Friday, February 18, 2011

Review: Blue by Lou Aronica

Release Date: January 16, 2011
Publisher: The Fiction Studio
Age Group: Adult or Young Adult would enjoy
Pages: 394
Source: ARC from Publisher
Interest: Fantasy
Challenge: 111 Challenge
Buy the Book: Amazon
Do not begin this novel unless you are prepared to be moved, willing to open your heart, and available to the possibility that life can bring you magic.
Chris Astor is a man in his early forties who is going through the toughest stretch of his life. Becky is Chris's fourteen-year-old daughter, a girl who overcame enormous challenges to become a vibrant, vital young woman - and now faces her greatest obstacle yet. Miea is the young queen of a fantasy land that Becky and Chris created when Becky was little, a fantasy land that has developed a life of its own and now finds itself in terrible, maybe fatal trouble. Together, Chris, Becky, and Miea need to uncover a secret. The secret to why their worlds have joined at this moment. The secret to their purpose. The secret to the future. It is a secret that, when discovered, will redefine imagination for all of them. Blue is a novel of trial and hope, invention and rediscovery. It might very well take you someplace you never knew existed.
The first bit of the novel was a little slow going, but after about a quarter of the way through things pick up so quickly and are so magical that you won't be able to put this book down. The part that makes this novel so magical are the trips that Becky and Chris take to Tamarisk - where anything you could possibly imagine could be there - surroundings that are bright and colourful, musically appealing, texturally pleasing, intriguing to touch or intoxicating to smell.

The fact that we get to see Becky's life in two completely different worlds is spectacular - from her time in her everyday life to her time spent in Tamarisk. Once Becky finds that she can travel to the land of Tamarisk, the fantasy land that she created with her father when she was younger and very ill, she does everything she can to spend time there. Who could blame her when all of your senses are tickled at one time.
"They made a left turn and went through a doorway outside. Becky received an immediate sensory barrage. The colors were almost physically overwhelming. Of course, there was blue everywhere — Becky thought having blue leaves in Tamarisk rather than green was a fun twist — but so many other colors were totally new to her. Was this what aquamaroon looked like? Could that lemon-tangerine-melon bloom be the color she named juce?"
Queen Miea, of Tamarisk, sort of becomes like a big sister to Becky while she is visiting the fantasy land. It is interesting to see how the relationship between the two evolves even during times of distress - such as the blight that is killing the plants in Tamarisk or the fact the Becky might be sick again. They lean on one another for support without overwhelming the other. A wonderful new friendship emerges.

Though the story is of the fantasy genre, it is also about love, hope and family. Throughout the story you get to see the love between father and daughter bloom once again - it had withered away for a short time. You will also find hope - that hope is what keeps us going no matter the challenges we are given in life. And family - the knowledge that not all families are alike and none are perfect, but that family must come together to make it through tough times.

I actually cried a few times while reading this book because I was so moved by the scenes unfolding before my eyes. I love it when a book can evoke such strong emotions and can make you invest in the characters to the point of laughing out loud or bringing tears to your eyes. This book is one of the rare gems that was able to do this for me.

I think the best thing to take away from this book is the knowledge that life is a gift to be cherished, it is a gift to be nourished, and it is a gift to be remembered once it's gone. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you made a difference in someones life - whether it be giving them hope when they might have lost it, or cheering them on when they need that extra little push. 

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