Series: The Colors of Madeleine #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Format: Digital Galley
Source: Received for review from publisher via NetGalley
The first in a rousing, funny, genre-busting trilogy from bestseller Jaclyn Moriarty!
This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world).
Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot's dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth.
As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds -- through an accidental gap that hasn't appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called "color storms;" a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the "Butterfly Child," whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses...(Summary from Goodreads.com)
Okay, so...this book. There have been some good, some bad, some in between things said about this book. I went into this book utterly unsure. In all honesty, I'd advise people to go into this book with hesitancy, especially if you are not overly experienced in the fantasy genre (like me) and don't have patience to pick through the world building (like me).
Let me just say, the first 120 pages or so were not a good experience for me. I was confused, bored, and failed to see a plot. I think the author was trying to get the worldbuilding and characterization out of the way, but by golly it could have been done better. There were parts of the worldbuilding I liked, like the little excerpts from the travel guide, or the newspaper from the Princesses. I think in the end, the Kingdom of Cello became more alive to me than Cambridge (which is our world). But really, I didn't feel connected to either of the worlds--or any of the characters. In the beginning it was worse. The dialogue was weird, their actions confused me. I guess there came a point where it all clicked and I began to understand them (though I think the writing sort of changed throughout and that's why it became less confusing), but I still couldn't connect to them. I was reading about their struggles and I was thinking, "Gee, I really hope they find a solution," but I was not immersed in their characters. I didn't really feel anything for them. Half the time, I didn't even know what they were feeling.
Eventually the plot picked up too and became more clear, and more interesting. I think there was a lot of fluff building up to the guts in Cambridge. Like random, nonsensical conversations without relevance (which I think were for characterization purposes but really just annoyed me). I really did enjoy all that was going on in The Kingdom of Cello, like the Butterfly Child, the color attacks, the missing persons reports, the Twicklehams. There was more going on in Cello than in Cambridge and the book would have been entirely more interesting if the author matched the amount of eventfulness in Cambridge to the amount of eventfulness in Cello. To me, it felt like Moriarty needed to include the real world side because of the crack, but the plot wasn't as developed or interesting as it could have been. And, even though Cambridge is a whole other country than me, it didn't feel like it took place in our modern world (which is what made the pop-culture references seem out of place).
To top it all off, the writing wasn't even the greatest. Sometimes I didn't really know what the author was trying to say, and I skimmed over some things, and there were random pop culture references thrown in. There were a lot of things that felt stilted, or awkward. However, I did enjoy all the facts. About Isaac Newton and colors. I found it interesting and there were quite a few insightful things mixed in with all of it that I made sure to commit to memory.
This grew into something interesting, though not altogether entertaining. I don't think I'd recommend this to teenagers, especially the ones who aren't avid readers. It wasn't my favorite, but I think more mature teens and adults could find it a worthwhile read. I will definitely be reading the second one, because with the majority of characterization and worldbuilding out of the way, and hopefully more plot in the way, I'm thinking it could be real good.