Though this post won't publish till February 18, I'm composing it a few days earlier, having just finished reading Cyndere's Midnight by Jeffrey Overstreet.
Happily, the book finished better than I expected when I was foundering among earlier chapters, and I'm glad I stuck with it. I might even track backward in time and check out Aurelia's Colors, the first in the series.
The "Beauty and the Beast" theme is only one in the book, but it's the backbone. Beautiful or beastly behaviors and attitudes are exhibited in unlikely people, adding interest to the tale, and some character truths are not revealed until the end.
I didn't really connect to many of the characters in Cyndere's Midnight, but I'm interested in following Jordam the beastman's story, and the ale boy's, and would like to see them figure prominently in the third book of the series, Cal-raven's Ladder (the title of which I read somewhere I can no longer recall).
However, I know the deftness required in weaving together the many strands of a large tale, and how certain characters can overtake the pattern. There are a couple characters in my fantasy novels that some readers want more of, but those characters cannot carry the burden of the plot; they are the binding at the edges, not the whole cloth.
So, back to Cyndere's Midnight: I recommend it to readers who have either read Aurelia's Colors or who have the patience to wait for the good stuff. They will be rewarded.
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