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Review: Where it Rains in Color by Denise Crittendon

Denise Crittendon has created a vivid sci-fi world where melanin bearers are highly prized and the lead character Lileala is the rare indigo who is a figurehead for her people chosen for her beauty and her ability to shimmer.

At the beginning of the novel Lileala is a bit of a pampered brat.  She has been chosen to be the rare indigo a symbol of beauty and grace, although one without a voice.  The previous rare indigo Ahonotay had abdicated her role many decades ago and has retreated from all society leaving a void and much expectation on the new rare indigo.

All is going well until Lileala comes down with a disfiguring skin disease. 

Thematically the novel examines beauty standards as well as issues surrounding them.

I really wanted to love this novel.  The idea of the rare indigo and the shimmer is really interesting and such a vivid image, which I could clearly visualise.  I loved the worlk building and the descriptions of the Swazembi infrastucture.  I also loved the description of the old earth hymns.

Lileala as a character is capricious, moody and spoiled. Her character development didn’t always feel coherent or consistent.  I also found her friends and her beloved as characters lacking depth. I wanted more from the characters.  Likewise Ahonotay was foreshadowed heavily and I don’t feel that enough was done with the character.

Otto was a character I really couldn’t warm to I didn’t like him as Lileala’s love interest.  He seemed to be both patronising and controlling and he put my teeth on edge. 

Overall, Crittendon has delivered an engaging novel, but I love a deeper dive into characters than we got.

Where it Rains in Color is published by Angry Robot and is released on 6th December.



Jane Hanmer

Born in deepest darkest Shropshire. Currently living in Durrey. A reader of books, a watcher of theatre and film, a player of board games. Intersectional Feminist Pronouns: She/her

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