Title: Fire Colour One
Author: Jenny Valentine
Published by: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Publication date: July 2015
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Iris’ father, Ernest, is at the end of his life and she hasn’t even met him. Her best friend, Thurston, is somewhere on the other side of the world.
Everything she thought she knew is up in flames.
Now her mother has declared war and means to get her hands on Ernest’s priceless art collection. But Ernest has other ideas.
There are things he wants Iris t know after he’s gone. And the truth has more than one way of coming to light…
Fire Colour One is a “novel about love, lies and redemptions” – and I couldn’t agree more. It is clear in the novel that Ernest loved his daughter very much, even though he has not seen her or been with her for the majority of her life, Ernest wanted to do good by his daughter, Iris.
I was surprised as to how much I truly enjoyed reading this novel. It is about love, there are lies involved – but mostly everyone can see through the obvious one, but the greatest reveal was something that you should have seen coming, but just didn’t. I liked how it was about art, and how it has become the centre of the story and their importance and significance to everything – especially the title.
Iris is a troubled teenager, a pyromaniac – she sets fire to things to calm herself, and to clear her head of the bad things in the world. The only person she truly cares about is her “best and only friend”, Thurston, whom she is most likely to never see again. The fact that she is on the first name basis with her parents, shows how much their familial relationship is not strong, and in this case the phrase “blood is thicker than water” serves no meaning nor purpose to either of them, apart from when money is concerned.
This is where Iris’ estranged father, Ernest, comes into the picture – he is rich and he is dying, and Hannah is going to take advantage of this by finally allowing him an audience with their daughter – in exchange for his fortune when he is gone. Throughout this story, Iris finally learns the truth behind her mother’s lies about her father, and she finally realises how much Ernest truly cared about Iris. But the only problem is, they don’t have the time they want with each other, as Ernest is dying – and his health is deteriorating as the days past.
It does take a while to understand what the story is truly about, for a while I thought it was about a pyromaniac teenager who has a dying father (which it is), but as the story goes on it is a representation how money controls the world we live in, about relationships and about burning bridges.
Fire Colour One is a beautiful novel, there is no doubt about that. However, I found the plot to be lacking, but that is not to say that I didn’t have my mind blown when reading the novel – as there were instances when I have to re-read a sentence just to etch it into my mind. An example:
But what if death is the one and only way that you do get to live forever? If the weight of the universe never changes, regardless of who’s living and who’s dying, that must mean we never leave it, not entirely.
This book made me think about many things concerning life – and this was just one of the many instances it did so. And as someone who wants to study Philosophy, these are the kinds of things that makes my brain going, and it does make me wonder about the different aspects of life and how we are living it – that we are in fact immortal, as one way or another we are still a part of this world even though we may not be in the form that we want.
This is a brilliant novel, especially if you want a short book to read.
Overall Rating: 🌕🌕🌕🌓