by Victoria Strauss
Expected Publication Date: September 16th, 2014
Received from: Amazon Children’s Publishing via Net Galey (in exchange for an honest review)
Artistically brilliant, Giulia is blessed – or cursed – with a spirit’s gift: she can hear the mysterious singing of the colors as she creates them in the convent workshop of Maestra Humilita. It’s here that Giulia, forced into the convent against her will, has found unexpected happiness and rekindled her passion to become a painter?an impossible dream for any woman in 15th century Italy.
But when a dying Humilita bequeaths Giulia her most prized possession – the secret formula for the luminously beautiful paint called Passion blue – Giulia realizes she’s in danger from those who have long coveted the famous color. Faced with the prospect of a life in the convent barred from painting as punishment for keeping Humilita’s secret, Giulia is struck by a desperate idea: What if she disguises herself as a boy? Could she make her way to Venice and find work as an artist’s apprentice?
Along with the truth of who she is, Giulia carries more dangerous secrets: the exquisite voices of her paint colors and the formula for Humilita’s Passion blue. And Venice, she discovers, with its gilded palazzos and masked balls, has secrets of its own. Trapped in her false identity in this dream-like place where reality and reflection are easily confused, and where art and ambition, love and deception hover like dense fog, can Giulia find her way?
This compelling novel explores timeless themes of love and illusion, gender and identity as it asks the question: what does it mean to risk everything to pursue your passion?
Let’s start with my qualms:
– The blatant avoidance of incorporating many important themes.
-The awkward, yet interesting, addition of her “spirit’s gift.” While this element added whimsy and fun, it didn’t make sense in this book and was never really further explored or anything. It seemed so important, but in the story it couldn’t have been less important. It was just awkwardly present.
-The horribly awkward and not at all interesting epilogue. I have no words. That sentence sums it up…
– The Plot. It was very well done with unexpected twists in just the right places. It was dramatic and exciting, imbuing the book with a sense of adventures that reaches out and grips and excites readers.
-The descriptive writing and the world building. Both were vivid and very real, the setting and everything else jumped off the page.
-The Characters.They were interesting, lovable, and brought the story to life. They possessed a great amount of depth and dimension. Giulia and her new found friends were relatable and made the book more interesting to read. By the end readers are left hungering for more, dying to find out what happens to their new found, literary friends next.
-The general concept and story line. It was well done and stunningly fresh and original!
-The themes that were included. The themes that Strauss did incorporate and touch upon, mostly at the end, were very important ones that were smoothly included.
Last Thoughts: Generally speaking the good outweighed the bad and it was all quite enjoyable. It is refreshing, adventurous, and fun, winning it a three out of five star rating from me, and yest, I’d recommend it to those that find int interesting.