Award-winning author Ross MacKenzie has come up with a terrific story here, and the title is very clever, too. In the Dominion, most of the world is in shades of grey, as the Emperor, or rather his evil aunt, a Necromancer, has stolen all the colour, and they keep it for themselves, enjoying its life-giving power. On a magically protected farm, an artistic boy called Darroch wishes on a shooting star that somebody would bring the colour back, and, on that very evening, a light brown baby girl is born. Whatever is touching her takes on colour – her blanket, her mother’s skin – and her parents know that she is grave danger, so they try to take her far from the city, but the Emperor’s Ripper Dogs and the Black Coats are soon in pursuit. Her parents are killed, but she is rescued by the mage Sandy Burns and his talking dog, Oliver, and they become her family. Sandy gives the baby, whom he names Hope, a potion to hide her colour, but as she grows up she realises that she must bring colour back to the world.
This is very inventive – there is a wonderful wyvern, Elmo, a wicked Baba who keeps animals in cages in her chicken shack, and a patchwork boy, Odd, as her slave, until Hope thinks of a rescue plan. Death is an eccentric female character ruling over the desert of bones, with the Ferryman, and she tries to understand humans. Living people may accompany their loved ones a little way as they cross to the other side, which is a rather nice idea.
We follow Darroch, 6 years after The Wish, 8 years after The Wish, and so on, and finally he joins the Rainbow League, a resistance movement. Both he and Hope have lots of adventures before they meet in the final battle to overcome the Emperor and the Necromancer. There are surprises, and some people die, before colour is of course, restored. It’s a very Scottish story, with some use of dialect, but everything is made perfectly clear. Ross MacKenzie has written many and varied excellent books, and your reviewer enjoyed this one tremendously.
Read our Authorgraph interview with Ross MacKenzie too.