Book Review: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

Title: A Corner of White (The Colours of Madeline #1)
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Adventure
Publisher: Macmillian Australia
Publication Date: October 2012
Pages: 432
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, the World – a city of spires, Isaac Newton and Auntie’s Tea Shop.

Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello – where seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn of attacks from dangerous Colours.

They are worlds apart – until a crack opens up between them; a corner of white – the slim seam of a letter.

A mesmerising story of two worlds; the cracks between them, the science that binds them and the colours that infuse them.

My Review:

She knew this.
That philematology is the science of kissing.
That Samuel Langhorne Clemens is better known as Mark Twain.
That, originally, gold comes from the stars.

The summary both perfectly sums up this book and at the same time doesn’t begin to touch on why I enjoyed reading it so much.

A Corner of White is a tale of two cities – or more appropriately, a stories of two worlds. Madeline Tully, a fifteen year old who lives with her mother in the English city of Cambridge. After running away from her father two years ago, the two of them have made a life for themselves in the colourless and drab college town.

In a parallel world where seasons change moment to moment and the rare Butterfly Children with magical powers appear in glass jars, the Kingdom of Cello is home to a boy named Elliot Baranski. Having lost his uncle and father to a purple attack, Elliot has made it his mission to track down the colour who took his dad away and bring him home.

Madeline and Elliot stumble upon a crack in the fabric between the worlds and start writing to one another. With lives so different and yet eerily similar, the two come to grips with the voids in their own lives and try to live full lives again.

I loved the Kingdom of Cello. I’ve read a few novels with parallel universes but never have a read a world that is so similar to the present day in which I live – and yet at the same time so incredibly different. The idea that colours can cause blindness, brutality or influence one’s thoughts and feelings so tangibly is such an interesting and brilliant concept.

Madeline and her comrades at Cambridge in the World are characters that I enjoyed reading about. Belle and Jack are believable as slightly eccentric sidekicks with their own little quirks. Elliot is a likeable hero too. He’s strong and brave but he has enough flaws of his own to keep him interesting. I loved how Madeline and Elliot were so different and yet so similar.

This novel is interesting, imaginative and beautifully written. The colours – real or flat, in the World or in the Kingdom of Cello – were interwoven throughout in a way that made the worlds collide in such a way that made me believe in the existence of Cello. I thought it was so clever how the author managed to combine the real with the imaginary, magic with science, whilst still delivering a story that kept me interested right up until the last page.

With thanks to Pan Macmillan and the Reading Room for the review copy.

Amazon / Book Depository


  1. Pingback: 2012 End of Year Book Survey « whY.A.not?

  2. Pingback: A to Z Survey | whY.A.not?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.