Date of Publication: May 14 2013
Source: Review copy- thank you!
If there is one thing that seventeen-year-old Rain knows and knows well, it is survival. Caring for her little brother, Walker, who is "Touched," and losing the rest of her family to the same disease, Rain has long had to fend for herself on the bleak, dangerous streets of Earth City. When she looks to the stars, Rain sees escape and the only possible cure for Walker. And when a darkly handsome and mysterious captain named Johnny offers her passage to the Edge, Rain immediately boards his spaceship. Her only price: her "willingness."
The Void cloaks many secrets, and Rain quickly discovers that Johnny's ship serves as host for an underground slave trade for the Touched . . . and a prostitution ring for Johnny's girls. With hair as red as the bracelet that indicates her status on the ship, the feeling of being a marked target is not helpful in Rain's quest to escape. Even worse, Rain is unsure if she will be able to pay the costs of love, family, hope, and self-preservation.
Review:I'm a little blown away right now. I'm shocked and trying to grasp what I just read. This book shattered my expectations. I don't even know where to start.
I'll start with the abstract; The Color of Rain is incredibly dark and intense. It's on the mature scale of YA and it is horrifying and a little heart breaking. It explores prostitution, something I have never ever read about, and it is so much grittier than I expected. The author didn't try to disgust her readers; she also didn't try to overdose on the darkness. There were some details but I think Cori McCarthy deserves some applause for handling this issue so delicately.
Rain White lives in Earth City, a dismal environment, with just her brother Walker after a strange illness has taken away everyone else in her family, directly and indirectly. Those that are Touched are collected and removed from the general population and Rain is trying her best to save her Touched brother, Walker, from harm. She's heard of a place where Walker can be cured, and after she makes a deal with the Captain of an airship, who is interested in her partially because of her red hair, she has a way of getting there. Needless to say she is way in over her head.
Rain is someone I could like right away. She is fiercely protective of her brother and is willing to do whatever, and I mean whatever, it takes to help him. She's also fiery and passionate. Often, she'll say the wrong thing or challenge the wrong person. What impresses me about Rain is that as broken as she was, she never succumbed to being a victim. It's easy to let go and give up everything. It's harder to continue to feel and care. Rain earned a lot of respect from me for her determination, resourcefulness, and perseverance.
It's hard to describe The Color of Rain without spoiling people so I'll just brush over the rest of the characters. Lo is heartbreaking. She could have given up at any point but her loyalty to Rain is inspiring. Johnny is a fucking bastard and I hate that psychopath. So, obviously McCarthy did a good job at creating a villain. What's most impressive is that I didn't think Johnny would be that bad early on but as the story progressed I hated him more and more. That's fantastic characterization. Ben's character fits his role perfectly. He was entirely believable and well crafted too.
No doubt about it though; this story is about Rain and she ran the show.
Morality was huge issue in The Color of Rain. Do the ends justify the means? How far is too far? And if you've gone too far, how do you go back? Beyond prostitution, there was torture, death, slavery... This book really was dark. It wasn't overwhelming. Well, not often. You see, there was a true storyline that was enthralling in its own right.
Rain's journey takes her all throughout the galaxy and uncovers many disgusting secrets and lies. Although this book is sci-fi, I think pretty much anyone can read it because, with the exception of the beginning, nothing is too hard to follow. And after the beginning it's very easy to catch on. I think the strongest part of this book is the characterization and growth of rain.
I've written a pretty glowing review so far so I feel the need to mention a few things I would have liked to see. First, more of an emotional connection. I would not have minded if this book was longer and some parts slowed down because I feel like maybe the story would have benefited from seeing even more of Rain. It would be an even darker story and obviously incredibly hard to write but at some points I felt like the author maybe held back emotionally. In terms of plot she went for it but this could be a devastating book to read and Cori McCarthy didn't want to do that to her readers. I'm not sure if this is a bad thing because this is probably on the verge of not being accepted, if it hasn't crossed the line already, by those misinformed people that think YA should be censored. I also would have liked to get to know the other girls a little more. I don't like when the MC is hated by everyone else that is similar to her. It's a little bit of a pet peeve.
To be honest, I think this story is fine the way it is. It toes a line and as dark as it is, it also tells a really good story. I'm not soon going too forget The Color of Rain and I think the best praise I can give it is calling it a 5 star book. It's a unique read that I'll probably have to read again to absorb. It makes me think and question and that is one of the best qualities a book can have. 5 hearts,