- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (14 January 2020)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250162742
- ISBN-13: 978-1250162748
- Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 3 x 21.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 363 g
- Customer Reviews: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 229,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dark and Deepest Red Hardcover – 14 Jan 2020
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"McLemore weaves another magic spell...The author spins a tale of first love, misfits forging their own places in the world, and the inherent prejudices of people who fear what they don't understand. This novel will leave an indelible mark on readers' hearts."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"McLemore fashions another gorgeous novel that reminds readers of the ways fairy-tale evils and, more importantly, love have their roots in the real world...McLemore's well-choreographed story will dance on in readers' minds." --Booklist, starred review
"McLemore skillfully weaves together these parallel medieval and modern tales in alternating chapters...Dark and Deepest Red's provocative, insightful collision of fairy tale and history is a powerful demonstration of McLemore's immense talent." --Bookpage, starred review
"McLemore's vision and skill inspire awe in this gorgeously rendered novel...McLemore's settings charm and their plotting captivates, but it is their devoted and deep character development that makes the work so enthralling." --Shelf Awareness, starred review
"A powerful exposé of how differences are misunderstood, judged, and villainized by fear... A bold contemporary journey into generational secrets and perceptions of evil and otherness." --School Library Journal
"The sort of book that ruins all other books for you. Lush, hypnotic, and an absolute feast for the senses... McLemore has once again proved themself to be one of the finest writers working today." --Mackenzi Lee, New York Times-bestselling author of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
"One of the most beautiful books I've read in years. McLemore is a master."--Susan Dennard, New York Times-bestselling author of the Witchlands series
"Lush, bewitching, and captivating, this shines a triumphant light on the stories of those who have too long had to be silent or lived only in the shadows of history." --Robin LaFevers, New York Times bestselling author of His Fair Assassin
"A story to wreck your heart, sew it up, and set it free." --Martha Brockenbrough, author of Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary
"Eerily suspenseful, achingly romantic, and fiercely defiant." --Rebecca Speas, One More Page Books
"Graceful as a dancing slipper, complex as a chemical reaction, magical as an incantation. A masterpiece." -- Elana K. Arnold, Printz Honor winner and author of Red Hood
Praise for Blanca & Roja:
"Any fan of McLemore's body of work, Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, or Malinda Lo's fantasy will revel in this novel. A magical and lovely first purchase for all YA shelves." --School Library Journal, starred review
"McLemore is at her finest... She writes open-heartedly about families found and families given, the weight of expectation and the price of duty, and in the end offers up something that's vibrant, wondrously strange, and filled to the brim with love of all kinds." --Booklist, starred review
"McLemore weaves in powerful themes of identity, family, and first love, but there are also much-needed messages about overcoming hurtful stereotypes and expectations. McLemore's poignant retelling is a must-read for fans of fantasy and fairy tales." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Praise for Wild Beauty
"No one does magical realism quite like McLemore . . . Sheer magic: fierce, bright, and blazing with possibility." --Booklist, starred review
"McLemore weaves an intricate tale of family, love, loss, and flowers." --School Library Journal, starred review
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Five centuries later, “the glimmer” has once again fallen over the town of Briar Meadows. This strange phenomenon overcomes the town every year, bringing about both innocuous and life-changing magic. This year pairs of red shoes begin turning up, casting a kind of love magic on their wearers. For Rosella Oliva, donning these red shoes has unforeseen consequences. They take hold of her, refusing to let go, forcing her dance and putting her life in danger. The only person who might help is Emil, a boy who has done his best to tuck away the parts of himself that others in his town once whispered about. He’s closed himself off from his own history, like the story of his ancestors once being blamed for a dancing plague. But in order to help Rosella, Emil will have to reach across centuries to find the truth of what happen to those before him.
Dark and Deepest Red explores various marginalized identities and how these have influence the way characters move about the world. McLemore’s stories are always unapologetically brown and queer and this one is no exception. McLemore has a knack for forcing their characters to see beyond the surface, to splay themselves open and prod all those little things they keep hidden from the world. Much like the dancing plague, these characters have been forced into a kind of dance where they must deny a part of themselves. I loved how McLemore uses these biases and turns them on their head, allowing their characters to turn powerlessness into a moments of cunning and strength. The story is a reminder than even one small act of defiance can have a ripple effect, how one small act may not be small at all, but may have ramifications that transcend time.
Plenty of parallels can be drawn from the two timelines in Dark and Deepest Red. Lala has learned to make herself more gadjo, non-Romani, tucking parts of herself away and folding herself into the circle of young women in town who are looked upon with envy rather than suspicion. Her aunt and her have explained away their brown skin with rumors of Italian nobility. Their proximity to whiteness has become their only defense against the prejudice shown to their people throughout the region. But there is always danger in their very existence, as it is for the trans boy they took in years ago. Alifair’s almost mysterious appearance from the woods has never been fully explained, but Lala and her aunt made him family when he had none. Lala knows that while loving Alifair may always have been inevitable, her love for him might also be his downfall. Scenes between these two range from beautiful to heartbreaking and I’m always in awe of McLemore’s ability to write love stories that both devastate and uplift.
Rosella, like Lala, has discovered that in order to keep the people of Briar Meadows from treating her family as less than (at least more than they already do), she has to make herself more like the girls around her. She may not be able to hide her brown skin, but she can dress like them and talk like them. The only other person who ever understood what it was like to be othered in this town was Emil, but that was years ago when they were both children and understood their place in the world a little less. For Emil, keeping himself from his people’s history has been a way for him to protect himself. Rosella has always been a reminder of the things he was only beginning to realize as a child, that the town he called home was only ever going to look down at his family and their culture if he shared too much. I loved that their story isn’t just about each other, but about who they are individually in relation to their ethnic identities.
Anna-Marie McLemore’s Dark and Deepest Red fused magic and terror into an enthralling tale that will leave you breathless with its piercing truths.
Unfortunately, this ambitious book never quite satisfies. The characters are not introduced well, are never clearly defined, and, therefore, never comes to life and remain amorphous throughout the book. McLemore’s descriptions are deeply specific to the time period and the reader sometimes must pause and reconnoiter in order to determine where they are because while every switch in perspective has a character assigned to it, since they are not clearly drawn attention must be paid to each switch. Some readers may not want to work that hard when they read a book of fiction.
My thanks to Macmillan and Edelweiss for an eARC.
I love how McLemore is always like, "how can I make this more queer?" Dark and Deepest Red is no different. Featuring a Romani girl and a trans boy, McLemore tells a story about love, prejudice, and self-acceptance. Dark and Deepest Red is a story about the blood of fairy tales. The crimson shades of sacrifice. And the bright red of desires society tells us to hide in the dark. I didn't devour Dark and Deepest Red as quickly as I have all of McLemore's other books because of the quick narrative and time changes.
Dark and Deepest Red is told from two different time periods and three main narrators, Emil, Lala, and Rosella. It's a story that proves you can never cover up the past. The actions of our ancestors always catch up to us sooner or later. These changes were harder for me to wrap my head around because at the beginning I wasn't sure the overlap. As the book progresses you begin to see who these narrators are and the way their perspectives mirror each other.