Maureen E's Reviews > Ultraviolet

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson
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Nov 01, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, scifi, young-adult

Opening: "Once upon a time there was a girl who was special. Her hair flowed like honey and her eyes were blue as music. She grew up bright and beautiful, with deft fingers, a quick mind, and a charm that impressed everyone she met...This is not her story. Unless you count the part where I killed her."

I've been a fan of R.J. Anderson since Knife was published (I got a copy in the UK and I love it! It is so shiny and beautiful). The last two books in the Faery Rebels series haven't been published in the US and I haven't been able to buy them yet. So I was excited to read Ultraviolet and happy that Anderson's work was being published in the US again. Also, everything I'd heard about this book intrigued me.

UNFORTUNATELY, my library took forever and a day to get their copies out. This seems to happen whenever I really want to read a book. So I finally got my hold yesterday and read it far into the night.

And I really, really enjoyed this story and I can say almost nothing about it. It's one of those books where it feels like anything could be a spoiler and you really don't want to be spoiled. I will try to discuss somethings in as vague a fashion as possible, but if you're planning on reading this, you may just want to look away now.

And do read it. Alison is engaging and sympathetic and her story is beautifully written. I already knew one of the answers, but it is perhaps the most obvious one.

I do have to say, I'm not a huge fan of the "Everything you believe is wrong" tagline. It's not incorrect, but it comes across as pretty hokey. The blurb on the back cover, which is taken from the opening, is much better as a draw, in my opinion.

I love Alison's way of describing things which is, for very good reason, not usual. It's also very evocative. In a way, it feels like poetry except that it's her actual perception of the world. Most of the time, it just slips in here and there, adding a touch of richness to a simple paragraph.

There are a number of different levels to this story, and I can't talk about most of them. But the one that I think might stick with me the most is the way it explores how we see other people, and how simplistic it is. This ties in nicely with Alison's age--I remember how I viewed the world and others at 16 almost 17 and it was definitely that. I think it's an age where we're first starting to struggle to see complexity, to realize that the roles we paint people into are not necessarily one that they truly fit.

There's going to be a sequel/companion novel out in 2013, and I am super excited for it! If I had a complaint it might be that the story ends a little abruptly, so I'm hoping that we get more from Alison and her fellow characters.

(And I just have to add this--in places this book felt like one of those really sad Doctor Who episodes, where everything is just beautiful but at the same time makes you cry a lot. And by you, I mean me.)

Book source: public library (but going on my wishlist!)
Book information: Carolrhoda Lab, 2011; YA

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