What I liked better, for sure, was the more defined third person point-of-view, getting closer to the characters, getting into their skins, feeling what makes them tick. I also liked that there was more action, and a more discernable plot line. I'd loved the poetic grace of Jeffrey Overstreet's prose in the first book, but I have to say that it wasn't greatly diminished by the faster pace of book two. This is a strong, well-written book.
The Christian Manifesto posted an interview with Overstreet in which they discussed Cyndere's Midnight. Feel free to read the whole thing, but here are a couple of bits I'd like to explore further.
I was five years old. I saw an ad for Jaws in the paper. You know the ad—that famous image of the swimmer, and the beast rising up from underneath. That picture still scares me. It made quite an impression on my five-year-old imagination. And for the first time, I coped with my fear by writing a story about it. It was called “The Sea Monster,” 9 or 10 pages of green paper with felt-tip pen drawings, stapled together. I have it in a file somewhere. It was just a story in drawings, but I turned it into an epic battle between a swimmer and a thing with massive jaws. I just had to resolve that tension, that closing gap between the woman and the monster.
Now, Cyndere’s Midnight is in bookstores—and what is it? Well, on one level, it’s a story about a beautiful woman and a monster with big teeth… and that scary space between them.
I have to say I didn't see anything of the movie Jaws in this novel, so I found it intensely interesting that Overstreet sees this novel as his interpretation of the concept.
The interviewer asked again, more specifically, what this book was about. Here is the answer:
After Auralia’s Colors, I wanted to explore what might happen if a beastman came into contact with the same mysterious beauty that Auralia unleashed upon the world. Right away, I realized that this story was a strange variation on “Beauty and the Beast.” But in my version, “beauty” meant something different. Here was a woman broken by grief, and a man broken by a curse. Both were drawn to the same magical, beautiful place. Their shared experience of that beauty became the core of the story.
From this quote I gather that Overstreet's theme for Cyndere's Midnight is that of healing the brokenness. Many people have difficult things in their lives. Some--a few--have been truly broken by deep pain. It is to these that Overstreet extends his story of healing. Tomorrow we'll look at the opening sequence, where you'll get an idea of what pain is found in the midnight Cyndere endures.