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.