- Where it Rains in Color
Author: Denise Crittendon
Publisher: Angry Robot Books
- ISBN: 9781915202123
- Published: December 2022
- Pages: 408
- Format reviewed: Paperback
- Review date: 05/12/2022
- Language: English
The future is full of an almost infinite sea of possibilities and that’s what makes science fiction such a great genre. Whilst I may imagine a dystopian future of bleak radioactive zombies, you may think of a utopia. The best books should be a mix of the two, a dark future with a glimmer of hope, or a land of plenty that may be built on loose foundations. On the surface the world of Denise Crittendon’s Where it Rains in Color seems like the perfect future, but in this society based around a rigid structure how do those at the bottom of the rung think about the top?
Swazembi is considered a Utopia, one of the centres of tourism in the known universe. One of the biggest attractions is the Rare Indigo, a chosen member of the land who has the most magnificent shimmer. Lileala has been training all her life and has been newly announced as the Rare, but she has also started to hear voices and can’t tell anybody. When her skin starts to lose its shimmer and instead becomes covered in sores her place as the Rare is threatened. Lileala must leave her guilded cage and seek a cure, she will learn more about other cultures, but also more about herself.
I read a lot of different futures and Color is one of the most dynamic and different I have read in recent years. Crittendon has created a mixture of cyberpunk and magical realism. Not only have they created Swazembi, but also several others. How these different places interact are key to the story. We see this society through the eyes of Lileala, someone who has always thought for themselves, but from a place of privilege. We learn alongside Lileala what this Utopia is really like.
The world building is great, but it the story of Lileala’s journey that is the heart. This is a character who seems to have a idea of who they are and where they are going, only for it to be shattered. She meets new people she would never have been in contact with and it chances her insight, but also her powers. Like Lileala, the reader is hit with new people, places and concepts. It can be a little overwhelming as Crittendon has explored so many elements in one story, but Lileala keeps the story driving in the right direction and always acts as it’s centre.
There is a lot to enjoy in Color just through the vibrancy and number of ideas. The world building is excellent, down to the level that different people have their own way of talking, so you get a subtle sense of place. It is a full on story that has new ideas and characters being introduced throughout, but you have to enjoy the sense of enthusiasm and magic that the book brings.
Written on 5th December 2022 by Sam Tyler .