A few weeks ago, I read the finale of one of the best fantasy series I have read. I have been a devoted reader of The Auralia Thread since I read the first book, Auralia’s Colors, almost four years ago. The fourth and final book, The Ale Boy’s Feast, did not disappoint me. My strong attachment to the books has made approaching this review a bit overwhelming. I just don’t think I can do justice to the beauty and complexity of the story, the characters, and the fictional world of the Expanse that emerged so eloquently from Jeffrey Overstreet’s imagination. His writing inspires me. In fact, reading Auralia’s Colors partly deserves the credit for rekindling my lifelong desire to write.
I cannot write about The Ale Boy’s Feast without writing about my impressions of the series as a whole. The books are inseparable. They must be read in order. I would recommend The Auralia Thread to anybody who appreciates beautiful, almost poetic prose, and complex fantasy. There are a lot of characters, and most of them are intricately developed, complete with flaws, far from squeaky clean. It is admittedly not for everyone, however. If you don’t have the patience to start from the beginning and truly immerse yourself in the Expanse and invest yourself in the lives of the characters, then don’t bother. It is not an easy read. There are complex themes intwined in the story, challenging the reader to deeply consider such things as art, beauty, God, the Truth, and more. If you expect a cut and dry message or lesson from The Auralia Thread, you will be disappointed, because it is so much more than that.
The world of the Expanse is made up of four kingdoms or houses, each very different and none of them truly friendly with the others. The people of one house have succumbed to a horrible curse that has turned them into savage beastmen who are feared and despised by all. The series is primarily about House Abascar, where, in the beginning of the series, colors are illegal and imagination and exploration are suppressed. Enter Auralia, an orphan girl of unknown origin, who tries to wake up Abascar to the beauty around them and to the unknown. The series follows the people most affected by Auralia and her revolutionary view of the world. They fight against and flee a growing evil even worse than the house of the beastmen, an evil that is literally taking over the Expanse. That’s the series in a very small & insufficient nutshell. I really can’t say much more without going on and on and probably giving away some important details that are best discovered in the reading of the story. You really just have to read it.
The Ale Boy’s Feast is the conclusion of the story and does a very good job of wrapping it all up. Most of the loose ends are tied up, but not always in the ways you would expect. Where would be the fun in that anyway? There are some questions that Overstreet intentionally left unanswered, and that’s okay. A little bit of mystery is good. I don’t want everything handed to me on a silver platter. The right kind of questions, even left unanswered, can lead us to the greatest and most beautiful Mystery of all.
I would like to thank the author, Jeffrey Overstreet, for sharing his inspiration, his heart, his vision with the world. Thank you for The Auralia Thread. I love it, and I hope many others will come to love it, too. It’s just too good to be kept a secret.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I did, however, buy the first three books on my own.
You can buy The Ale Boy’s Feast by Jeffrey Overstreet here.