Monday, May 16, 2011

CSFF Blog Tour: "The Ale Boy's Feast" Day One

I feel a little unready for this. Part of the reason was because I thought I was going to get a review copy of this month's book, namely The Ale Boy's Feast by Jeffrey Overstreet. So I kept waiting for it and waiting for it until I realized, about a week ago, that said review copy wasn't coming. So I put in a reserve at a nearby Barnes and Noble and ran to go get it. I am not complaining about the lack of review copy. I'm just saying I didn't get my hands on this book until recently. As of right now, I'm only about 2/3s of the way through the book and I'm not sure when I'll get it finished. My family and I are in the middle of a home improvement marathon (the actual work, not the TV show), so it might not be until Tuesday or even Wednesday.

So I figured what I'd do is talk about my raw impressions of the book. I have no idea how the many plot threads will finally tie together. I don't even know that they will.

My initial thought is that I should have started preparing for this final book in the Auralia's thread series a lot earlier than I did. I'm not talking about getting the book earlier. I mean I should have read the previous three. I only read Raven's Ladder a year ago, but apparently that was too long to trust my memory. I remember King Cal-Raven. I remember Scharr Ben Fray. I remember Krawg and Warney and Jordam and Cyndere. And I remember the titular ale boy. But all of the minor characters? Yeah, I don't remember most of them. Worse, I don't remember how most of those main characters were left at the end of the last book. The first third of this book left me completely lost and, I'll be honest, a little disgruntled. It's one thing to dump a reader mid-series into a plot with a few characters. It's entirely another when your cast numbers in the hundreds. Even now, I'm still not sure I know who everyone is, and that's problematic for me and, I would think, problematic from a craft stand-point. This means that absolutely no one can board the story late. Someone picking up this book would have absolutely no idea what is going on and, I think, would stop reading midway through.

That aside, I am liking what's happening. The stakes are high for the myriad characters and Overstreet's prose is excellent, as always. I just wish I wasn't so lost.

Well, come back tomorrow and see if I have any more thoughts rattling around in my brain. Maybe I'll be done by then, maybe I won't. We'll just have to see.

Go and check out what the other tourists have to say. Hopefully they all finished the book (unlike me):

Gillian Adams
Red Bissell
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
Shane Deal
Chris Deane
Cynthia Dyer
Andrea Graham
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Dawn King
Inae Kyo
Shannon McDermott
Shannon McNear
Karen McSpadden
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
Sarah Sawyer
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler

1 comment:

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

I was unsettled as you were, John. I did discover (too late to help me over the first third) that there's a character list in the back.

I think there was another problem going besides the time and the number of characters--maybe two. First, the multiple POVs mean I don't get close to anyone, don't see the others from the eyes of that one or two main characters I've grown to love. I didn't, frankly, love any of them.

The other factor is that many of the chapters, especially the early ones, started us with a character whose identity we had to figure out. I was OK with that the first time, especially when we finally found out who the cart driver was. But when the same sleuthing was needed for Cal-raven and then the Ale Boy, well ... I was disgruntled.

Apparently this was not a common reaction, however. Interesting.