Review: Alizarin Crimson by Erica Millard

About the book:

Van Gogh’s madness has found her.

While attending a prestigious summer art school in New York City, seventeen-year-old Aya’s red paint attacks her skin, tattoos her, and enables her to manipulate the color red. The red takes over Aya’s passionate emotions, making her volatile. Color stole Van Gogh’s sanity, now it’s come for hers if she can’t gain control.

Aya is thrown into the dangerous world of Aolians, people like her who can manipulate the world and people around them. Dune, a glass-wielding Aolian, threatens to kill Aya if she doesn’t lead her to the Aveum, an ancient and dangerous artifact that Dune thinks Van Gogh hid. The Aveum could save Aya’s sanity, or, if Dune finds it, could destroy humans and Aolians alike. On top of all that, she’s crushing hard on a thoroughly human boy who can’t know her secret.

Aya must choose between retaining her sanity, or saving the world from Dune.

Review by Katy Haye:

The premise of Alizarin Crimson grabbed me from the moment I read the blurb. I don’t know much about art, but I love Van Gogh’s work and his story is absolutely heart-breaking. Alizarin Crimson weaves a fabulous story that gives a nod to Van Gogh in a way that’s gloriously empathetic and entertaining.

Erica Millard’s writing is utterly absorbing. I was immediately in Aya’s world. I particularly liked the friendships and male-female relationships because boundaries were respected without question and without anyone needing to fight or argue about the matter. And the girl who tried to make boys an issue with the girls is shown to be not a friend.

Starting in our “ordinary” world, Alizarin Crimson introduced its otherworldly aspects convincingly and evolved into a fast-paced thriller that made my heart beat faster. I knew there had to be a twist coming, but I wasn’t quite sure what it would be – and I was throroughly satisfied by the denouement.

And a wonderful side-effect: I now love Van Gogh even more than I did before.

Katy Haye’s Princess Witch series is progressing. Book 1, Dragon Thief  and sequel Dragon Flight are both out now. If you like forbidden magic, dragons and a romance strewn with obstacles, this is the series for you!

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