Aussie Book Review: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

A Corner of White (The Colours of Madeleine #1) A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

Paperback (ARC)

Review copy provided by publisher

Pan Macmillan, 18th September, 2012

 Synopsis- Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, the World – a city of spires, Isaac Newton and Auntie’s Tea Shop.

Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello – where seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn of attacks from dangerous Colours.

They are worlds apart – until a crack opens up between them; a corner of white – the slim seam of a letter.

A mesmerising story of two worlds; the cracks between them, the science that binds them and the colours that infuse them.

 Review- I was surprised by how much I enjoyed A Corner of White, YA fantasy novel by Australian author Jaclyn Moriarty.

It introduces two contrasting worlds; one is modern day Cambridge, England where Madeline Tully and her friends Jack and Belle are studying the greats of history and then there’s Elliot Baranski in Bonfire in the Kingdom of Cello where Colours are a thing to be feared. When Madeline notices a letter sticking out of a random parking metre requesting help, she returns a letter and soon begins to correspond with Elliot even though she doesn’t believe in the Kingdom of Cello. I really enjoyed their bantering; Elliot is honest and descriptive about his world, while Madeline makes fun of him and offers her own ideas for his world. Elliot is hoping to track down his father, he believes he was abducted by the Colour Purple; Madeleine is lying in wait for her own father to return for her. I don’t want to give too much away about the plot- partly because I have no way of describing it adequately and partly because in my opinion, part of the fun of reading this book is never knowing where it going.

When I first started reading A Corner of White I didn’t think I would like it. I’m not really a big fan of the purely fantasy world in fiction, I just can’t get into them. But after about 50 pages, there was something about this book that drew me in- it’s quirky, absurd and touching all at the same time. The characterisation was strong- you don’t always get that in fantasy novels and I think that’s what made me enjoy it so much. I felt like I was on a bizarre whirlwind of colour, and lights and mythologies. For the most part I had no idea what was happening or where the story was going, but somehow it worked perfectly and I flipped through the pages so fast, closing the book with a satisfied smile on my face. Not what I expected- but so glad I took the chance and read it.

A promising start to an exceptional fantasy series with fascinating, multi-layered characters and solid world-building by our very own Jaclyn Moriarty. I’m looking forward to finding out what is next in store for Madeline and Elliot!

Overall Rating


“I loved this book!”

 A Corner of White can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers from 18th September 2012.

About the author: Jaclyn Moriarty is an Australian writer of young adult literature.

She studied English at the University of Sydney, and law at Yale University and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD.

She is the younger sister of Liane Moriarty. She was previously married to Canadian writer Colin McAdam, and has a son, Charlie. She currently lives in Sydney.

This book was read as part of the AWW2012 challenge and the eclectic reader challenge (fantasy):




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