Colours

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 May 2019

Member Reviews

An excellent debut novel.  The characters were likeable and real, I cared about their stories and I was sad when it ended.   Not overly heavy into the Sci fi/fantasy theme. Looking forward to the next one already.
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Colours is an exceptional book. The story kind of grabs you and wrestles you down into the gritty mud of adolescence: metaphorical skinned knees, bloody nose; it's like a bike wreck. Crombie makes sure we'll be picking gravel from our road-rash for days to come. Yes. It's that good. Or that bad. 
It's that Real.
I cant wait for Charlie's next adventure.
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Charlie is a teenager who like many teens, trying to find his place in a new school environment. Things don't come easy as he's bullied by a boy he's named "Greasy" and his cronies.  After being hurt he's starts to see Colours but not understanding what this really means.  

The writer spends a lot of time developing the main and supporting characters.  This isn't a fast paced, action-filled type of book.  The reader may find themselves liking Charlie and his quirks.  What a reader might struggle with is Mina an 11 year-old who plays an important part in Charlie's development.  Her voice may seem strange as it's a much older persona, not your typical pre-teen.  

If you're looking for a fresh voice and character development with a YA and Sci-Fi combination, this is one to look at.
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This book follows our main character Charlie, who moves to a new school and is bullied. But upon recovery after a terrible incident, he is hospitalised and starts to see colour. I loved the premise of the book and Charlie was an amazing protagonist. But the writing fell a bit flat for me and left me wanting more from the story. Still, I enjoyed the plot and I can't wait to see what the author does next!
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Alright, this wasn't bad. It was written by a new author and you could feel that in the writing but it still wasn't bad. I loved the idea of these colours, an organisation, all the mystery and supernatural element - all made for a good read. 
And yeah, it really wasn't bad. 
The writing was a bit janky. Especially at the beginning when I was just getting into the story and it felt like it zig-zagged around the place, abrupt and sharp without much natural flow. But you get used to it. 
The first 100 pages or so are kind of unnecessary. obviously very important in explaining WHEN he got his powers and the situation surrounding them but that could have probably been pushed into a prologue - or a couple of chapters. It was there to build up his character, I think, but unnecessary.
Those are just a couple of notes though. Overall, good story. Hopefully, the writing will be smoothed out in the second book but, other than that, really worth a read!
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Colours is a special novel and is clearly a set up for a series. If you are after self-contained, fast-paced action, do not come here. The focus of this book is very much on character and situational development. As a result, we have a very well developed Charlie, who has a very wonderful relationship with his father. We see his struggles in moving to a new place and the bullying that occurs, setting the stage for the unleashing of his gift. Charlie is a very mature young man, not a typical 16-year-old. This can be justified by how he has had to grow up; some may find him too atypical, but as a high school teacher, I find that more and more, 16-year-olds are actually reaching this level of maturity, for good or bad. The concept of Colours is very interesting and I am very much looking forward to the next book.
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Colours by Alastair Crombie 

Wow at first I didn’t like this book at all but the more I got towards the end it started picking up and I fell in love with it. It’s a hard book to start and get sucked into it but I loved it! 

4 stars
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Thank you, NetGalley, for providing me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review! 

Charlie (not Charles) is the new kid at school. Raised by a single dad, Charlie is witty, sweet, and just wants to get off this God forsaken island and get back to the town they moved away from. This feeling is amplified when Greasy and his lackeys beat the ever-loving shit out Charlie on the first day of school, landing him in the hospital. Charlie's problems don't just begin and end with being the school pariah - Charlie starts to see Colours? Wait, no really, those people are surrounded by soft glowing Colours! It must be the trauma... Except its not. Soon, Charlie is thrust into a secret society where he is not alone in his abilities and where a secret war wages that he will be forced to join against his better wishes. 

Mr. Crombie, you have done a magnificent job making Charlie come to life. This is the type of character that I laugh with, cry with, want to smack him, and want to hug him. His voice is strong and clear. He is witty and lovable. 

"My oasis is a desert if embarrassment, a desk to call my own."

This is true for most of the characters in Colours. From Charlie's dad to Jo, from James to even Rafaela.

Speaking of Charlie's dad, next to Jo and Mina, he was my favorite support character. His love and belief for Charlie were infectious. 

"'Can I get you anything?" Dad shouted from the kitchen. "A new spleen?" "All out. I'll see what I can find at the supermarket." ... Dad handed me a can of liquid sugar and a bag of chemical goodness. "That will have to do until I can buy some new organs. Do you think they'll be in the deli or the frozen section?'"

I cannot wait to read the second book in the series and see what happens with Charlie. I hope Charlie can get over his awkwardness a bit and see that Jo is just as interested in him as he is in her!
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This book follow a story of Charlie, a new student whose bullied on the first day of his new school. The bullying get so bad that Charlie need to stay on the hospital and then he start seeing color. 
From there it fast forward until Charlie is expected to graduate, and instead of going to school of his choice, he was approached by the institute and the adventure is officially begin. 

Well, this book is enjoyable, the plot twist keep me on my toes and I love how the author construct the fantasy world. The ending also a good bridging for the sequel that I can't wait to read. 

Thank you netgalley and BooksGoSocial for providing the arc.
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To tell you the truth, I saw this book listed under ‘New Titles’ on NetGalley, and I really just liked the cover so much that I requested it (it’s free to download!!). The “Letter to the reader” at the start of the book was surprisingly touching. Mr. Crombie is an independent author, and this is his debut novel. I wish I’d liked it more, and I feel guilty about my rating, but I’m here to be honest. 

Personally, this is one of the first times (that I can think of) where I’ve ever come across a book in which the author is so new and unknown, and for the most part, it is a good effort. The foundations for an involving story are present, but it needs editing. The plot progression was clunky; there is very little build-up or elaboration, and not much happens. Right off the bat, much of the dialogue felt clipped and choppy, and the short sentences gave an abrupt presentation of the story. The bullies were ridiculous. I don’t find it very believable that Charlie would be attacked within the first, like, 10 pages. There was no reasoning behind it— unless you take in that Charlie was the new kid from England? Flimsy motivation for such a physical attack, if you ask me. Charlie literally sat down in his first class, and one of the students turned to him and said he’s going to kill him ??? It came way out of left field and made zero sense.

The first half of the book I’d classify on the younger end of the YA genre, as Charlie is thirteen (for about the first 30% of the story- Part 1), and the content somewhat tame compared to other similar works. I’m also not the biggest fan of first person present narration. Sometimes descriptive passages and action can seem like it is being listed... it takes me out of the story. Scenes skipped around abruptly from one to the next without any sort of transition whatsoever. Passages of time were not accentuated, so there was a lot of confusion about the WHAT was happening in the story, and the WHEN it was— Did a few hours just pass? A day? A week? More effort should have been put into filling in the enormous gaps in the timeline. I think it was an attempt to get to the part of the book where Charlie is 16, but not make it seem rushed?

I know next-to-nothing about the sport of Cricket, and there was no explanation to the game itself, so a few game scenes went right over my head:
”Just protect your wicket,” Andrew greeted me as I arrived. “Keep your pads out of the way, if the ball hits them it’ll be out. That’s the umpire’s son bowling. Get to the end of the over and I’ll try and keep the strike as much as I can.”
??????
“I was standing at deep square leg, right on the boundary, for one of our spin bowlers when the batsmen tried for maximum over my head.”
???????
I simply attribute this to my lack of knowledge of most sports, as well as of Britain in general.

One thing I really enjoyed was why and how the Institute operated. The idea is unique and interesting, and the thought of “guardians” made me happy: that they protected and “guarded” the people who made genuine, life-altering connections. However, I think Charlie’s power of being able to make/influence connections between people could be problematic. If something’s meant to be, but doesn’t happen, how can you then force two people into something? It felt wrong; like their autonomy/free will was being taken away from them. I know this wasn’t the author’s intention for it to be perceived this way, but it’s kind of sketchy. At one point, they even say it’s “manipulating connections.”

At the halfway mark, when Mina is introduced, the plot and pace seemed to pick up and move in the right direction. I was glad of it, because everything else before was uneventful.

Might I add:
•If I ever see the words ”charcoal grey and cream” again I’ll scream! (... even if grey IS my favorite color).
•A personal grievance with YA lit is introducing a romantic element to every goddamn story, and this book started its rounds with Charlie and Jo. The love interest angle is so superficial, too.
•The two deaths in this book I have major problems with, but I can’t say much more without spoiling it.

Although I wanted to give this a higher rating, I had to be true to my experience reading it. I understand it may appear a more negative than positive review, but let it be known I have discovered that it truly makes me happy to support indie authors. Just a suggestion: Give your money to more deserving authors— especially within the YA field!

(I seriously hope this doesn’t sound patronizing, but) I would definitely like to see more from Mr. Crombie. I hope he keeps writing, pushing forward, and honing his craft/dreams.

Many thanks to the author, NetGalley, and BooksGoSocial for making this copy available to read.
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So this book tells us the story of Charlie, a teenager who moves to a new school and gets bullied pretty badly. He then starts hallucinating colors. We join him as he learns what the colors are and joins an organisation for people like him. 

I haven't read fantasy ya for a while so it was refreshing to read that genre again. I found the plot engaging. I couldn't predict any plot point, I was really on my toes. 

There were a few problems with this book but these problems didn't harm my enjoyment of this book. Even if I enjoyed reading it, looking back I realize there are some issues that could be worked on for the sequel (which I'd love to read!). 

I found that the beginning was unnecessarily long. 100 pages pass by and a lot happens in Charlie's life but not much happens that furthers the actual plot (the colours!). It is meant to set up his character but honestly, for me, it didn't. 

Charlie's character needs some more work. 16 year olds aren't like this. I found his character's behavior a little abrupt at times. He has this very mature style of thinking that felt more like a 30 year old than a 16 year old. He was throwing around commands and acting like he is used to making big complicated plans. I didn't find it believable character development. 

As a reader, I don't entirely understand why colours matter. Is this a supernatural thing? A gift thing? I'm excited to get answers but I hope they'll be satisfying. 

I hated Mina. I really did. I found her obnoxious and I didn't like her "I'm so intelligent and know everything" vibe. It made it hard to connect to her and so, as the plot continued, I simply didn't care. The only positive thing about her was the description of her Norwegian accent. 

There were some typos. Nothing too serious but yeah, I recommend an editor goes over this again just to make sure. 

Other than that, I have high hopes for this book! It's a debut and I truly believe the author (who seems like such a sweet and kind person based on his author's notes) has potential to make this series a ya classic. Looking forward to hearing more about Charlie!
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