Ultraviolet- R. J. Anderson

I’ve tried to be discrete Re: Spoilers… but some may still lurk so, if you don’t want to know anything, avert your eyes guys!

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Enjoyable… but I kind of wish we could’ve read t’other story mentioned at the beginning with the girl with the odd-shaped birthmark. No offense Alison, you’re cool and all but… yeah. Also, can you say ‘sequel’? I’d be OK with that, I think.

High Points.
What an opening! Highly visual writing that did not provoke a single eye-roll (OK, there was a little towards the end but I’ll discuss that later). A strong heroine who only gets a bit annoying towards the end. Realistic portrayal of people’s reaction to ‘crazy’ people. Flashbacks. Mystery and intrigue. Synaesthesia. An interesting venture into the paranormal, even though it wasn’t executed as clean as I would’ve liked (and why wasn’t that bit longer?) , I was interested and impressed that we didn’t get a vamp-attack. (I admit when I read the reviews saying there was an ‘unexpected twist’ I was worried it was suddenly going to take a turn for the vamp).

Low Points.
Insta-love… *shudder* my arch-nemesis. Yaccck. Well, OK… maybe I’m being unfair because it actually wasn’t insta-love, but they hardly mentioned any cute falling-in-love moments so I found it really difficult to believe their relationship. It was quite bland… but then it was too much and hit you with the subtlety of a train. Also.. I’m a bit of a science geek so I really wanted to find out more about her condition from a scientific p.o.v and not just confused and hazy descriptions! Looks like Wikipedia will have to do!

Hero.
Alison was a funny one. I really liked her at first and I thought her narration with the way she sees the world was both beautiful and terrifying. In the first few chapters she really captured the frustration of having a condition that you couldn’t explain and feeling alienated from everyone because of it, but as the story went on and she learnt more about her condition I felt like she’d run out of excuses. And she just got a bit annoying, self-indulgent and seemed to really lose her spark, which was a shame because she really had potential.
Maybe in the sequel she’ll sort herself out.

Love Interest.
Kind of covered this in the low point. I could’ve lived without this aspect of the book but I didn’t hate it completely, mostly because Sebastian sounded pretty cute, but there was zilch tummy-flipping swoon moments. But it did provoke a few eye-rolls and a few cynical mutterings under my breath especially at the end (you’ll know which bit if you’ve read it). Ack.

Theme Tune.

The thing I loved the most about this book was the descriptions of how Alison saw the world with her condition. I imagined it to be like a comic book, full of bright colours and fireworks. A pretty cool super-power that I don’t think she took advantage of. Anyway, a bit that I really liked was the part where Alison was younger and she was watching her mother do the dishes and, when she heard the clink of the cutlery together, she saw stars. Gettit?

Angst Scale.
6/10. All six points are being awarded to the beginning of the book, particularly the first 3 chapters. The idea of waking up in a mental institution with no recollection of why you’re there except that you may have killed someone?
That is pretty much my worst nightmare.
The way Alison describes her confusion and panic at her situation was really frightening, vivid and such excellent writing from Anderson that I stayed up way past my bed time to finish it!
There is also a few points added for the condescending treatment of Alison at the hands of her mother and her best friend (they’re the worst) which was, unfortunately, all too easy to imagine because people are still ignorant of mental conditions and old taboos are still very much in play here.
I also want to add about 20 points for the ‘love-angst’ but I refuse to encourage that kind of behaviour… so you’re only getting 6.

Recommended For.
People who like their YA a bit darker. People who like extremely visual, but really great, writing. People who don’t mind when their heroines pick up and move to planet ‘Look at me! Look at me!’ (Props to anyone who gets that reference from the best teen flick in the world ). People who like paranormal fiction that is out of this world. People who are interested in science and mental conditions. People who always think the bitchy characters are more interesting and should be the main character. People who get inappropriate crushes on authority figures.

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