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Color Song

(Passion Blue #2)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  41 reviews
By the author of the acclaimed "Passion Blue," a "Kirkus Reviews" Best Teen Book of 2012 and "a rare, rewarding, sumptuous exploration of artistic passion," comes a fascinating companion novel.

Artistically brilliant, Giulia is blessed - or cursed - with a spirit's gift: she can hear the mysterious singing of the colors as she creates them in the convent workshop of Maestra
Paperback, 344 pages
Published September 16th 2014 by Skyscape
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  136 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review originally appeared on my blog,


I really enjoyed PASSION BLUE , the first book about Giulia, a girl who wants to be a painter. But in Renaissance Italy, women aren’t painters. They’re servants or wives or nuns or prostitutes. Giulia was sent to a convent against her will, but against all odds, she finds a way to pursue her dream inside the convent.

Giulia’s story could have ended there, but thankfully, it didn’t. COLOR SONG is a companion to PASSION BLUE, and while it
Alysa H.
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
A sequel that manages to be better than its predecessor, Color Song illustrates how well-matched YA and Historical fiction can be. The former trades in heightened emotions, and the latter raises the stakes -- especially when the main character is a girl of immense talent and heart, in a time and place when women were not considered to be fully human.

While the first book, Passion Blue, dealt with Giulia's learning to understand her true calling as a painter in the enclosed world of the convent, C
Meg - A Bookish Affair
"Color Song" is the continuing story of Giulia, young woman who is forced to go to a convent. The first book in the series was called "Passion Blue" and "Color Song" s definitely a standalone book. However, that being said. you may want to read "Passion Blue" first because it is a very good book and does give some insight into Giulia's means. "Color Song" picks up almost where the last book leaves off Giulia is still in the convent and is dreading her life there. Her painting mentor has just pas ...more
Julia Nashif
Finally, I'm done!

Thank you, Netgalley and Amazon Children's Publishing, for this free book to review!

What I liked:

1. The beautiful descriptions. While plentiful, they didn't bog the story at all.

2. Giula. Her emotions were woven so well. Everything she felt, I felt too.

3. The quick plot. Yes, it took me two months to read this, but...that's irrelevant, trust me.

4. I didn't read the first book about Giula, Passion Blue, but there was enough back story to have everything make perfect sense.

What I
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
(note: i'm going to change my star-rating system because a bunch of books are bunched into the 5-star category so I'm going to spread it out a little more. ex: previously, I would have rated it five stars)

I really liked this ending to the duology, and its focus on passion of all kinds and how to live with it and follow it. The only quibble I have is actually just a little thing - Sophia, a courtesan, makes winking statements about the uses of cross-dressing in her profession, but her son thinks
Margo Berendsen
4.5 stars - a sumptuous historical, rich characters (Sofia! Bernado!) and an artist's quest that resonated with my own artist's soul. Not that I'm a painter, but Giulia's passion for creation is universal for anyone who loves to create things, no matter the medium.

Set in 1487 in medieval Padua and Venice with beautiful attention to detail and a living, breathing, smelly, sparkling depiction of Venice. 5 stars for the setting. The convent at Padua also felt starkly real, and the painters' worksh
Jen Yonit
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was most of the way through this book before realizing it was the second in a series. The way the author handles the plot lines from the first book are very well woven into this story just as building the characters' pasts.

Normally my favorite part of a story is the character building and world building, and while I did love the way the characters learned about themselves and changed, I feel much is left unfinished and unresolved.
Amber Spencer
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I did appreciate that these books try to shine a light on the women artists who were almost completely lost and forgotten because they were women living in the 1500s. For those women who push through social norms to do what they love, my heart and respect go out to them, past and present.
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really wish the whole cross-dressing/love interest thinks she’s a boy thing had been handled in a less tired way, but Giulia is a super compelling character regardless.
Erin Al-Mehairi
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Color Song is the second book in the YA historical fiction Passion Blue series by Victoria Strauss, with the first book having the Passion Blue title. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear of Passion Blue prior to Color Song, and didn’t have time to catch up, but luckily Strauss wrote Color Song in a way that could still be enjoyed by someone who hadn’t read the first book! Color Song was a beautiful novel with a lovely voice and intricate details and emotions.I look forward to going back and reading the ...more
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
Originally posted at:

Every so often I find books that I really love and Victoria Strauss’s newest Color Song is one of them. The first book Passion Blue I loved just as much. Color Song does stand on it’s own but you get a lot of background in Passion Blue that I think makes Color Song all the better. The books are classified as YA Historical Fiction and I do love YA books but I think these books are just perfect for the adult reader as well. I started Pa
(3.5 stars)

When I saw this book on NetGalley, the cover instantly caught my attention, and as soon as I realized that the main character has synesthesia, I requested it! I was thrilled when my request was approved, and delighted when I was contacted to be a part of the blog tour! This book was part of my synesthesia reading theme for August, and it was just a pleasure.

It's somewhat common to come across a YA protagonist who's an artist (always scribbling in his/her sketchbook, etc.), but this wa
Color Song is a companion novel to Passion Blue. Inside the convent of Santa Marta, Maestra Humilita is the creator of Passion blue, a beautiful paint color that has been the convent’s greatest accomplishment. Because everyone, including Humilita’s father, is so desperate to get their hands on this formula, Humilita has given her secret to make Passion blue to the only one she can trust, Giulia. After the death of Humilita, Giulia finds that she must make a choice: either reveal the secret, beco ...more
Amy Carothers
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A Renaissance Mulan-esque female painter undercover in the male-dominated art world of Venice? Oh my!

This book had a wealthy older prostitute and her son, a paint shop in a nunnery, a girl fleeing a nunnery, the power struggle for a breathtaking paint recipe, a girl fighting an innately sexist society if only in the small ways she can, and a robust Venice painted as vibrantly as if with Passion blue paint.

I loved the heroine, Giulia. I consider her an excellent example of how to write a fantasti
Elizabeth Spencer
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I got this book as part of Victoria Strauss's giveaway!

Color Song is a historical fiction about 15th century Italy and an orphan named Giulia who wants to paint. Women are not painters in the 1400s, and the only way Giulia learns is because she lives in an exceptional convent of painting nuns. But when her beloved teacher dies and the convent enters the hands of a woman who hates her, Giulia realizes she may never paint again. Not only that, she was given the secret of her master's most famous p
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Title: Color Song

Author: Victoria Strauss

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Series: Passion Blue, book two

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The bottom line: An enchanting, delightful read about art and magic in Renaissance Italy, I really enjoyed Color Song--I look forward to reading more from this promising author!

This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Guiliana, the bastard daughter of a wealthy Italian noble, has had enough of Santa Marta, t
Oct 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Color Song
Victoria Strauss

What it's all about...

Giulia is a novice "nun" at a convent but she is really a painter...a painter who is very gifted and can hear and feel colors as well as see them and paint with them.

Her mentor dies and on her deathbed gives Giulia the secret formula to an amazing color called Passion Blue. The problem is that lots of other not so nice people want the formula, too, and are outraged that Maestra gave it to Giulia. So...what does a confused and picked on 18 year o
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I read this I didn't realize it was the second in a series. Obviously that didn't hurt what I felt about the book. I received this through Net Galley for my honest review.
The book starts out at the end of the 15th century in Italy. Women were not afforded the same rights as women and no one was allowed to take a women as an apprentice. Guilia is a painter that paints under the Maestra at a convent and is waiting to take her final vows. Her Maestra Humilita has taken her under her wing. Afte
Color Song by Victoria Strauss is a sequel. The first book of this YA historical saga is Passion Blue. Readers should be aware that Color Song contains many references to the events of Passion Blue. These would be a good reminder if you’ve already read it, but they would be spoilers if you haven’t read it. This wasn’t a problem for me, but spoiler sensitive readers are advised to read Passion Blue first. I received an uncorrected proof of this book from the publisher via Net Galley.

The fictiona
Kathryn Powell
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Deborah
Shelves: 1400s, art, historical, ya
Giulia's much-admired Maestra becomes ill and passes away, leaving the painting workshop in the clutching, cruel hands of a new Maestra, one who despises Giulia and desperately wants the secret recipe for Passion blue, which Maestra Humilita, of course, passed on to Giulia before she died. Humilita's painter father is also a threat. With no option before her except escape, Giulia leaves, and begins to find her way to Venice and a painter friend of Humilita's. She must change her identity with no ...more
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading this and I give it a full five-out-of-five stars. Definitely something I would go buy myself. Not only is it about art (which I'm totally into), it's also historical fiction--my favorite genre. There aren't a lot of young adult historical fiction books--or, at least, there aren't as many as dystopian or the realistic teenage crisis ones, like anything by John Green. Not that that's a bad thing, I just really love historical fiction.

This story isn't just about a girl learni
Rondi Olson
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One thing I really liked about PASSION BLUE, the first book by this author featuring COLOR SONG's main character, Giulia, was the rare and brave choice to have (view spoiler) This sequel does a little bit to undo that, but is still very much about a girl trying to live to her full potential in a repressive society.

PASSION BLUE was all about the convents and how some women found a degree of independence there in the middle ages. COLOR
Janet Ursel
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Color Song is more historical fiction than fantasy. Above all else, it is a coming-of-age story, taking place in a world that gave women very few options. Giulia's determination to be an artist puts her in opposition to an entire society, and places her very life in danger.

The story is well-told, with excellent pacing. The author allows the tension to subside occasionally, but just when we – and Giulia – are starting to get a wee bit comfortable, another wave rocks the boat, or perhaps I should
Apr 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
I chose this book not realizing it was the second one in a dualogy, but other than a few brief mention of events that took place earlier in the character's life, it made a completely sound story. I plan to read the first book because I found this one very enjoyable. I also didn't realize it was a Teen/YA title.

The story itself was well written, about a girl who wants to be an artist in Renaissance Italy. Being a girl however, she can't practice her art except at a nunnery that allow sisters to p
Carolyn Injoy
Color Song, A Passion Blue Novel by Victoria Strauss Color Song, A Passion Blue Novel by Victoria Strauss is a five star book. I loved it & highly recommend it.
It is about artistic passion in fifteen century Venice. Giulla Borromeo disguised herself as Girolamo Landriani to become a painter's apprentice. She had escaped Santa Marta rather than being forced to take a nun's vows & never be able to paint after her master died.
"...she watched her teacher measure Passion blue onto her palette. It g
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs-giveaways
This book really spoke to me. I am an artist and I do take lessons so when I learned this book was about a painter, I was instantly interested.

The book is about a girl named Giulia who was a painter in the Renaissance. She started out as an apprentice to Maestra Humilita who was the creater of the famous color, Passion blue. When Humilitia gave Giulia the recipe for Passion blue, many people tried to steal it so Giulia ran away from her "home". Giulia ran to Venice and tried to find her own way
roxi Net
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly refreshing and sweet book! It was wonderful to take a break from the fantasy/dystopian novels I had been reading and be brought back in time to 15th century Italy. Guilia's difficulties at being an female and painter during this time was impacted by not having family and living/learning in a convent that hadn't been her choosing. Being born to a noble father and common mother, Guilia had no place in either world; after her Maestra dies, Guilia is forced to come to a difficult, life ...more
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I liked this book even better than the first one! Giulia, now 18 years old is pressured by the convent as well as by Humilita's father to give them the recipe for the paint color passion blue that Humilita had given to her on her deathbed and asked her to keep secret. Realizing that she will be enslaved in the convent no matter what she does, Guilia disguises herself as a boy and heads out to Venice to apprentice herself to her former master's friend. Although she has some bad luck, she is befri ...more
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
First off, thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing for providing me with a digital ARC of this novel.

Definitely a case of, should have realised this was a series. I was about 50 pages in, realised I was reading a sequel, but kept plowing through any ways. I have read sequels to books without reading the first installment and suffering no issues, but I definitely found myself scratching my head at times with this one.

The only other thing I can say is that, besides confusion, I just couldn't
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I'm the author of nine novels for adults and young adults, including the Stone duology ("The Arm of the Stone" and "The Garden of the Stone"); the Way of Arata duology ("The Burning Land" and "The Awakened City"); and "Passion Blue" and "Color Song," a pair of historical novels for teens. I've reviewed books for SF Site, Black Gate, and Fantasy magazine, and my articles on writing and how to get p ...more

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“This was not the perfect work that had existed in her mind. It was only the imperfect rendering that was the best her skill could manage. Yet Giulia was not dismayed. For she knew that she would try again – and again, and again, for as long as it took to gain the experience, the judgment, the understanding to get it right. And perhaps she never would get it right. Perhaps she would never attain that flawless blue, never create that perfect image, never find the ultimate point of balance between what she could accomplish an what she could dream. Yet wasn’t that the point? To be drawn onward, ever onward, in pursuit of your deepest passion? To look back at the end fo the race and knew that you had never done less than the most you could do?” 0 likes
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