Colorworld by Rachel E Kelly is a new adult paranormal romance about a girl who, after a seemingly innocuous treatment for allergies, discovers that her skin is deadly. People die if she touches them. As you can imagine, this is a pretty life-altering development that throws up many challenges. Wendy wants to get rid of the curse, and the only people who look like they can help her are the people that caused the ‘ability’ to rise in the first place. She goes to a private facility where she meets Gabe. Wendy is also highly empathetic. She can feel other people’s emotions, so she gets to know Gabe in a fairly deep way in a short period of time. The prospect of a relationship with no touching seems like a dead end so, despite being as enamoured with him as he is with her, she rebuffs his advances, and so begins the romance.
Apart from the beginning and the end, there is little action, and some fans of the paranormal may find it a little slow because of it. It’s primarily a romance, so the story focuses on how Gabe and Wendy work things out. This is set against the backdrop of a ‘mentor’, Louise, that neither of them trust, along with the frustration of finding that she either can’t help Wendy or doesn‘t want to. As the end of the book draws near, it becomes clear that Louise has a hidden agenda, one that does not want Wendy to lose her deadly ‘ability.’
In terms of action, the best part of this book is the ending. The pace picks up, the stakes rise and the evil witch is revealed. The rest of the book goes deeply into Wendy’s character, her feelings for Gabe and her discovery and experience of the colorworld, the energetic world that only she can see. Her empathetic ability also allows us to get a good character study of Gabe, who is a delightful character.
The prose is unpretentious and reads smoothly, and the descriptions of the colorworld and of how Wendy experiences Gabe’s emotions are highly evocative. Overall it’s a well-crafted book with a unique premise and a lot of potential for sequels. My only criticism is that the middle of the book could be tightened up, because aspects of Wendy’s introspection sometimes seem to go over similar ground and the descriptions of her feeling’s for Gabe are a little repetitive. One’s capacity for such things is highly subjective, and young romance readers will probably enjoy every bit of it. I also felt that this large middle section could have done with a little more tension to keep the reader eagerly flicking pages. The book was sometimes too easy to set down. All up though, it’s a solid work that sets the scene for some interesting sequels.
Great cover too.