In Walker’s YA fantasy debut, a post-apocalyptic kingdom’s plans for magic center on the abilities of one untrained girl.
Seventeen-year-old Jessa Loxley has always dreamed of becoming a professional ballerina. All seems set for her dreams to become reality, but on the night of her solo debut in the New Colony’s Royal Ballet Company, everything changes. While performing on stage, Jessa inadvertently manipulates color—a process wherein color is drained from an object and used as powerful magic. In Jessa’s country, known only as the New Colony, children suspected of holding this power are taken from their families and trained as Guardians of Color in service of the crown. At 17, Jessa is far past the age when such talent is typically revealed, so she is accused of hiding it and is imprisoned. Yet Jessa is surprised by her newfound skills, and when the New Colony’s Prince Lucas convinces the king to let her be trained, Jessa is shocked to learn that the New Colony may be using color for nefarious purposes. Resistance is brewing, however, with Prince Lucas at the forefront. Jessa soon finds herself mired in a deadly conflict that could jeopardize the kingdom. Walker’s tale expertly blends action with exposition and futuristic technology with a Victorian vibe, and Prince Lucas, a playboy with a kind heart, and scrappy, determined Jessa make for a compelling team. Narration alternates between the two; since both are dynamic characters with distinct voices, this technique never becomes confusing. Walker also avoids the common pitfall of rehashing events from more than one perspective. The (quite literally) colorful landscape—animated by an intriguing cast—is complex but well-explained. Masterfully plotted, Walker builds to not one but several unexpected twists in the novel’s final pages.
Readers will no doubt clamor for the next book in this series; a thrilling start from an exciting new talent.