Book Tour Review: Color Song by Victoria Strauss

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Title: Color Song
Author: Victoria Strauss 
Genre: young adult, historical fiction
Series: Passion Blue #2
Pages: 334
Published: September 2014
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Rating: 3.5/5

Artistically brilliant, Giulia is blessed - or cursed - with a spirit's gift: she can hear the mysterious singing of the colors as she creates them in the convent workshop of Maestra Humilita. It's here that Giulia, forced into the convent against her will, has found unexpected happiness and rekindled her passion to become a painter - an impossible dream for any woman in 15th century Italy.

But when a dying Humilita bequeaths Giulia her most prized possession - the secret formula for the luminously beautiful paint called Passion blue - Giulia realizes she's in danger from those who have long coveted the famous color. Faced with the prospect of a life in the convent barred from painting as punishment for keeping Humilita's secret, Giulia is struck by a desperate idea: What if she disguises herself as a boy? Could she make her way to Venice and find work as an artist's apprentice?

Along with the truth of who she is, Giulia carries more dangerous secrets: the exquisite voices of her paint colors and the formula for Humilita's Passion blue. And Venice, she discovers, with its gilded palazzos and masked balls, has secrets of its own. Trapped in her false identity in this dream-like place where reality and reflection are easily confused, and where art and ambition, love and deception hover like dense fog, can Giulia find her way?

This compelling novel explores timeless themes of love and illusion, gender and identity as it asks the question: what does it mean to risk everything to pursue your passion?

Victoria Strauss's second novel in the Passion Blue series is a strong follow up and an engaging conclusion to main character and narrator Giulia's ongoing historical story. With minimal but thorough recapping, it's easy to begin this series with Passion Blue itself or by picking up Giulia's story here with the sequel. With some interesting plotlines and well-defined characters, Strauss creates a plausible and entertaining story of this strong-willed female artist living during the late 1400's in Italy.

Breaking away from the established locations of the first book, Color Song sees Giulia on an adventure in Venice after her painting Maestra, dies, thus leaving Giulia's future (and present) with the convent in jeopardy. It's a year and a half past the events of book one, but Giulia's sense of wellbeing and belonging start to fray once the new Maestra begins plying her for the secret to Passion blue. Giulia has always been strong-willed, so her battle of wills with her new mistress is not unexpected, but does add a new layer of struggle to Giulia's story.

Using Giulia and her less-than-well-received goals and dreams for the time, Strauss creates a subtle discussion about gender, identity, and gender roles in her newest novel. Color Song isn't taking a stance on anything or here to lecture, but the point is proved over and over throughout. Giulia is talented and capable and her fight for recognition, for an education, is compelling and frustrating all at the same time. Her vocation for art and expression is undeniable and it's easy to find yourself sympathizing and cheering for this character.

Detailed, rich, evocative, Color Song is a great sequel to what Passion Blue began. Victoria Strauss ably recreates the past, almost as easily as she creates realistic and defined characters. I would easily recommend this to historical fiction readers who like genderbending, going against convention, or just a well-written YA historical. 

Color Song Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, September 16
Book Blast at Passages to the Past
Book Blast at The True Book Addict

Tuesday, September 17
Review at Oh the Books
Book Blast at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, September 18
Review at Casual Readers
Review at (Passion Blue)

Thursday, September 19
Review at

Monday, September 22
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Feature at Oh the Books

Tuesday, September 23
Book Blast at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, September 24
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective
Interview at Bibliophilia, Please
Book Blast at Reading Lark

Thursday, September 25
Book Blast at A Book Geek

Friday, September 26
Review at Reading Room Book Reviews
Book Blast at Just One More Chapter

Monday, September 29
Review at Tribute Books Mama
Interview at Math, Science & Social Studies…Oh My!

Tuesday, September 30
Review at Book Babe
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, October 1
Review & Interview at Bookish
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry

Thursday, October 2
Review at Brooke Blogs
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Friday, October 3
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Book Blast at The Lit Bitch

Saturday, October 4
Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing

Monday, October 6
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Book Blast at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, October 7
Review at A Leisure Moment

Wednesday, October 8
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, October 10
Review at A Bookish Affair

1 comment:

  1. I do so like the setting. That period in history fascinates me.


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