I picked up this book because I had a lot of fun with this author’s “The Year of Secret Assignments,” but this book ended up not being anything like that. In fact, I don’t think this book is quite like anything else I’ve read before.
Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello – where seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn of attacks from dangerous Colours.
They are worlds apart – until a crack opens up between them; a corner of white – the slim seam of a letter.
A mesmerising story of two worlds; the cracks between them, the science that binds them and the colours that infuse them.
So what we’ve got is two teens living in different worlds (one in Cambridge, England, and the other in the imaginary kingdom of Cello), who accidentally end up being able to correspond with each other through a crack between the worlds. That part of the story isn’t the unique part. But you see, the kingdom of Cello, though essentially modern, not only has typical fantasy elements (dragons, werewolves, and a fairy-like creature called the Butterfly Child), it also gets attacked by various Colors. Yes, Colors as in colors: red, blue, purple, etc. I’m still not sure how it works, but the malignant Colors can do a lot of damage. In general, the Colors, like the rest of the world building in Cello, are a fun concept, but you can’t think too hard about any of it because things aren’t really explained.
As for what I thought about the book, my feelings are mixed. I enjoyed the writing style—it was creative and whimsical, and there were quite a few passages that I found myself marking to come back to and soak in again. Creative and whimsical generally describe the plot as well, but honestly, for the first two-thirds of the book, I was left wondering what the point was. Because the story didn’t seem to be moving in any discernible direction. Elliot and Madeleine write to each other, they live their day-to-day lives, and there’s a lot thrown in about Isaac Newton, but other than that, the plot didn’t really go anywhere.
The last third of the book, however, was pretty good. Not only did the story finally gain some momentum, but Elliot and Madeleine both discover that their lives and certain things in their lives aren't what they thought, and the author handled those discoveries quite well. There’s also a big reveal at the end that I certainly wasn’t expecting, so I rather enjoyed that.
Overall, while I don’t think I’ll be reading the rest of the series, I don’t feel like this book was a waste of time or anything. The author’s obviously got some serious skill with words, so even when the story felt aimless, I could at least enjoy the writing.
Rating: 3 / 5