Monday, December 8, 2014

An Uncommon Blue - R.C. Hancock

Summary:  In Télesphore, the glowing color of a person’s palm determines their place in society, and touching hands with another mixes the colors permanently. When sixteen-year-old Bruno accidentally kills a royal soldier, he goes from favored to fugitive. Now Bruno's only chance at survival is to become someone else. That means a haircut, a change of wardrobe, and most important, getting rid of his once cherished Blue. Now he’s visiting parts of town he never knew existed, and making friends with people he would've crossed the street to avoid only weeks ago. At the last minute, Bruno’s parents arrange a deal to clear his name and get his life back. All Bruno has to do is abandon those in the Red slums that look to him as a leader and let an innocent Green boy die in his place. (Summary and image from  I was provided a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.)

My Review:  Bruno has an easy life. He's popular, he's a rugby player, he's almost guaranteed one of the best jobs out there - a fire surgeon - and all because his hand burns blue.  That all changes when a pudgy, awkward, frightened kid asks him one small favor.  Things go wrong.  Bruno is no longer a Blue - he's a Melange, a combination of two different colors.  Things just go from bad to worse with the death of a poker, the royal soldiers charged with protecting the Blues.  Bruno must flee - and in doing so, he discovers more truths about his society (and his place in it) than he dared dream.

Hancock has created a whole world with a whole history and just thrusts the reader into the middle of it.  His characters are well-developed, they grow (or don't, depending on whether they should), they evolve, and they demand you care about them.  The story moves very quickly - sometimes, a little too quickly.  I had too many questions about the fire: why fire?  What was the purpose of the fire? Why the caste system?  And why are Melanges (mixed colors) more valuable than pure Reds or Greens?  Some of my questions were answered as I read, but those that weren't, and the terminology Hancock uses, had my head spinning.  

That being said, however, the story was enough to incite me to keep going.  While rather predictable, I definitely wouldn't mind checking out the upcoming second book of this series.  Some of the side characters (like Bruno's grandma, his parents, Baptiste) I care too much about to never see again.  Some, I just want to see get their just desserts, and some are just too deliciously insane to cast aside.  I want to know what happens!  And I want answers!

My Rating:  3.5 stars

For the sensitive reader:  There is an allusion to an assault and the book starts with a murder.


Ann Summerville said...

I admire anyone who can write about another world. It takes a lot of imagination.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the great review! I promise more answers in book 2. :) Sorry it's taken me so long to get over here, you were on the schedule for today.


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