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Reviewed by Fiona Ingram for Readers' Favorite
Emerald Drizzleweather Bogwater has an unfortunate name, unfortunate red hair, and an unfortunate tendency to rebel. When she escapes her small, dull, slow village (where everyone and everything is in shades of green) to see the world, she discovers something she wasn't bargaining for...a whole new one. Now she must solve the mystery of the Egyptian-styled Red World (and its problems), before its dangers ensnare her forever. Escaping was relatively easy. Emer’s father (Alder Bogwater) tries to make her stay by bringing her back forcibly. She has even been married off to the kind of boy any sane girl would avoid — an oaf who drinks far too much lime ale. But Emer is on a mission to find her mother, Lore, with nothing but memories and an old turquoise compass, one of the pair that works in unison. However, if that means charting a dangerous course, so be it. With her green otter Samhain (aka Sam) as companion, she scales the wall separating Green from Red world and is catapulted into an adventure beyond anything she imagined. Deities, magic, death, blood and gore, intertwined worlds, weird characters and scary monsters, and a female Pharaoh determined to lock the Rainbow Gate, a mysterious set of ‘Keys’ that must be found, traitors, rebellions, and a boy that leads an army. Talking of boys, Shigeru is far more exciting and attractive than anyone Emer has ever met before. He comes from the Violet world, an element that hints at the other worlds in this planned series. Will Emer find her mother and is she ready for revelations that will shatter her existing beliefs?
Author Valerie Wicks has a way with words and a gift for world-building. She weaves a fantasy realm that intrigues with descriptions that unfold with the adventure. Emer is a feisty young woman who thinks on her feet as danger threatens and situations turn distinctly nasty. My criticism would be that although Emer is sixteen, sometimes she speaks and thinks like a younger person. The plot twists and turns in an interesting way, but in various sections I felt as if the plot and its myriad characters ran away from the author. Sometimes too many other elements (albeit fascinating) distract the reader from the main story theme and Emer’s character development. However, a great start to a series where the rainbow’s shades create new and different worlds.