Where it Rains in Color
Swazembi is a blazing, color-rich utopia and the vacation center of the galaxy. This idyllic, peace-loving world is home to waterless seas, filled with cascading neon vapors, where tourists and residents alike soar from place to place in a swift wind force called The Sweep. No one is used to serious trouble here, especially Lileala.
Lileala is a pampered, young 50-year-old whose radiance has just earned her the revered title of Rare Indigo, the highest and most sacred of honours. But, her perfect lifestyle is shattered when a band of drug-addicts from a dying planet come up with a way to infect her with a fatal skin disease. They succeed and the unthinkable happens – Lileala Walata Sundiata loses her ability to shimmer. Where her skin should glisten like diamonds mixed with coal, instead it dulls and forms scar tissue. And she starts to hear voices in her head.
Distraught over her condition, she flees to the village where her Rare Indigo predecessor, Ahonotay, is said to be hiding. Ahonotay reveals a destiny to Lileala that awakens a new power inside her and she realises her whole life, and the galaxy, is about to change…
In a futuristic society, which values beauty and colour, Lileala is about to take her place as the Rare Indigo in Swazembi - a position of prestige, that she has dreamt of her whole life.
I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The story follow Lileala, the favoured aspirant, as she finishes her training and is recognised as the Rare Indigo. Swazembi has been without a Rare Indigo since the last one became silent and left without warning nearly fifty years ago; so when Lileala takes on the role, there is a lot of pressure to do well.
I really struggled with this book. I didn't get far, but I did come back to it repeatedly, hoping to make more progress, because the premise sounded really cool.
My main issue is that I did not know what was going on. At any point. Ever.
The author has created a new world, with completely new rules. There were some bits that were described, but most of it is left vague. There are transport waves? Different castes?
I have no idea what a Rare Indigo is, and why they're important.
Our narrator is fifty years old and has been training to be a Rare Indigo for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS, and yet she seems as clueless as I do.
She knows nothing about being a Rare Indigo, except that her skin is dark and she can play luminescence along it.
I also felt that Lileala didn't know anything about anything else, either.
It doesn't sound like she's been isolated from everyone else - but every time she meets her friend, trainer, or future partner, they all seem to know everything. They know about the culture of the world, the sport, the food, the rules, the rulers, the religion, other aspirants, what would happen after getting the title.
It just makes it even more glaringly obvious that Lileala knows NOTHING!
Instead of actual story or world-building, the first part of the book is basically Lileala moping about how hard and restrictive her life is, without any evidence of that. She feels like a spoilt teenager, whinging about her perfect life.
Overall, I liked the concept, but I did not enjoy this book.