Sunday, 13 December 2020

Chroma by Oscar Wenman-Hyde

Chroma by Oscar Wenman-Hyde

Self published on the 18th September 2020.

How I got this book: Received a review copy via Rachel's Random Resources

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Amazon UK / Amazon.com

When Riley watched Chroma, the latest movie by Armani Manora, he had no idea how much his life was about to change. Riley's parents, Jean and Paul, are currently getting divorced, and they have managed to keep the situation hidden from Riley, until now. 

They were unaware of the effects this was having on Riley's emotional and mental well-being, and as tensions rose at school and at home, he was visited by a voice in his bedroom. Before too long, he began a journey that was not only dangerous, but eye opening. 

Chroma explores the rapidly changing family dynamic throughout divorce, and how a child's imagination can take them to unknown places. It is emotional, insightful and a moving story which not only teaches us how to be an adult, but how to be a child.


Chroma is a child's-eye portrayal of the effects of divorce on a precociously imaginative eight-year-old child, Riley. The novel clearly depicts how adults attempting to hide family disruption for the sake of the child can easily backfire. Riley is only too aware that his parents are splitting up but his mother's inability to discuss this with him results in the boy getting misleading information from playground conversations instead and leaping to his own conclusions. His mother, Jean, is struggling to cope herself which, understandably, doesn't help the situation. I admit to being shocked at her encouraging such a young child to regularly view adult horror and thriller films as well as appalled by the poor diet she feeds him. I felt I was supposed to sympathise with Jean's predicament, but found this impossible to do. Wenman-Hyde has created interesting characters in Riley and Jean however and their interactions always did feel authentic. Jean's abrasive relationship with her sister, Sam, adds depth to the scenario. Unfortunately, for me, Chroma fell down on two aspects. Firstly, the writing style is very heavy on telling rather than showing so I often felt pushed back from the action. Atmospheric and tense moments are also frequently diluted by lengthy diversions into unnecessary back stories. Secondly, I was confused by why two American police officers are employed in a town that otherwise is portrayed as British. Their existence clashes with practically every other cultural pointer so initially I wondered if 'Deputy Barrow' and 'the Chief' eating donuts in their squad car were a figment of Riley's imagination. Distractions like this are unfortunate as, at its heart, Chroma has a strong narrative and I did appreciate spotting so many film references scattered throughout the book.

Meet the author   


Oscar Wenman-Hyde is a writer living in Gloucester, UK. Born and raised in the quiet towns of North Devon, Oscar would spend the majority of his time as a child writing and directing short films with his brother and neighbours. From here, Oscar’s passion led him to explore all aspects of his creativity, by graduating with a BA Hons in Songwriting at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. He now finds joy in all mediums of writing and although he has worked and trained in many areas, he is always inspired by film and remains grounded in storytelling. 

Author links: 

Facebook ~ Instagram @oj_scriptwriters ~ Instagram @oscarwenmanhyde


Search Literary Flits for more:

Books by Oscar Wenman-Hyde / Contemporary fiction / Books from England

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