Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Cloud of Outrageous Blue by Vesper Stamper - OPTIONAL

A Cloud of Outrageous Blue by Vesper Stamper, 320 pgs. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2020. $20.

Language: PG (22 swears, no “f”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG-13 (lashings as punishment, flagellant behavior, a hanging, and an intentional drowning).



After a series of tragedies, Edyth has lost everything and finds herself sent to live at a priory. As she settles into her new life, outside the walls things are rapidly deteriorating. The Great Plague is spreading across England and as the threat moves closer, Edyth must come to terms with what destiny has in store for her.

Edyth’s plight is one of so many different plots, subplots, and vague threads that the reader will be left confused as to what the overall story is even supposed to be. Her father was murdered, her mother died in childbirth, and other family crises occur with hardly any explanation or exploration. Edyth’s character is repeatedly described with physical flaws, however, it never seems as though there was any character development purpose to her being unattractive. She also has what the reader would infer is synesthesia, but again, why would the author have her experience this condition unless it would somehow add to the overall story? At one point the Black Plague enters the narrative and the plot then veers into fantasy and religious fatalism. Because there are so many stops and starts of so many different story-lines, the reader will be left unsatisfied and baffled as to the author’s motives.

Reviewer: AEB

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