In a land where only royalty can wear colors other than gray and brown, a baby is found in a monster's footprint by a pair of old thieves. Auralia grows up among the outcasts outside the walls of House Abascar, soon displaying a wondrous, but forbidden, talent for creating colors from the things she finds in nature. Her gift sets in motion events that will forever change the course of the world.
Right and wrong are clearly denoted, but there are both noble deeds among the 'villains' of the story and weaker moments among some of the good characters.
Both angels and the Creator are represented in the story, and right and wrong are portrayed as such. I must confess, without giving too much away, that I found the depiction of the Creator somewhat unsettling, primarily in His appearance.
There's quite a bit of battle and bloodshed in the story, and some of it is graphic.
Drug and Alcohol Content
A primary character is the 'ale boy' who serves drinks to the wealthy. The king in particular is fond of a drink called hajka which is clearly causing him to deteriorate. A soldier smuggles wine with him while on duty, and a girl makes a bet regarding whether she can get a taste of the king's hajka.
One character is clearly carrying on a couple of immoral relationships, mostly offstage, and none described graphically. One is with an already married woman who clearly feels somewhat guilty about their relationship.
Crude or Profane Language or Content
We are told that some characters swear, including a little girl mimicking a parent, but aside from one invented curse word, we don't hear what words the characters actually use.
This story is told in beautiful, often poetic prose. The characters are fascinating, and the story gripping. Moreover, as I finished the story, I found myself looking more closely at God's creation and taking notice of how the colors He has put into leaves and hillsides so consistently outshine the colors that we ourselves create. This isn't a story for very young children. It has an edge of harder fantasy, but there is a brilliance that shines through too.