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A Cloud of Outrageous Blue

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For fans of Fever 1793 comes the story of a young woman paving her own path and falling in love during the Great Plague of 1348, from the award-winning creator of What the Night Sings . Edyth grew up in a quiet village with a loving family, before losing everything she holds dear in the blink of an eye. Suddenly sent to live in a priory and work with ancient texts, Edyth mu For fans of Fever 1793 comes the story of a young woman paving her own path and falling in love during the Great Plague of 1348, from the award-winning creator of What the Night Sings . Edyth grew up in a quiet village with a loving family, before losing everything she holds dear in the blink of an eye. Suddenly sent to live in a priory and work with ancient texts, Edyth must come to terms with her new life and the gifts she discovers in herself. But outside the priory, something much worse is coming. With the reappearance of a boy from her past and the ominous Great Plague creeping closer and closer to the priory, it will be up to Edyth to rise above it all and save herself. From the award-winning author-illustrator of What the Night Sings comes a new journey of self-discovery and love in the most uncertain times.


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For fans of Fever 1793 comes the story of a young woman paving her own path and falling in love during the Great Plague of 1348, from the award-winning creator of What the Night Sings . Edyth grew up in a quiet village with a loving family, before losing everything she holds dear in the blink of an eye. Suddenly sent to live in a priory and work with ancient texts, Edyth mu For fans of Fever 1793 comes the story of a young woman paving her own path and falling in love during the Great Plague of 1348, from the award-winning creator of What the Night Sings . Edyth grew up in a quiet village with a loving family, before losing everything she holds dear in the blink of an eye. Suddenly sent to live in a priory and work with ancient texts, Edyth must come to terms with her new life and the gifts she discovers in herself. But outside the priory, something much worse is coming. With the reappearance of a boy from her past and the ominous Great Plague creeping closer and closer to the priory, it will be up to Edyth to rise above it all and save herself. From the award-winning author-illustrator of What the Night Sings comes a new journey of self-discovery and love in the most uncertain times.

30 review for A Cloud of Outrageous Blue

  1. 5 out of 5

    Munro's Kids

    I read this plague novel during the Covid-19 scare, and I'm not sure whether that is a good or very bad thing. I think it is beautiful with gorgeous illustrations. I love the premise - a young girl with Synesthesia sent to live in a nunnery and who finds herself in the middle of the Black Death. The line-by-line writing was also good - I had no problems with that at all. However, the plot at a certain point stopped making sense, as well as the characters' motivations. While some started off feel I read this plague novel during the Covid-19 scare, and I'm not sure whether that is a good or very bad thing. I think it is beautiful with gorgeous illustrations. I love the premise - a young girl with Synesthesia sent to live in a nunnery and who finds herself in the middle of the Black Death. The line-by-line writing was also good - I had no problems with that at all. However, the plot at a certain point stopped making sense, as well as the characters' motivations. While some started off feeling fairly contemporary to their time in terms of their outlook, by the end they felt like part of a convoluted teen drama. And I am not sure what to think about the supernatural element. It filled a function, but not a strong enough theme in my view. However, I read this at a very confused time when I was unfocused myself. So I won't rate it as I think that might be a disservice to the book and based more on my focus as a reader than the actual merit of the text. -Kirsten

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    This was pretty dark. Even for the fourteenth century. But I appreciated the historical accuracy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    hallie bertling

    if you need a book to punch you in the gut as it inspires you, this is the one. i first discovered vesper's work when AS THE NIGHT SINGS called to me from a bookshelf and was an insta-buy by the cover art alone even though i knew nothing about it. it changed my life. and i was SO HERE for vesper's next oversized historical fiction ya illustrated work. her artwork is elegant and subtle, lyrical and haunting. i love her drawings and her painting style, and i was so invested in edyth's story that it was if you need a book to punch you in the gut as it inspires you, this is the one. i first discovered vesper's work when AS THE NIGHT SINGS called to me from a bookshelf and was an insta-buy by the cover art alone even though i knew nothing about it. it changed my life. and i was SO HERE for vesper's next oversized historical fiction ya illustrated work. her artwork is elegant and subtle, lyrical and haunting. i love her drawings and her painting style, and i was so invested in edyth's story that it was painful. did vesper plan to release this mega-work set during the black plague during a worldwide pandemic? no. should you read it during a worldwide pandemic? yes. finding what you were made for. fighting for love and friendships. knowing justice is on its way. these are the things we cling to and endure for. hope remains even in the midst of devastation, violence, grief, and suffering. beautiful work as ever from this gifted author/illustrator.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader

    Gorgeous art, darkly and wonderfully written. The author immediately connects you to the MC and plunges you into this gorgeous world. This story was so much darker and emotional than I first thought, I assumed it would be glossed over but it wasn't and oh man, what a treat. Despite the darker aspects of loss and grief, this was a tale that also gave a wonderful presentation of hope and faith. Stamper truly goes above and beyond in this novel and I fell in love from page one. Thank you to NetGalley a Gorgeous art, darkly and wonderfully written. The author immediately connects you to the MC and plunges you into this gorgeous world. This story was so much darker and emotional than I first thought, I assumed it would be glossed over but it wasn't and oh man, what a treat. Despite the darker aspects of loss and grief, this was a tale that also gave a wonderful presentation of hope and faith. Stamper truly goes above and beyond in this novel and I fell in love from page one. Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for an eARC

  5. 5 out of 5

    Wendopolis

    This was a great book! Lovely art enhanced the story of Edyth, sent away to serve at St. Christopher's after her Da and Ma die, and her brother feels it's best for her. Set during the time of the Black Plague, Edyth grapples with self-doubt as well as conflicts in her new home.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Patti Sabik

    3.5 The artwork is amazing and draws you in. The writing is dreamy and delicious. The story, though, is dark even for a book about the plague and at some points seems to feel more modern vs. medieval both in tone and character motivation.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    The ending people. The. Ending.

  8. 4 out of 5

    sparkypink

    I’m not entirely sure how I want to rate this book. I was very intrigued by the idea of it as I’m fascinated by the Middle Ages. I think it was well written, and I enjoyed the illustrations dispersed throughout the book. The characters were written well, and brought a humanity to the people who lived in the nunnery. At times, I had to remind myself that these characters were living in the Middle Ages, and not in modern times. The author was very descriptive so I feel like even without the illust I’m not entirely sure how I want to rate this book. I was very intrigued by the idea of it as I’m fascinated by the Middle Ages. I think it was well written, and I enjoyed the illustrations dispersed throughout the book. The characters were written well, and brought a humanity to the people who lived in the nunnery. At times, I had to remind myself that these characters were living in the Middle Ages, and not in modern times. The author was very descriptive so I feel like even without the illustrations that were there, I was able to imagine the layout very similar to the map that was included in the back of the book. But despite all this, I ended with a feeling of just…meh, and I really can’t say why. I felt like my attention wavered in and out, and sometimes I just had to put the book down for a few days and read something else before I was able to pick it up and continue with the story. I'm surprised this is considered a YA book. The Amazon listing has it as age 12 or grade 7 and up. I really don't see middle schoolers getting into this book. As for a high schooler, I think it would take someone who is really into the middle ages, and enjoys dark stories. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for and electronic ARC.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    A lyrically written, beautifully illustrated, heartbreaking story of life during the Middle Ages. Edyth, the main character, suffers many loses, yet when faced with an opportunity to flee the ravages of the plague on the monastery where she is working, she chooses loyalty and her sense of calling. I love that Stamper shows all sides of the characters in the monastery. As in life, some are sympathetic and have a real faith; some are wounded and wound others. Recommended for YA and adult readers w A lyrically written, beautifully illustrated, heartbreaking story of life during the Middle Ages. Edyth, the main character, suffers many loses, yet when faced with an opportunity to flee the ravages of the plague on the monastery where she is working, she chooses loyalty and her sense of calling. I love that Stamper shows all sides of the characters in the monastery. As in life, some are sympathetic and have a real faith; some are wounded and wound others. Recommended for YA and adult readers who want an immersive historical read. Review based on an ARC received through NetGalley.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Readers in search of novels set during the Middle Ages would be hard pressed to find much material, but this book might fit the bill. Written and illustrated by the creator of the equally moving What the Night Sings, set during the Holocaust, the book explores similar themes including the value of a human life and the choices each of us makes, choices that may have an impact far beyond the individual that makes them. It also touches on the notion of women's rights and what makes a life meaningfu Readers in search of novels set during the Middle Ages would be hard pressed to find much material, but this book might fit the bill. Written and illustrated by the creator of the equally moving What the Night Sings, set during the Holocaust, the book explores similar themes including the value of a human life and the choices each of us makes, choices that may have an impact far beyond the individual that makes them. It also touches on the notion of women's rights and what makes a life meaningful. The plot concerns Edyth who must leave behind her small village of Hartley Cross after the death of both parents and her family's subsequent financial woes. Her brother Henry arranges for her to live and work in a priory. During the year she spends there, Edyth has the chance to work with cherished manuscripts and even paint. But she quickly comes to realize that not all the nuns have good hearts or pure motives and that she must watch herself around Sister Agnes. In many respects she gains confidence and feels worthy, but she closely guards her secret--the ability to see colors in sounds and the dream she has of coming danger. When her dreams begin to come true and plague overcomes the land, Edyth tries hard to save those that she can even while risking her own life. She and Mason, a young man from back home who has been working as a stonemason, find a cure for the illness and share that cure with others in the priory. But there are naysayers who doubt her, and there are those who wish to silence her. Although there are moments in which Edyth's language and thoughts seem to be a bit too modern for the story's setting, the book contains exquisite passages about art, color, books, and faith that made me pause and reflect, even prompting some thoughts on the current pandemic and the various reactions to it as well as its causes and possible ways to avoid infection. Although I hated how Edyth's story ended, I also realized that there was no other way for it to end, given the times and the characters' paranoia. The lovely, color-drenched illustrations, add another layer to the story, adding to readers' enjoyment, but the writing holds its own and does not necessitate those images. Vesper Stamper knows exactly what words to choose and what stories to tell in order to touch readers' hearts. I came to admire Edyth a great deal even while feeling frustrated that she wasn't willing to flee and leave others to their own devices.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*

    A Cloud of Outrageous Blue by Vesper Stamper, 320 pgs. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2020. $20. Language: PG (22 swears, no “f”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG-13 (lashings as punishment, flagellant behavior, a hanging, and an intentional drowning). BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS—OPTIONAL AUDIENCE APPEAL—AVERAGE After a series of tragedies, Edyth has lost everything and finds herself sent to live at a priory. As she settles into her new life, outside the walls things are rapidly deteriorating. The Grea A Cloud of Outrageous Blue by Vesper Stamper, 320 pgs. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2020. $20. Language: PG (22 swears, no “f”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG-13 (lashings as punishment, flagellant behavior, a hanging, and an intentional drowning). BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS—OPTIONAL AUDIENCE APPEAL—AVERAGE After a series of tragedies, Edyth has lost everything and finds herself sent to live at a priory. As she settles into her new life, outside the walls things are rapidly deteriorating. The Great Plague is spreading across England and as the threat moves closer, Edyth must come to terms with what destiny has in store for her. Edyth’s plight is one of so many different plots, subplots, and vague threads that the reader will be left confused as to what the overall story is even supposed to be. Her father was murdered, her mother died in childbirth, and other family crises occur with hardly any explanation or exploration. Edyth’s character is repeatedly described with physical flaws, however, it never seems as though there was any character development purpose to her being unattractive. She also has what the reader would infer is synesthesia, but again, why would the author have her experience this condition unless it would somehow add to the overall story? At one point the Black Plague enters the narrative and the plot then veers into fantasy and religious fatalism. Because there are so many stops and starts of so many different story-lines, the reader will be left unsatisfied and baffled as to the author’s motives. Reviewer: AEB https://kissthebook.blogspot.com/2020...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    A CLOUD OF OUTRAGEOUS BLUE is a historical fiction read that takes the reader to 1348-1349. Edyth grew up with her parents and brother. They were expecting another baby when her parents died and her family was shunned. Alone and unable to make it, her brother decides to send Edyth to a priory to work (not to become a nun). Once there, Edyth finds a community, which has its benefits and challenges. When her synesthesia comes to light, it is seen as something possibly divine. As her status changes A CLOUD OF OUTRAGEOUS BLUE is a historical fiction read that takes the reader to 1348-1349. Edyth grew up with her parents and brother. They were expecting another baby when her parents died and her family was shunned. Alone and unable to make it, her brother decides to send Edyth to a priory to work (not to become a nun). Once there, Edyth finds a community, which has its benefits and challenges. When her synesthesia comes to light, it is seen as something possibly divine. As her status changes so too does the way she relates to the people around her. At the same time, the plague is spreading, and the illness is sure to touch life everywhere. This was an intriguing dive into history and I particularly liked the illustrations included throughout. This is written for a YA audience, and the text is an interesting historical perspective with the superstitious nature of people at the time and the relatively low options for young women like Edyth. The romance was a little background, but I found Mason charming. I was most interested in the priory and how it was run/what daily life looked like. This seemed well-researched and it definitely brings the reader into the past. The shocking ending was really lyrically written, and I enjoyed this writing style with art woven with words that brings this book to life in an unusual way (for YA books). Overall, A CLOUD OF OUTRAGEOUS BLUE is a powerful historical fiction that transports the reader into the past. Please note that I received a review copy. All opinions are my own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie P

    3.5 stars I received a free copy from the publisher for review. This new young adult historical novel is set around the time of the Great Plague of 1348 and it was a little eerie to read about during our current pandemic, but also made me grateful that things are not as bad as they were then. Written and illustrated by Vesper Stampers it is stunning in design with frequent illustrations throughout. The main character has synesthesia and experiences scents, feelings, etc as colors. I love how that i 3.5 stars I received a free copy from the publisher for review. This new young adult historical novel is set around the time of the Great Plague of 1348 and it was a little eerie to read about during our current pandemic, but also made me grateful that things are not as bad as they were then. Written and illustrated by Vesper Stampers it is stunning in design with frequent illustrations throughout. The main character has synesthesia and experiences scents, feelings, etc as colors. I love how that is woven into the images. It is to be expected for a book written in this time period, but just a heads up that there is a lot of death and despair in case you aren’t in the right headspace for that right now. The religious hierarchy and terminology was a little confusing to me since I am not overly familiar with convents, but I understood enough. I was intrigued by the author’s note at the end and will leave you with this little snippet that stood out to me: “History is only the story of human beings making choices, and how those choices intersect.”

  14. 5 out of 5

    Misty Wilson read.fine.print

    What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper was one of my favorite books of 2018, so I couldn’t wait to read this brand new one by the same author. • It’s a medieval tale of an orphaned girl turned nun, then artist, then healer, it’s a love story and (maybe?) a religious allegory. • It was dark and STRANGE. But maybe even more strange for me since I haven’t ever read anything set in that time period, or in a nunnery, or even about synesthesia... this was a very unique book. I was more captivated by the What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper was one of my favorite books of 2018, so I couldn’t wait to read this brand new one by the same author. • It’s a medieval tale of an orphaned girl turned nun, then artist, then healer, it’s a love story and (maybe?) a religious allegory. • It was dark and STRANGE. But maybe even more strange for me since I haven’t ever read anything set in that time period, or in a nunnery, or even about synesthesia... this was a very unique book. I was more captivated by the setting than the characters, and the illustrations were the most captivating of all. • I got to hear @vesperillustration discuss her inspiration in more detail recently and her whole writing process is fascinating! She is good at writing AND illustrating and that’s just unfair😂. Swipe left for a video of her illustrations, which are STUNNING and I would actually like a few for my walls.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Edyth and her older brother Henry are on their own when their father is executed. Since Henry is only 18, he can't take care of Edyth and since she is a girl in the 1300's, she certainly can't take care of herself. So he sends her to a convent to work. Edyth gets on the bad side of the sub-prioress there, partially because of her synesthesia which allows her to see colors and visions but also because of her relationship with Mason. When the plague hits, things get rapidly worse. Gorgeous illustra Edyth and her older brother Henry are on their own when their father is executed. Since Henry is only 18, he can't take care of Edyth and since she is a girl in the 1300's, she certainly can't take care of herself. So he sends her to a convent to work. Edyth gets on the bad side of the sub-prioress there, partially because of her synesthesia which allows her to see colors and visions but also because of her relationship with Mason. When the plague hits, things get rapidly worse. Gorgeous illustrations throughout, giving life to Edyth's synesthesia. Off-page sex. Violence (beatings). Death/plague descriptions.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Beth Anne

    I really love Vesper Stamper's style of writing, how she incorporates artistic elements into characters, and how she brings the story to life through her illustrations. It was so fascinating to read a book about a main character with color synesthesia. I didn't realize going in that this was a book about the plague, and so many times I found myself grateful to be living in a 2020 pandemic instead of a 1300s one. It was still pretty stressful at times to see so many parallels to current day event I really love Vesper Stamper's style of writing, how she incorporates artistic elements into characters, and how she brings the story to life through her illustrations. It was so fascinating to read a book about a main character with color synesthesia. I didn't realize going in that this was a book about the plague, and so many times I found myself grateful to be living in a 2020 pandemic instead of a 1300s one. It was still pretty stressful at times to see so many parallels to current day events. There are many parts of this book that I will think about again, but it didn't blow me away quite as much as What the Night Sings.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anna Marten

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. When I borrowed this from my local library it was in the middle-grade section, but the content is rather dark and violent for that age group (the story is about the Black Death and the ensuing crazy that follows when a global pandemic springs up). This would probably be more appropriate for teens and up. The illustrations are beautiful. Subtle Christianity bashing, although my take on the things the author finds fault with is that they stem from a pre-Reformation worldview.

  18. 5 out of 5

    John Clark

    An excellent example of historical fiction with a touch of magical realism. Not only does it give readers a look at the grim reality of what the plague did to communities, it also shows them how politics in religious orders affected everyone in a convent as well as how powerful belief were in earlier times. Definitely a great read and one deserving of a place in many school and public libraries.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Sometimes it seemed like books are written just or me or perhaps I’m the only audience for this book. It’s about art and miracles and love and Plague. The art is lovey and the influence of medieval illumination is clear. I think specific teens - those interested in the medieval era and probably nuns? - would enjoy this.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Heather Moore

    Vesper Stamper is fast becoming a YA fave of mine. She writes stories that are true to the heart with super interesting topics and beautiful illustrations, and without the usual angst that tends to fill the YA genre. This would be an excellent book to hand any teen, but most especially one studying the Middle Ages. The Author’s Note should absolutely not be missed.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lyda Scudder

    Well done. The story gripped me from the start. I appreciate the way Vesper Stamper uses her illustrations as part of the narrative. Who knew that reading about a pandemic during a pandemic would be so good.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ben VonArchimboldi

    An interesting story of the 14th century. Part love story, part ambitious power struggle. Edyth is forced to live in a priory when her parents die. While living there the Plauge hits. There is both mystery and mysticism. The art is so beautiful. Use of color also spectacular.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Manon

    The writing was so lyrical and poetic, I absolutely loved that. And the illustrations were truly stunning, I could have watched them for hours! The story was great too, although I didn't feel like much happened in this story. It was entertaining, but it will likely not stay with me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Stamper absolutely shines as an illustrator, and I found the themes and ideas explored deeply intriguing, but I found myself wishing her prose had been just a bit better. Regardless, a beautiful hardcover and a quite good book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Alternating between this beautiful audio and the written book, I was caught up in the story and the amazing artwork. A sad, but inspiring story of the deadly Black Plague. Edyth is a strong character, sticking to her convictions, even when her life is in danger. A great book for our times.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Magali Kent

    This was definitely a “right book at the right time” scenario for me. I loved this book. I highly recommend it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    T

    3.5 stars

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ellie P.

    Sometimes you have to accept who you are in order to shine bright.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Annie Pasma

    An amazingly illustrated, well researched book. The story is aching and difficult to read sometimes but it is a timely book and I highly recommend.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Really, really loved this! The ending was sadder than I anticipated, though ... would have liked a "happy ever after", after so much loss.....

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