Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blue by Lou Aronica

BlueLast week, I had an interview with Lou Aronica, who kicked off a new imprint with Blue, a book he authored. I enjoyed reading Blue (The Fiction Studio Imprint), which is sort of Inkheart for grownups; I think it’s going to confound some bookstores, too, because it works in part as a YA fantasy and in part as an adult fantasy.

At the beginning of Blue, we're introduced to Chris, who is watching old home movies of his daughter Becky and reminiscing about the close relationship he had with her before he and his wife divorced. Chris and Becky used to share stories, weaving a secret otherworld called Tamarisk just for the two of them, to while away long nights when Becky was ill. Now, though, Chris and Becky hardly see each other, and this loss manifests as a borderline creepy parental obsession for Chris and a keen sense of abandonment on Becky's part.

Then, Becky starts having nosebleeds, warnings that her childhood leukemia is no longer in remission. Something strange and wonderful starts happening: we are offered a glimpse into the life of Miea, a young woman struggling with a troubling agricultural mystery in Tamarisk: why has the Blight returned, and can she do anything to stop it? The Blight, Miea, Becky, and Chris are intertwined in more ways than they know, but they’re going to have to figure out how to hold on--and how to let go--if they want to solve any of their problems.

Two things stood out to me in Blue. The first was Chris and Becky’s relationship; the emotional focus was less what I’d expect from fantasy and more what I’m used to pulling off the general adult fiction shelves, and fantasy and science fiction tends to push character development under the rug to make room for world-building. The second was Tamarisk itself. That world felt vibrant, magical, and modern in all the best ways, and I’d have happily read an entire book set there. (Dirt that smells like chocolate? Count me in!)

Some odd circumstances left me with two copies of Blue, so keep an eye out here for a Blue giveaway in the next week or two. I’ve already committed to a different giveaway coming up this weekend, but please do stick around for this one!

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