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The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare

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I am how I've always been.
My name is Auden Dare.
I am eleven years old.

Auden Dare has an unusual perspective on life: he cannot see in colour. He's always had this rare condition - and life is beginning to get harder for Auden. The war for water that is raging across the world is getting a little closer all the time. It hardly rains any more, anywhere. Everyone is thirsty all the time, and grubby, and exhausted. Auden has to learn to live without his father, who is away fighting, and has had to move to a new town with his mother, and start a new school, where everyone thinks he's a weirdo. But when he meets Vivi Rookmini, a smiling girl bright with cleverness, his hopes begin to lift.

It soon becomes clear to Auden, though, that there are some strange things afoot in his new hometown. He and his mother have moved into the old cottage of his recently-dead uncle Jonah Bloom - a scientist and professor at the university. The place is in disarray - and although Auden's mother tells him it's because Jonah was a messy old thing, Auden knows differently. Someone else did this - someone who was looking for something of Jonah's. Auden had heard too that Jonah was working on something that could cure Auden's condition - could this be it?

Then Auden and Vivi make an extraordinary discovery. Hidden away under the shed at the bottom of Jonah's garden is an engimatic and ingenious robot, who calls himself Paragon. A talking, walking, human-like robot. Apparently built by Jonah - but why? The answer to this will take Auden and Vivi on a thrilling journey of discovery as they seek to find out just what exactly Paragon is - and what link he has to Auden - and find that the truth is bigger and more wonderful than either of them could have imagined.

368 pages, Paperback

First published September 1, 2017

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About the author

Zillah Bethell

9 books49 followers
Zillah Bethell was born in a leprosy hospital in Papua New Guinea, spent her childhood barefoot playing in the jungle, and didn't own a pair of shoes until she came to the UK when she was eight. She was educated at Oxford University and now lives in Wales with her family.

Zillah has written three adult novels (SEAHORSES ARE REAL / LE TEMPS DES CERISES / GIRL IN PROFILE) and three children's novels (THE SHARK CALLER / A WHISPER OF HORSES / THE EXTRAORDINARY COLOURS OF AUDEN DARE)

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 54 reviews
Profile Image for Int'l librarian.
697 reviews17 followers
November 26, 2018
This story is a great example of an OK book. For everything that’s right, there’s something that bothers me just enough to compensate. Auden has his moments as the main character, but he can also be bratty. The robot is almost too good as a parental figure. And he comes too well-equipped with the perfect gizmo for the perfect miracle.

There are some thought-provoking aspects to both the setting and the unfolding mystery, but the Water War world doesn’t always make sense. Very little water, extremely limited irrigation, but people are still eating meat and fresh fruit? Desalination works just well enough to keep humanity miserable?

I even looked up achromatopsia, and yes, people who can’t see colors have very blurry vision in strong daylight. But their eyesight doesn’t become super-human in darkness. It just gets less blurry. And weird blasts of sound to replace color? Wouldn’t that mess with your ability to hear anything else?

There are a few scattered bad guys and bullies and surprises, but roles and actions pivot too quickly. In contrast, Auden takes way too much time to describe some of the more obvious emotional dilemmas he has to work through.

That problem gets magnified because I’m just not interested enough in those Big Messages:

Love will find a way
Never give up
The world is a wonderful place
We’re all special

And none of it is special enough. Oh well.
Profile Image for Kiri.
659 reviews40 followers
June 20, 2019
Creative ideas and an interesting future world. Young Auden Dare cannot see color, which bothers him (but he'd like to pretend that it doesn't). When his uncle dies in mysterious conditions, Auden gets suspicious and starts to investigate. Along the way, he makes a friend (Vivi is awesome) and grows up a little. There's also a massive, friendly robot who is a little too unbelievably human. The story ends up in a good place; it was enjoyable but didn't particularly stand out to me. The main challenge for me was that the narrator, Auden, never came across as an 11-year-old (except when he was sulky). The rest of the time, he sounded at least 5 years old, or like an adult trying really hard to be an 11-year-old and not quite making it. That kept interfering with my enjoyment of the story. But otherwise, a nice tale.
Profile Image for Valerie McEnroe.
1,406 reviews45 followers
October 7, 2022
Here’s the thing about American kids and British books. They don’t like mom being spelled “mum,” and they don’t like currency stated in “pounds.” Americans are an egocentric bunch. As for the cover, I actually prefer the British version, but appreciate that "colours" was changed to "colors."

For the record, I gave A Whisper of Horses 5 stars. I found the plot to be streamlined, focused and full of important messages. This novel is all over the place. I was properly hooked in the beginning. Auden Dare can't see color. There's a war going on. His professor/ physicist uncle has just died. He and his mother inherit his cottage outside of London. There's a shortage of water. The stage is set.

Then a mystery unfolds. His uncle's home and office have been ransacked, so Auden assumes he was murdered. Then he receives a package from his uncle with a letter containing clues. The clues lead him to a robot and a machine he thinks will help him see colors. Over the course of the story, he and his friend Vivi become emotionally attached to the robot named Paragon. This relationship is somewhat interesting. Since they are being chased by a government agency who wants Paragon, they are rushed at the very end to find Paragon's purpose and the battery for the color machine. Hint: the two are related.

The problem I often find in books like this is that authors try to merge two unrelated topics and aren't successful. This story wanted to be about both Auden's inability to see color and the water crisis. It ends up a convoluted mess with an unexplained, and therefore unbelievable, solution to the water problem thrown into the plot at the last minute, and no resolution to Auden's color problem. Add in an extraneous bully with no important function and it further comprises the story's focus.

For a much better example of this author's capability, read her previous novel.
Profile Image for Katie Reilley.
764 reviews27 followers
December 27, 2018
Thank you to the author and publisher (Feiwel & Friends) for sharing an ARC of this book with our #bookexpedition group.

Set in a dystopian future in a world devoid of rain, this middle grade sci-fi mystery takes place in Britain during the water wars. Auden’s father is away fighting in the war, and his mother inherits a cottage from her recently deceased scientist brother, Auden’s Uncle Jonah. Auden has a rare condition called achromatopsia which renders him unable to see in color, and he’s convinced Uncle Jonah had been working on an invention to help him with his vision before he died.

After settling into his new home and school, Auden meets a new friend (Vivi) and they begin to question the cause of his uncle’s death. With hidden clues around the cottage, the two unearth a hidden secret in the shed...a robot named Paragon. The trio works together to try and figure out Uncle Jonah’s purpose of Paragon, thus setting off a series of events that help Auden realize his true colors.



Profile Image for Julia Rice.
138 reviews
May 9, 2018
This book is set in England in an unspecified future time where climate change has taken hold, water is scarce and Europe is at war. Auden lives with his mother in east London (his father is away fighting) when they inherit a cottage in Cambridge from Auden's uncle, Dr Jonah Bloom, a brilliant scientist, who has died suddenly (and in mysterious circumstances). When they move, they see it as an opportunity for a fresh start but it soon becomes clear that all is not well; both the cottage and Dr Bloom's rooms at the College have been ransacked. Auden makes a friend at school, the ingenious and witty Vivi, who it turns out was also a good friend of Dr Bloom's. Suspecting foul play the pair investigate and soon discover a robot that Dr Bloom invented, in a secret chamber under the garden shed. At first, Auden assumed that his uncle has invented a machine that will enable to see in full colour (Auden suffers from a condition called achromatopsia which means he cannot see in colour) but as they begin to discover fully the capabilities of the robot Paragon they realise that he (it!) in fact has a higher purpose. This explains the interest of the sinister and powerful Water Allocation Board, which is also trying to get to the bottom of Dr Bloom's secret work.

I enjoyed this book. I liked Auden and Vivi, and their robot friend was endearing too, and I thought the story was a good one. There were some parts that frustrated me, for example, the slightly clumsy clues that this was some future time (the 'QWERTYs' - next generation smartphones? - and the fact that a bus ride costs hundreds of pounds) but maybe I'm being a picky adult reader and kids will be more forgiving. I think the target readership is slightly off - it comes across as written for older primary school/Year 7 kids, but the plot and some of the issues are quite complex, and some of the themes - the sense of threat, climate change and water rationing, the hint at a police state, the suggestion of state murder of Dr Bloom - quite mature. It reminded me of '1984' in places! Under 10s might find aspects a bit alarming.

Overall a good story, suited to 10-12s, but Auden is a bit too much of a kid to appeal to 13+.
198 reviews5 followers
May 20, 2018
Thank you to Zillah Bethel and Feiwel and Friends for providing an ARC to #collabookation for review.
Set in the future during a world war over water, The Extraordinary Colors of Auden Dare by Zillah Bethell is one part mystery, one part adventure, and one part philosophy.
While his father is off fighting in the war for water, Auden and his mother move to his uncle’s cottage in the countryside near Trinity College. His uncle was an eccentric genius, but Auden cannot quite reconcile all the aspects of his studies, death, and the letters he left behind. Auden soon meets Vivi, who becomes a friend and co-conspirator in solving the mysteries surrounding Uncle Jonah’s work and death. Eventually the two uncover Paragon, a humanoid (robot in human image). As Auden, Vivi, and Paragon learn more about each other traveling the countryside and going on adventures, they begin to realize Paragon clearly had a purpose. What the robot’s purpose is is now the focus.
I loved almost every aspect of this book, but one of my favorites was the main character’s struggle accepting the fact that he cannot see colors:
“You see, I know I rather go in about how it doesn't matter not being able to see color, and how it makes me special in a way...I can persuade myself that everything is simplified and, in a sense, color is just another complication. Those are the good days.
But there are many other times when I don't feel like that at all. When all I can think about is how incomplete I actually am. Those are the bad days. Those days I feel depressed or angry. Sometimes the anger slips out...And sometimes the anger goes in...I don't like those days.”
This theme of embracing and cursing his weakness is mirrored in many ways throughout the novel - each poignant in their own right. This book is a beautiful study of humanity during the worst of times.
Thoughtful and wise, The Extraordinary Colors of Auden Dare will inspire introspection in readers in the most enjoyable, adventurous of ways.
Profile Image for Tiana.
647 reviews
March 21, 2019
Another fabulous find from the new JUV fic shelves. (And, coincidentally, by another Welsh author and from the Feiwel & Friends imprint as was The Train to Impossible Places.)

My kids LOVED this book, and they were deeply affected by the ending. It makes me want to pick up Bethell's first book and try it, too. Clark loves just about any story, but Lily's a bit pickier and this fit the bill for her.
Profile Image for Frances.
519 reviews5 followers
April 23, 2018
Great adventure for middle school aged children, and adults like me! Set in alternative world where water scarcity has led to war Auden and his Mum move into the house left them by Sudan's uncle, who has died. There Auden finds a mystery that leads him into danger and will perhaps change the world.
Fast paced page Turner that I really enjoyed.
October 23, 2017
Zillah Bethell’s first book for children, A Whisper of Horses, was one of the Telegraph’s ‘Books of 2016’ and received high praise. Her writing is often described as evocative, vibrant and inventive so when The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare popped through my letterbox, I couldn’t wait to get started.

Extraordinary, is most definitely, the word. Although Roget would also suggest wonderful, remarkable and exceptional.

For me, the thrill of the book was in the not knowing. The plot is intriguing and unpredictable, so I am keen not to impart too many details. What I can tell you, is that 11-year-old Auden Dare’s perspective on life is influenced by the fact that he cannot see in colour. It’s a rare condition and it adds to the sense that Auden Dare is the underdog – useless at football, a weirdo in school, a target for bullies. Set in the future, there is also a war raging across the world due to water shortages – it doesn’t rain, everyone is filthy; water is very expensive and is rationed and controlled by the Water Authority Board.

Auden’s mother inherits a small bungalow in Cambridge from her brother who passes away suddenly and mysteriously. When they move to the new town, Auden begins to investigate the circumstances of Uncle Jonah’s death and meets a genuine friend in Vivi Rookmini. When they discover that Professor Jonah Bloom may have been working on a cure for Auden’s condition, the adventure begins. When they unearth a secret in Uncle Jonah’s garden shed, things really kick off!

Told in the first person, Auden’s 11 year old persona is entirely convincing – witty, self-deprecating and relaxed. He’s also rather fragile; he brushes most things off easily but is hurt when people show a lack of understanding of his condition. On top of that, when a malicious rumour about his father spreads, it tips him to breaking point. But he has a friend and the relationship between Auden and Vivi is beautifully written – full of vibrancy and understanding.

Zillah Bethell’s writing is terrifically engaging, confident and highly entertaining. I found it nigh-on impossible to guess the ending which was met with tears of joy. A thoroughly enjoyable read, I was totally involved throughout – in turn laughing out loud, and biting my nails; wincing with every threat and grinning inside with every glimmer of hope.

As I approached the end of the novel, I was reminded of something the Dalai Lama has said in an address to the world’s youth. He said, (and I’m paraphrasing) “Whilst children should be happy and have fun in the here and now, they must not lose sight of their place in the world. Afterall, our individual interests ultimately depend on the global situation.”

If someone shows their true colours, then they reveal their real self. The true colours of Auden Dare are that of a young man with determined self-confidence and warm-heartedness; a boy of compassion and truth – the epitome of humanity – and there’s something quite extraordinary about that.
Profile Image for BooksForTopics.
140 reviews35 followers
May 26, 2018
The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare is a gripping story set in a dystopian future where the rain has dried up. The world is at war over its water supply and everybody is permanently thirsty and unclean. Inside the UK, which is in a slightly more fortunate position than other countries due to its access to large amounts of coastline, everything is under the authority of the Water Allocation Board, which allows citizens a daily water ration and keeps watch on everybody through its intimidating-looking drones.

The story’s main character, Auden Dare, is an eleven-year-old boy who has a rare condition called achromatopsia, which means he is unable to see colour. Auden moves to Cambridge after his mother inherits a bungalow belonging to Uncle Jonah, a professor who recently died under sudden and mysterious circumstances. One day Auden and his new friend Vivi Rookmini discover a fascinating robot-like creature called Paragon in his uncle’s old shed and begin to question what might have been Uncle Jonah's original purpose for the robot.


Soon the pair, together with the very clever and human-like Paragon, find themselves caught up in an investigation about Uncle Jonah’s work, his previous interactions with the Water Allocation Board and his mysterious death. The search leads Auden on an unintended voyage of self discovery as he develops a friendship with Paragon and inadvertently has his eyes opened to his 'true colours' when he becomes involved in the complicated ethics of managing global water shortages.

Zillah Bethell’s storytelling is wonderfully enigmatic and thrilling throughout. There is always the perfect amount of detail in the world-building to construct a fascinating and conceivable dystopian world that is only a worryingly small step away from our own, but there is also a delightful amount of intrigue to keep the reader tantalised throughout and hanging on to every word. I particularly enjoyed the use of colours as a metaphor for the unfolding character development as Auden, who to start with tends to act with an air of childish arrogance, moves away from an understanding of the world in black and white and begins to perceive things in a much more nuanced spectrum of colours. I also enjoyed the irony in the way in which it takes a friendship with Paragon, who is after all a robot, to help Auden develop compassion and a deeper interest in humanity itself.


I highly recommend this thought-provoking story and I'm convinced that it would make a great class novel for upper KS2. Much like Zillah Bethell’s other children's book, A Whisper of Horses, I completely adored reading The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare and I am eagerly anticipating more stories from this author.


Many thanks to the author Zillah Bethell and publisher Piccadilly Press for kindly sending me a copy of this book.




Profile Image for Matt Davies.
34 reviews10 followers
February 16, 2018
As a child I remember asking what would happen if the world ran out of water. I was told under no circumstances Could this ever happen. Fast forward twenty years and I find myself reading a book with that very premise. It hardly ever rains, there is a water shortage and the world is at war because of this. Add this to the fact the protagonist is a bit quirky and instantly I’m hooked.

Our lead character, Auden Dare, sees things a little differently to the rest of the world. He cannot see any colour. His dad is away fighting in the war, then after his uncle’s shock death, he moves to start a new life in Cambridge. Before long, he’s being bullied at school and makes a shocking discovery about his dead uncle. Cue a fantastic futuristic adventure full of gadgets, robots and the usual good versus evil narrative.

Along the way, Auden is supported by Paragon – a robot – and his only friend at school Vivi. As with all good stories, the interplay between the characters is perfect. Auden and Vivi both have their quirks of character that mean they are perfect for each other. Similarly, Paragon is a perfect example of a free-thinking robot. The trio remind me very much of an exaggerated version of Lily, Robert and Malkin from Peter Bunzl’s Cogheart.

Told in the first person, the narrative progresses at a good pace. As the plot draws to its emotional and thought-provoking conclusion, I was kept guessing. The ending wasn’t what I was expecting but it is definitely fitting and left me with that warm glow of satisfaction.

This is a great novel, especially for science fiction fans. In fact, after reading a brief extract, one of the children in the class has asked to borrow. That’s as good a recommendation as any.

www.mrdaviesreads.co.uk
Profile Image for Jenni Frencham.
1,283 reviews52 followers
September 8, 2018
Bethell, Zillah. The Extraordinary Colors of Auden Dare. Feiwel Friends, 2018.

Auden Dare can't see color, but that's the least of his worries. His world is in the midst of the Water Wars, and his father is away fighting against the enemy over the small amount of water left on the planet. Auden and his mom move into his late uncle's home, and Auden uncovers a mystery there. He's certain this mystery will lead to his uncle's experiments to help Auden see color, but perhaps there are bigger things at stake.

This book started very, very slowly, without much of the explanatory world-building that happens in a story set in a world so different from our own. Auden's voice wavers between sounding like a child and sounding like an adult reminiscing about childhood, so it was hard to discern whether he sounds right for his age. The end of the book certainly picks up its pace and becomes very readable and interesting; it's just disappointing that the first third of the book is such a slog, because many readers will abandon a book if it isn't interesting early enough. The whole issue with Auden being colorblind has led some to say this is a great read alike for The Giver, but it isn't remotely the same kind of story, so I don't think that's an accurate suggestion. I would give this book to kids who enjoyed The War that Saved My Life or possibly the HiLo graphic novels, but I would likely read the first third of the book aloud together until it gets to the interesting parts so that the child would be compelled to finish the story.

Recommended for: tweens, middle grade
Red Flags: some intense action scenes
Overall Rating: 3/5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Netgalley for the purpose of review.
Profile Image for Barbara.
12.9k reviews264 followers
November 28, 2018
Eleven-year-old Auden Dare is unable to see colors, a condition known as achromatopsia, and he often endures teasing because of his differences. He's sure that his uncle, a scientist, has been working on a machine that will help him see colors. When he and his mother move into his uncle's house after his unexpected death, Auden discovers a marvelous robot named Paragon that his uncle designed. With his friend, Vivi, who also knew his uncle, Auden tries to help Paragon figure out his true purpose. Given that there were frequent references to water shortages and everyone being dirty and thirsty and wars were being fought over water, I had a pretty good idea what that purpose might turn out to be. But the unfolding of the story is gentle, just as gentle as the friendship that springs up between boy and machine and how desperate Auden is to keep Paragon from being used by the military forces around them. The author has created an interesting world, one in which prices for food are outlandish and water is rationed, one that might not be that far in the future. There is even a subplot involving Auden's father that keeps readers wondering about what happened to him. Even though I was pretty sure how this would all turn out, I still enjoyed reading the book. My favorite scenes occurred when Paragon was racing through the fields with Auden and Vivi in his arms. The fact that Paragon was constantly spouting poetry, something that Auden didn't really understand at first reveals the depth and humanity to this machine. If anyone doubts that a robot can feel human emotions, this book will convince them otherwise.
Profile Image for Anthony Frobisher.
183 reviews2 followers
May 31, 2022
Hope is the thing with colours

A beautifully written book, a story that is both a fable of friendship, loyalty and trust and a portent of a world that is plunged into conflict, an apocalyptic world devoid of the most essential requirement, water.
Set in a future where a bus ticket costs £8,000, it is a dystopian, yet hopeful children's tale that is thought-provoking and satisfying. 11 year old Auden Dare, hopes to discover the secrets his recently deceased scientist uncle left in a 'rainbow machine'. A machine he hopes will help him see colours - living with achromatic vision, only seeing in black and white. Aided by his friend Vivi and a humanoid poetry quoting robot called Paragon, the three attempt to discover the truth of Paragon's real purpose. At the same time the Orwellian 'WAB' Water Allocation Board (think Thought Police for water rationing and supply) try to find and use Paragon for their own manipulative reasons.
As with Zillah Bethell's A Whisper of Horses, there is much to uncover and enjoy in a book with many layers and twists. The innocence and bravery of children in a chaotic, harsh world created by the power lust of adults gives a clear and powerful message. We as custodians of the planet need to protect and conserve it to pass on to future generations.
But we should never underestimate the tenacity and determination of children to not accept injustice and to fight to change things for the better.
An excellent book and highly recommended for all. Children and adults alike.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Seals.
352 reviews
September 4, 2019
1.5 stars. Auden has achromatopsia; he can't see any color and lives his world in black and white. His uncle is a scientist that died out of the blue and Auden thinks he may have created a machine that will let him see color. Eventually, Auden and his friend Vivi find a robot named Paragon, but will this robot help Auden see color and why does the Water Board Allocation want him? I loved that the author presented a character with achromatopsia because I didn't even know the condition existed. However, I felt like the rest of it was a jumbled mess. Throughout the book, Auden keeps mentioning a war that is not explained until about eighty pages into the book and even then the water crisis is maybe mentioned twenty percent of the book in totality. Paragon is a sweet character and acts as an interim father figure to Auden as most of the book goes on, but what bugged me was the fact that for about seventy-five percent of the book all Auden, Vivi, and Paragon are doing is trampling around, scaring bullies, and not finding out answers to what Paragon is. I also felt like Vivi was two dimensional and could have easily been taken out of the storyline. I believe Paragon was the best character in this book, he was patient and a wonderful character that I would like to see more of in other books.
February 11, 2018
The extraordinary colours of Auden Dare is in fact rather a extraordinary book! 

I was a little bit unsure of what to expect before reading it but i can honestly say that it surprised me in a great way.

The story is expertly crafted, the war on water feels strangely familiar and the dystopian world in which Auden is living in feels like it could almost parallel ours at times- in fact it could all just be one big foreshadow to the future of our planets inhabitants. I likened the war and rations on water to wars begun in ownership rows on oil. 

The imagery that this idea then set up was strong and at times hard to swallow because the sense of it all being utterly wrong was so intense, the thought was heartbreaking- nobody expects to have just 4 minutes a week to clean themselves.

Bethall conjured such powerful imagery when she described a world constantly thirsty.

This is definitely a thought provoking novel and a definite must for those that like mystery, intrigue and science elements. There are many other parts to the book but i don't want to spoil it for you, go and discover it's secrets now!

My favourite character is Vivi and Paragon.

I couldn't put it down and read it all in one sitting.
Profile Image for Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*.
6,001 reviews176 followers
February 6, 2019
The Extraordinary Colors of Auden Dare by Zillah Bethell, 339 pages. Feiwell and Friends (Macmillan), 2018. $17. Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

BUYING ADVISORY: EL – OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Auden Dare cannot see colors. When he follows the clues in a note left to him by his deceased uncle, he stumbles upon a robot and a machine that he hopes will solve his sight disease. But there are bigger problems going on. The world is in a war over the shortage of water. Constantly dealing with thirst, Auden and his friend must figure out the robot’s purpose and a way to get the machine working.

This is a futuristic dystopian novel. It has the elements of good science-fiction. A future world in turmoil. A medical issue in need of curing. A government agency on the trail. A likable robot. It’s fast faced. The only negative is that this author tries to pack too much into one story, making it convoluted at times. I would have liked the story more if it had focused on the water shortage or the color disease, but not both. If you need to beef up your science fiction offerings, this is a reasonable choice. Otherwise, pass.

Valerie McEnroe, Media Specialist
https://kissthebookjr.blogspot.com/20...
Profile Image for Justine Laismith.
Author 2 books18 followers
March 28, 2022
This middle-grade book is set in a dystopian future where the lands have dried up and there is a war in Europe over water.

With his father away fighting, our protagonist and his mother moves into his late uncle's cottage in Cambridge to save on rent money. Through the ram-shackled cottage and his old office in Trinity College, Auden tries to make sense of his late uncle, whose will included an impersonal letter to him. He soon discovers his new classmate had a very similar letter. Between him and his new friend, they unravel the riddle left by his uncle.

Readers familiar with Cambridgeshire will recognise the names of local places. The author has done a great job with the pacing and the characters. You hate the baddies and love the heroes. I liked the clever ideas surrounding cryptic names like Six-Six and Golden Boy. The story was engaging throughout. The climax was fast paced and tensed. The ending was bittersweet, but written in such a sensitive way it was perfect for middle-grade readers.

If you are a fan of Emily Dickinson's poems, this is an added bonus.

Opening line: Sometimes after school I stand and watch the traffic lights.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
342 reviews15 followers
April 18, 2018
This book is GORGEOUS! I finished it in one sitting! Auden may not be able to see colour but his world is by no means black & white. Like her previous book, this one includes a prominent environmental issue, here in the shape of water shortages & rationing thanks to drastically reduced rainfall & the consequences of that (short summing up: DON'T WASTE WATER!), two brilliant child protagonists in the form of Auden & Vivi and, unique to this story, our third protagonist in the form of Paragon: an android with oodles of heart & humour who you just want to hug! (Seriously, who couldn't love an android that quotes Emily Dickinson!?) The relationship between Auden, Vivi & Paragon is a thing of beauty (a certain scene near the end almost had me in tears). A beautiful story of friendship & the vital necessity of independent thought, if you have or know a child who loves books, give them a copy. then, when they're finished, nick it & read it yourself! ;D

Thank you so much to Zillah for generously sending me a copy!
October 29, 2019
My book is called the extraordinary colors of Auden dare by Zillah Bethell.This book is science-fiction because Auden dare went walking and found a working robot in a shed. Another reason why the book is science fiction is because the robot could talk and move. This book is about Auden Dare who is a colorblind kid. He is eleven years old and in his free time he stares at the traffic lights. Things started changing when he found a robot. The conflict of the book is was that the robot, that could let Auden see colors, started to not work properly. The theme of the book is to explore the world even if you have a disability. The setting of the book is the UK. An internal conflict is man vs self is on page 242 because Auden dare says “no, it’s worse, I can’t see any color at all”. An external conflict is man vs nature because on page 250 he starts a project called “project rainbow”. I liked the book because I got to learn how a colorblind struggles. I recommend this to any person that has an interest to see how a color blind life is.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
326 reviews
November 24, 2019
So this book is the prime example of why I love participating in the state reading awards. Auden Dare is not a book I would pick up if I was left to my own devices. This was the last book on the list I had left to read and I deliberately put it off. I am not a fan of sci fi and this fits squarely in that category. To make it even harder it took quite a ways into the story before Auden grew on me as a character. But the ending to the story redeemed it entirely. It is a message sorely needed in the world today. I loved the quote that said, “If you have the opportunity to do good for others, you should do it.” I would readily recommend this to other readers and this will now be my example for my students for why they should try a book outside their comfort zone.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
6 reviews
January 2, 2023
A boy named Auden who cannot see in colour, a condition known as Achromatopsia, is in a future-world where water is scarce and wars are rife. After Auden’s uncle dies, he moves to Cambridge with his mother and settles in his uncle’s ramshackle cottage.

He makes friends with Vivi, a bright fellow student, and together they slowly discover traces of Uncle Jonah’s legacy, leading them to befriending a robot and eventually saving the world through Vivi’s intelligence and Auden’s determination.

I thought the book was fairly funny and okay, but the plot was predictable. Some endearing moments though, and would recommend for anyone wanting to enjoy a casual, lighthearted novel set in the future.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kevin.
945 reviews45 followers
August 16, 2019
At some point I stumbled on this at the library and put it on my to read list. I enjoyed it but it felt a little thin in the world building department. Like the dystopian world was just a backdrop or plot hook. I also found Auden rather annoying at times but given his age and circumstances perhaps that is to be expected. Once I got into it, however, the plot picked up and the ending was enjoyable. Paragon was a fun character if you can suspend disbelief.

Usual caveats regarding YA/Middle Grade fiction not aimed at me, etc.
44 reviews
April 18, 2021
Absolutely loved this book! Set in a world/time that differs to ours, two extraordinary kids become best friends not only with each other but with a robot, who was built by one of the kid's uncle. Auden can not see colour, it bothers him at times, but he doesn't let it stop him living his life to the fullest! A world without water seems impossible to imagine, but this is how they are living, and a world at war over the little water they can get.

I found this to be a very touching story that I couldn't put down and I loved every minute of it!

Highly recommend!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Claire Fayers.
Author 7 books85 followers
October 17, 2017
I read this book after seeing it recommended, and I'm very glad I did. An interesting setting (Britain in the midst of a water war after global rainfall has stopped) combines with quirky characters and themes of friends, family, loyalty and individual identity. The gradually unfolding mystery draws you into the story, but the book is really memorable for the characters of Auden and Vivi and their developing friendship.
Profile Image for Ami Geddes.
47 reviews1 follower
July 28, 2020
This book is about a young boy named Auden, who is colourblind. He and his friend Vivi work together to find out how to work a rainbow machine. While they are investigating, they find a robot named Paragon. This robot talks and acts like a human, and even feels like a human, but it still takes Auden a while to realise that Paragon has feelings.
My favourite parts in this book are the bonding moments between the characters. A lot of them being between Paragon × Auden and Auden × Vivi. I also love the concept of Auden being colourblind. I feel that there are hardly any books about colourblindness, and that there should be more.
The thing I dont like about this book is that it is hard to just pick up and start reading. It takes a while to get on a roll with it.
I also love the ending. I think that the gift Milo Treble gave Auden was very smart.
In conclusion, I give this book 4 stars. It wasn't a perfect book, and I probably won't be picking it up again, but I very much enjoyed it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
3 reviews
September 16, 2020
I thought that this book was rather entertaining. It was realistic sci-fy throughout. You never hear anything that sounds too far off in the story. I do however believe that it was rather repetitive. The characters solve one mystery about themselves, then move on to the next, making rather monotonous until you get to the story's climax. The climax was fun to read. Overall it was captivating and entertaining. Time to start another!
Profile Image for Lydia.290.
45 reviews
November 3, 2017
I won this book as a giveaway prize and thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommended it for children around 8+

It includes themes such as friendship, inner conflict between doing what is right and wrong as Auden has to make a decision despite having selfish intentions, the effects of war and scientific themes such as the solar system.
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