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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
A Ray Red by Art Elbin is the first installment in the author's Soul Rays series. It's been classified as a young adult coming of age, but there are so many fascinating elements of science fiction and fantasy that it's hard to fit it into any single genre. Arr is a reborn following a mistake, at his own request and with the approval of the council. He begins in nothingness—grey murk—pushing through barriers as he learns and grows and tries to come to terms with and understand what it means to be a red. He meets other colors from different levels and one in particular, an orange named Ora, with whom he feels a connection. However, a true connection can only be made if she chooses him also...he, a lowly red, with so much to master before making the ultimate transformation. “We are all soul rays for human life on earth,” Jaye explains.
Art Elbin has created a wholly original book that is almost immediately as bright and bold as the soul rays themselves. A Ray Red takes the concept of origin and really twists it into a surreal blend of what is cosmic and supernatural, and what is safe and human. At its core is a fierce determination to survive and another powerful cause that is either an underscoring of this determination or the source itself that galvanizes the transition...and that power is emotion. Feelings. Maybe even love. Elbin is somehow able to take a deeply complicated, supernatural concept and create a comfortable, easy, and entertaining read. If you'd told me a week ago I'd be reading a book where the main protagonist was a color, I'd have called you thick. Yet here we are. I did read it and, even more, I genuinely enjoyed it. I'm excited to see where the series leads.