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Review: Colorworld by Rachel E Kelly

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To get to know someone’s writing is to get to know them as an individual . After meeting Rachel E. Kelly and her husband personally, I was excited to read ‘Colorworld’. Three busy weeks later, here we are. 

Wendy, our burdened protagonist, is our guide through her spiritually refreshing and self-titled “colorworld”. There is more to Wendy than just the ink on the page, however. Kelly gifts Wendy with so much charisma, sensibility, and minute detail it is clear she loves her characters; they are a part of her. Kelly puts so much of her soul into her writing it is nearly impossible not to cheer Wendy on from chapter one. 

‘Colorworld’ delves into the topic of alternative spirituality, giving great detail to life forces and the abilities we all secretly possess if we reach down deep enough. It is a genuinely original and enrapturing idea that makes the old cliche about using the gun you have introduced into the scene an understatement. No matter what spiritual belief you wear coming into ‘Colorworld’, you will leave with a confident interest in the unseen. 

A great deal of narrative energy is spent on a romance that feels disingenuous and, honestly, is difficult to slog through at times. Wendy and her metaphorical partner-in-crime, Gabe (although I greatly prefer Gabriel), share a relationship that bears real emotional and narrative weight, but the attraction is lost to the reader. The fact that even Wendy and Gabe’s fictitious romance is drawn in loving detail from Kelly’s heart is worthy of a hat tip but, just like the colorworld, is invisible unless you see it from behind the printer. The story tends to feel slowed down considerably at points, momentum lost in the outside-looking-in moments shared between Wendy, Gabe, and Kelly. 

‘Colorworld’ is the first book in the Colorworld series and, after finishing the book, my fears have been confirmed: I need more. It is a ravenous, nerdy need to know what happens next. An insatiable hunger that, left unsated, transforms into wonderful, wonderful obsession. An illustrated edition of ‘Colorworld’ is also available, featuring a menagerie of artists hand-picked by Kelly and her husband. The couple also have a comic edition of the story in the works, and what more reason do you need to read it than all the pretty pictures? 

Reviewed by Catherine Mesure

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