Colours by Alastair Crombie (Charlie Masters; 1)

The Synopsis:

Bullied, beaten, hospitalised. And it’s only his first day.

After the school bully puts Charlie in hospital, he doesn’t think things can get worse, until he starts seeing clouds of light surround strangers. 

Charlie worries he’s hallucinating until the mysterious Colours Institute offers him an apprenticeship and a chance at the truth. He soon wishes he was hallucinating as the truth might mean he can manipulate the fabric of humanity. 

Fighting against an enemy as ruthless as he his smart can Charlie and his new friends uncover the power he needs? And at what cost?

Charlie might be the most interesting person you meet this year. Why don’t you find out? 

I received this book from the author via BookSirens for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.


What if the entire world was connected for one purpose and every person you met could have a profound impact on that purpose? What’s more, what if those Connections could be manipulated for bad? That’s where the Colours Institute comes in, to protect the Connections.

Colours is the debut novel of author Alastair Crombie, and I can tell from this one book that this is an author to watch in the upcoming years. YA is a difficult genre to write in because it feels like almost everything has been done before, but in Colours, it is a new story with some interesting aspects.

For it to be a Fantasy YA, it is surprisingly slow-paced as far as action goes, but I never grew bored of the story. In a rare (for me) instance, the information in learning about the Institute and developing strong admirations of characters was actually enough in this story. Usually I want authors to get through with the explaining as quick as possible and dive into the action, but this gradual, steady pace of a little bit of action, little bit of learning was actually perfect for Colours. At the end of the book, I know the characters well, I understand the Institute, I have my own theories, and I am motivated just like Charlie to make things count. Colours is truly the perfect introduction to this series, and now I’m ready for lots of action in book 2!

This book is also deliciously British and I definitely read all of the conversations with a (terrible) British accent. I know nothing about the game of Cricket, so in my head I was picturing Baseball (yes, I know, terrible comparison), but I really enjoyed the scenes in which Charlie played and feel like I might understand it now *somewhat?*.

The reason Colours is only 4 stars instead of 5, is because I did find several instances in which grammar and spelling errors glitched my reading flow, and sometimes the writing confused me as far as time lapse goes. For example, I completely missed the transition from Charlie being 13 to the story skipping ahead to Charlie being 16. That may have been a flaw I had in the ARC I was reading, but I flipped back a few pages to see if I had skipped a page, and nothing. No indication that the story moved forward 3 years.

There is some mild American cursing (one “f-bomb” and one “gd”) and lots of British cursing used (I’m sure different regions would consider certain words very offensive). The only sexual content worthy of mention is in one scene in which Charlie says something that could be taken in a sexual way and two characters certainly take it that way and give him a hard time about being a virgin and make the comment “pop that–“well you know. There is no kissing, though the blossom of a romance is evident and could be expected in the upcoming release of book 2.

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