Colorworld by Rachel E. Kelly is a little bit of X-Men, a little bit of conspiracy theory and a little bit coming of age story. Wendy, or Wen as she prefers to be called, is a 19 year-old college student. She slugs through school, a job and the raising of her teenage brother, Ezra. She also contends with the fact she has diabetes and food allergies. When a medical study offers help and payment to work with her on her food allergies, Wen volunteers. The money would help with the bills and any chance to lose her food allergies is too good to pass up. During the treatments, an energy transfer causes Wen to accidentally kill one of the assistants and knock out another, merely with prolonged touch of her skin. She awakens to find herself strapped down and warned that any prolonged touch could kill another person. Paranoid, the group doing the study offers to send her to a secret facility to teach her to use her new skills. These skills also include the ability to read the emotions of those who enter within a certain radius of Wen. A secret relative shows up just in the nick of time and offers to take in Ezra, but warns Wen that her mother had been hiding them for years, even going so far as to change the family name in order to protect the children from an unnamed enemy. Wen goes to the camp where she makes many new friends, including the very attractive Gabe, who was involved with her treatment and seemingly wants to make amends. Who can Wen trust?
Colorworld is part one of a three-part series, so be prepared for a sudden stop at the end of book one. The book starts slow, before speeding up to a galloping pace that holds through without. While the concepts of Colorworld were interesting and would make a fun to watch TV show, I found myself frustrated. Wen as a narrator commits the sin of explaining far too many unnecessary details and suddenly regressing into a hormonal teenager when she discovers Gabe. Gabe is 27 years-old but his behaviors are teenager and stalker-fabulous at best. Wen has a best friend in the real world, but they are so far apart she feels she can tell her nothing. This is the perfect recipe for getting mixed up in nonsense. She has no sounding boards to express what might be insane behaviors.
Colorworld is a good book for those who would love to see the world from Rogue’s perspective from the X-Men. It’s also one of the first times I’ve seen food allergies used as a plot device, so Celiac sufferers take note.