Review – The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare – Zillah Bethell

As a child I remember asking what would happen if the world ran out of water. I was told under no circumstances Could this ever happen. Fast forward twenty years and I find myself reading a book with that very premise. It hardly ever rains, there is a water shortage and the world is at war because of this. Add this to the fact the protagonist is a bit quirky and instantly I’m hooked.

Our lead character, Auden Dare, sees things a little differently to the rest of the world. He cannot see any colour. His dad is away fighting in the war, then after his uncle’s shock death, he moves to start a new life in Cambridge. Before long, he’s being bullied at school and makes a shocking discovery about his dead uncle. Cue a fantastic futuristic adventure full of gadgets, robots and the usual good versus evil narrative.

Along the way, Auden is supported by Paragon – a robot – and his only friend at school Vivi. As with all good stories, the interplay between the characters is perfect. Auden and Vivi both have their quirks of character that mean they are perfect for each other. Similarly, Paragon is a perfect example of a free-thinking robot. The trio remind me very much of an exaggerated version of Lily, Robert and Malkin from Peter Bunzl’s Cogheart.

Told in the first person, the narrative progresses at a good pace. As the plot draws to its emotional and thought-provoking conclusion, I was kept guessing. The ending wasn’t what I was expecting but it is definitely fitting and left me with that warm glow of satisfaction.

This is a great novel, especially for science fiction fans. In fact, after reading a brief extract, one of the children in the class has asked to borrow. That’s as good a recommendation as any.

Age Recommendation: 9 – 12 years
Pages: 368 pages
Publisher: Piccadilly Press
ISBN: 978-1848126084

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