Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review: Ultraviolet- RJ Anderson

Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.

This is not her story.

Unless you count the part where I killed her.

Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison's condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can't explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori -- the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that's impossible. Right?

I received this for review from Netgalley only to stumble upon a hard copy in WH Smith’s a few days later. Since I prefer to read hard copies (and I had almost five hours of flying ahead of me) I bought it, and this review is based on the UK hard copy edition, not the e-galley.

Although it has its flaws, Ultraviolet is a refreshingly unique addition to the teen bookshelf. It keeps you on your toes about everything from the protagonist’s sanity to the genre of the book. I’m not going to label it here, but I had immediate suspicions about what was up with Alison from the get go, and my suspicions were eventually proven correct. One thing I loved was that rare real-life scientific concepts were touched upon, and I've now developed a minor interest in color perception- always a plus for a future biology major! What I had absolutely no clue about was whether her condition slotted under the contemporary, science fiction or fantasy spectrum, and that was a question that remained unanswered until the final third of the book. This, combined with my see-sawing opinion about what really happened to Tori, kept me turning the pages as fast as I could until I reached the end.

RJ Anderson’s writing with regards to Ali’s extrasensory perception of the world is absolutely beautiful, to the extent that it covers up a few of the minor flaws in the book. The story was definitely more plot driven than character driven, and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it did mean that I didn’t feel as connected to the characters as I would have liked. A few characters were on that awkward fence between not characterised at all and ready meat for cutting out, and being fully realized elements of the story. More specifically, several characters piqued my interest enough to have me asking questions about them, but the questions were never answered.

I’m not sure where my feelings lie with regards to Ali’s relationship with Faraday. Although there was a little buzzer going off in my mind saying this is wrong, the concept was still seductive enough to keep me hooked and wanting to read more. I think my problem was that I was never quite sure exactly how old he was!

In conclusion, ‘Ultraviolet’ has a brilliant and unique premise that is a little bit rushed and flawed in its execution. It’s still a gripping and enjoyable read, even if the loose plot ends do cry out for a sequel!

Preorder it on Book Depository
Find it on Goodreads

1 comment:

  1. I always thought this one looked interesting! I know what you mean about the relationship---I always have a hard time with a love interest that just has my moral radar going "wrong!". I do love when a writer uses real scientific fact to back up their story and make even a made-up scenario seem real! I may have to pick this one up and give it a try sometime!


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