhelms you with beauty, and makes it impossible for you to look at the objects he painted the same way again. He created worlds that are at once utterly familiar and completely alien. Those worlds become hard to resist.

Overstreet is a literary impressionist…

A review like that makes me glad I spent the decade-and-a-half that I did on these books.

But I sure hope that my own life story concludes differently than Van Gogh’s.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.


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