The Colour of Hope

The Colour of Hope

By Author / Illustrator

Ross MacKenzie



Age range(s)



Andersen Press Ltd




Paperback / softback




Years ago, the Emperor used dark magic to steal all the colour from the world. Now he keeps it for himself, enjoying its life-giving power while everyone else must exist in cold shades of grey. That is, until a miracle baby is born - everything she touches turns to colour. But the child's life is in danger from her very first breath. Soon the Emperor's murderous Ripper Dogs and Black Coats come hunting. Can the girl and her adopted father survive in the forest - and what will it take to return colour and hope to the world?

Video & Q&A with author Ross MacKenzie



I absolutely fell in love with this stunning, captivating and endearing fantasy. The story takes place in a world that is only coloured with shades of cold grey. All colour has been stolen by a dark Emperor and an even colder, malevolent aunt - the Necromancer with her hideously evil scheme of stealing the souls of those who have died and passed over to be her Black Coat slaves.   Alongside the truly terrifying Ripper Dogs, the land is ruled by fear and with submission to the idea that all colour is banned and using it punishable by death.

Hope is a Rainbow Child. A powerful, hidden secret child with colour running through her . Spoken of in whispers and behind closed doors and not quite believed in… She is hunted from the very second she is born and tragedy and loss mark the start of her life. Her protector, mage Sandy, knows of her destiny and devotes his life to keeping her safe.

The Colour of Hope is a beautifully written book that shimmers with magic and heart. The story follows Hope as she grows - learning more about her unique power over the years and also understanding more about the cruelty of a world without the joy of colour. The novel excels in the finely balanced level of threat and peril it creates. The Necromancer herself is an incredibly menacing and sinister character and Mackenzie heightens the shadows of dark magic by also setting so much action within dark and often treacherous woods and putting truly wicked obstacles in Hope's path. The insidious characters draw on the best and most frightening folklores and fairytales of witches capturing children. It is deliciously dark and unsettling at times.

The bursts of colour throughout the book as Hope grows feel like glorious explosions of vibrancy that almost come out of the page. The magic is thrilling, brave and exciting and in the centre of all this is the heart of this book that is is Hope's relationship with her adopted father, mage Sandy. It is so gently, warmly and lovingly written.

Loyalty, love, being unique and celebrating kindness and joy shine fiercely and brightly in this wonderful story.

368 pages / Reviewed by Jennifer Caddick, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


In a land where all colour has been stolen by the Emperor, a girl is born. A miracle child, she and everything she touches are filled with colour, bringing life to a world reduced to shades of grey. Constantly in danger from the evil Ripper Dogs and Black Coats who terrorise the land, this child, named Hope by Sandy and his dog, Oliver, who rescued her as a baby, must hide who she really is; but could she be the one to set them all free and return colour to the world?

Completely absorbing from start to finish, The Colour of Hope is such a wonderful book. The very thought of a world drained of its colour is such a powerful one, which instantly makes the reader reflect on the impact this would have on their daily lives. The world-building is everything I have come to expect from Ross MacKenzie - full of atmospheric and detailed descriptions. Hope is a fabulous character. Stubborn and feisty, she comes to understand and appreciate the significance of her 'power' and the development of her character is both convincing and touching.

Being invested in her and other characters in the story, there were a number of moments which left me quietly sobbing. Sandy is very skilfully developed. Living with shadows from his past, the love and care he shows for the orphan he found is absolute and the bond between them is beautiful. The story clearly shows that 'family' can come in any shape or form, not necessarily being blood relations. The plot is perfectly paced with moments of intense peril balanced by humour and action. Written in the present tense, the story moves swiftly, building to a very satisfying, yet poignant, conclusion with magic, mystery and folklore along the way.

The Colour of Hope would make an excellent read aloud, sure to captivate a class and ignite their imaginations.

368 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


Other titles