Book Review: Quicksilver by R.J. Anderson

Back in her hometown, Tori Beaugrand had everything a teenaged girl could want—popularity, money, beauty. But she also had a secret. A secret that could change her life in an instant, or destroy it.

Now she’s left everything from her old life behind, including her real name and Alison, the one friend who truly understood her. She can’t escape who and what she is. But if she wants to have anything like a normal life, she has to blend in and hide her unusual… talents.

Plans change when the enigmatic Sebastian Faraday reappears and gives Tori some bad news: she hasn’t escaped her past. In fact, she’s attracted new interest in the form of an obsessed ex-cop turned investigator for a genetics lab.

She has one last shot at getting her enemies off her trail and winning the security and independence she’s always longed for. But saving herself will take every ounce of Tori’s incredible electronics and engineering skills—and even then, she may need to sacrifice more than she could possibly imagine if she wants to be free.

My Rating: 5 cupcakes

Ultraviolet was one of the best books that I’ve read this year, and after finishing it, I immediately placed a hold on the sequel. I’m so happy to say that I enjoyed it even more than anticipated – which is saying a lot, considering that I had incredibly high expectations for it.

Like Ultraviolet, there is nothing typical about Quicksilver. Its characters have many aspects that separate them from the standard YA archetypes, making them that seem much more real. Tori is strong yet flawed, and though she is incredibly brave, she still struggles with fears that everyone has experienced at one point or another. I can’t really say what it is about her that makes her so intriguing without spoiling part of the plot, but it’s something that I’ve never seen in a YA novel before. As a female science student, I really appreciated how Tori’s passion for engineering was used as commentary on what it’s like to be a female in a male-dominated field.

I love how Anderson isn’t afraid to write the story that she wants to tell. Like life, there isn’t always a happy ending, and the characters don’t always get what they want. In Quicksilver, Tori is placed in several horrible situations – one scene in particular had me instinctively covering my face and left me sitting there in shock after I had finished reading it. It was so intense, so unpredictable, and so different from what the readers would have wanted, making it seem even more real.

I’ve avoided saying anything about the plot since it’s very easy to spoil what happens in Ultraviolet for those who haven’t read it and, like its predecessor, an integral part of the reading experience is going in with next to no knowledge about the story itself. I will, however, say that the plot twists are well placed and completely unexpected.

While I am satisfied with how Quicksilver ended, I hope that this isn’t the last we hear of Tori, Alison, and Sebastian. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for another book in this series, but in the meantime, I highly recommend that you give it a try.

Book Review: Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

4Once 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?

My Rating: 5 cupcakes

Ultraviolet is one of those books that  you won’t be able to put down and will leave you saying, “wow, that was so neat.” Of course, an integral part of the reading experience is going in with next to no knowledge about the story itself, so I’ll try my best to keep this review short, sweet, and spoiler-free.

From the beginning, I was enthralled by the way that Anderson wrote this story. The descriptions of Alison’s world were so vivid and sensory that I felt like I too had synesthesia – a neurological phenomenon that occurs when sensory pathways are crossed, resulting in the ability to “taste colours” or “see sounds.”

”Doors flapped open and slammed shut, like the valves of a pounding heart. Footsteps splattered blue onto the fluorescent orange shriek of the alarm, and the air thickened with shouting voices.”

The story itself moved at an excellent pace. The plot didn’t progress too quickly; instead, it took time for Alison (and the reader) to piece together the mystery surrounding Tori’s disappearance while simultaneously building suspense. The plot twist was also perfectly executed. While I had a general idea of what was going to happen due to a fair bit of foreshadowing, I was still pleasantly surprised by the ending.

Overall, Ultraviolet was an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable read. I look forward to reading the sequel, Quicksilver, and anything else that this author has to offer.