I received this book through a Goodreads book giveaway. Thank you very much for the opportunity to read something new!
The Colors of Malent has a lot going for it, plot wise. It's a archetypical hero story, with Alara, a 14 year old girl, serving as the hero with an unknown destiny. The plot has some interesting features. We learn and discover about the mysterious place Malent through Alara's dreams. Alara finds herself inside the bodies of various characters, and is increasingly able to influence the people she inhabits as the dreams become more frequent and more vivid.
But Alara is not very likeable or consistent as a character. She is manipulative of her parents, using her "little girl" voice to win over her father. She has a horrible, self absorbed friend, Madison, who is able to manipulate Alara and coerce her into bad behavior, such as attending a coed sleepover party where alcohol is served. Another inconsistency I noticed was Alara's seeming inexperience with boys and awkwardness, constrasted with the next chapter, where she called her new boyfriend Alex "hot stuff."
I have read plenty of novels where the main character is not particularly likeable, but somehow the author was able to convince me that the character was redeemable or worth the journey, but I do not feel that way with Alara.
Supporting characters were sketchily drawn and pretty cliched. A cute jock boyfriend, an uncute geeky neighbor boy that likes Alara, an overprotective father that yells a lot, a mother that cries, the bitchy girlfriend who likes to shop. The characters from Malent were much more interesting and nuanced. I wish the novel had featured more from the character of Borren, a man from Malent who has made a success of himself in business in our world. His motives were complicated and his relationship with the warrior/homeless man Barry was intriguing in their co-dependence.
The novel appears to take place in a typical American setting, replete with malls.
There is a supporting website for this book. With the cliffhanger ending, it's obvious that a series is planned. I only hope that Malent takes over and we leave the cliched everyday world behind.
Again, thanks for the opportunity to read this new book.