4 out of 4 stars
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Imagine your life if you could see no colors; your world was simply shades of gray. You could go on dates, but you couldn't compliment your significant other on the beauty of their blue eyes. You would not be able to see the yellows, oranges, and reds in a beautiful sunrise or sunset. If you were a doctor, would you be able to tell whether or not your patient was bleeding as you couldn't see the red of the blood?
Sergeant Miles Reardon has dealt with this his entire life. It has, perhaps, made him a bit jaded. Colonel Hauser, his superior officer, has the perfect assignment for him, though. There is a colorful, otherworldly "rash" spreading over a human host. This "rash" seems to suck the color from the world around it. Is it infectious? What is it, and where did it originate? Can you succumb just by staring at its mesmerizing nature? This is what the team seeks to find out; in any case, Miles should be immune to its properties since he is colorblind. Will his immunity be a detriment or a blessing? Will the team figure out what this is and how to stop it from spreading?
Chromatophobia is a science fiction story by W.D. County. With around 330 pages, this medium length story has the right blend of science and fiction, which makes for an exciting, fast-paced read. Due to profanity and sexual situations, I would only recommend this to adults.
The cast of characters trying to figure out this color puzzle consists of a magician/paranormal investigator, a code breaker, a physicist, and a psychiatrist (along with Sergeant Reardon providing security). They don't always get along and are often at odds with each other; this creates an interesting dynamic that's worth reading all by itself. Some of the characters are likable; some are not quite so easy to appreciate. The fact that some of the characters were maddening - and I wanted to yell at them - tells me Mr. County did a great job creating a realistic cast. They, also, aren't quite what you'd expect, and I enjoyed how the author avoided the stereotypes of these popular (at least within the genre) occupations. Reardon is every bit the soldier that you'd expect. Yet, his colorblindness provides depth to his character that you don't often see with military types.
The plot moved at a good clip; I was engaged throughout the story. We are left to figure out the riddle of this "rash" along with this team of professionals. While I found this infuriating at times (why won't the author just tell me what it is), it certainly added to the suspense of the story and kept me turning the pages.
I found very little to complain about with this book. The author was able to add enough science to validate the theories of the characters without overwhelming the reader. There are supernatural elements at work that would appeal to many. The proofreading was done well, as I found only a few errors. The characters were realistic and (at least some of them) relatable. I am happy to award Chromatophobia 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to lovers of science fiction who appreciate the inclusion of supernatural elements and aren't put off by some profanity and adult situations. Just keep in mind that once you start reading, you may not want to stop. This is one of those books you want to read faster and faster to figure out what's going on and where it's all leading. Luckily, the journey is as captivating as the final result.
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