Monday, June 17, 2013

Quicksilver: A Review

Title: Quicksilver
Series: Companion to Ultraviolet
Author: R. J. Anderson
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Psychological Thriller

Ratings: Craft—4, Content—3,
Overall—3.9 out of 5 stars

Excerpt from the prologue, “Aliasing” of Quicksilver:
(Spoiler alert: This beginning gives away some of Ultraviolet.)

On June 7, the year I turned sixteen, I vanished without a trace.

On September 28 of the same year I came back, with a story so bizarre that only my parents would ever believe it and a secret I couldn’t share even with them.

And four weeks later I woke up in my hometown on Saturday morning as Victoria Beaugrand and went to bed that night in another city as a completely different person.

That last part wasn’t as bad as you might think. There’s something exciting about reinventing yourself, even if it means leaving all your friends and the only life you’ve ever known behind.

My only fear was that I might not have made myself different enough.

When an investigation raises some uncomfortable questions, a teenage girl assumes a new identity in a new city.

The Craft: While I didn’t enjoy Quicksilver quite as much as Ultraviolet, this novel remains a fast-paced and enjoyable read.

For while both familiar and new characters grace the pages, this story excels in its plotting. Stakes rise at every turn. Unexpected twists keep the reader unbalanced. Tension pulls every nerve taut and then stretches them even further. I admit, one subplot did wrap up a little too conveniently for my taste, but otherwise all the ends tie together in a surprising and climatic way.

Those elements, mixed with a strong narrator voice and good character development on multiple levels, will keep you turning the pages late into the night.

The Content: Like R. J. Anderson’s other books, Quicksilver carries a light hand thematically, the worldview forming more the foundation than the focus of the story. Rather, she tends to raise questions, in this case about obedience, trust, protection, freedom, and love.

Personally, I would have loved to seen more development with the spiritual thread and verse from Isaiah. I believe it could have added another dimension to the story, with it affecting the character as well as the plotting, even if only to raise more questions. Instead, its truth seemed to become lost within the story. However, I also understand that sometimes the character and plot, and sometimes even publishing constraints, will not permit such development, and that this is a personal taste I have concerning books.

Beyond that, there is little to denote. There is a light romantic thread, which is kept low-keyed; no magical elements, with the unusual attributed to science; and little violence, except one attempted suicide and for a few brief, but necessary pages at the climax.

Summary: Quicksilver is a heart-pounding and mind-bending read. Recommended for teens and adults, especially those who enjoy a strong suspense element.

Ratings: Craft—4, Content—3, Overall—3.9 out of 5 stars

No comments: