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Saturday, 14 September 2013

All the Colours of Love by Jessica Freely ****

Okay, to review. Firstly I would say I was given a copy of this book for an HONEST review.

This book was unlike any I had read before. It's a YA sci-fi book and I have to admit, though I love fantasy I have read very little sci-fi. That said I thoroughly enjoyed it - to the point that I was almost late for work because, yeah, I just need to finish this bit.

The two main characters were Harry and Antonin. Harry's dad is an evil super-villain and Antonin's family is just plain weird. As well as his mum, he has an android aunt and an aquatic plant man for an uncle. The two boys end up sharing a room at college and eventually Antonin breaks down Harry's carefully constructed barriers, to become his friend. Unfortunately Harry's dad is not against using this as a tool to get what he wants. He's also not afraid to end lives, so what will Harry do when it's Antonin's life that is on the line? Fighting against his dad, Harry is also trying to deal with his growing feelings for Antonin - he doesn't think he is good enough for him.

The relationship between the two boys was the part of the story I particularly loved - I freely admit, I am a love junkie. Although both boys have had a hell of a lot to deal with whilst growing up, at first glance it appears as though Harry is the stronger one of the two. As the story develops though Antonin's strength shines through. How much they try to protect each other, even to life risking ends, is heart clenching.

Despite sci-fi not being an area I know too well, I really enjoyed this factor of the story. I think it was quite quirky, it wasn't space ships and deep space but an aquatic plant uncle. Well that's cool right there. The super criminal/evil villain story line was great too. If there ever was a villain to hate it's Harry's dad. Until Jessica Freely starts making you feel sorry for him that is.

All of the characters in this story had a bad back history - so much so that they even make a game of it to see who has suffered the most. Some of it is not easy reading, despite the humour that also runs through it.

My only query about this book was the age range it is aimed at. The two boys are 15, so you generally take a couple of years off for the aimed at audience. So if this applies then we're looking at early teens. Lots of elements of the story would be great, they'll love the quirkiness of it. Teens struggling with their own sexual identity would, I think, totally identify with Antonin and Harry. The one thing that made me stop and think was the violence at times. Yes there is much worse readily available to see on TV. Atrocities go on in real life, but the tying up for several days humiliation, and references to rape made me pause.

Now I wouldn't want to put people off reading - it really is an enjoyable book, I just think a slightly older audience, mid to late teens maybe, would be better than those too young. But then again it could just be me and my squeamish side.

I am certainly going to check out more books by this author.

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