Verdict: The characters and the clean (if rather manic) writing do make the book worth a read, and there are plenty of well-done scenes, but I found it frustrating that I could never figure out whether I was supposed to take it seriously or not.
One day a grape-colored cloud swirled around the world and stole away every human being between the ages of 18 and 65. The Purple, as it came to be called, left the old folks and the young people to fend for themselves, but because it also brought increased vitality and better health for everyone, they were able to cobble together a functioning society and carry on.
Ellie, a 15-year-old Londoner, is filled with emptiness and a vague sense that she should be doing more. When she runs into Midge one day on the bus, coincidences start to pile up and point the way to a quest for the two girls plus two boys they meet in similar, improbable ways. Together, Ellie, Midge, Marty, and Scott have to figure out why they’ve been bought together and how they can save their world.
Purple is built on coincidences that turn out not to be random at all. Even realizing this, I felt I’d hit one coincidence too many when there were still several left to come. Similarly, there were a lot of caricature- like characters (and over-the-top hairstyles) that seemed like they should be in a slapstick comedy, but the book wasn’t really funny. I kept wondering if it was supposed to be.
The two main plot threads — the Purple and the appearance of ghosts — made me feel like I was reading two completely different novels merged together. One was a science fictional, near-future dystopia, and one was an Victorian-esque ghost adventure mystery set in the present day. The author does tie them together at the end (though “why?” is never really answered).
The characters and the clean (if rather manic) writing do make the book worth a read, and there are plenty of well-done scenes, but I found it frustrating that I could never figure out whether I was supposed to take it seriously or not.
Reviewed by Niko Sylvester for IndieReader