Monday, June 3, 2013

Ultraviolet: A Review

Title: Ultraviolet
Series: Book #1
Author: R. J. Anderson
Genre: Teen Science Fiction
Rating: Craft—5, Content—4,
Overall—4.8 out of 5 stars
Book Trailer:

A sixteen-year-old girl is placed in a mental institution after she confesses to murdering a popular classmate.
Excerpt from Ultraviolet:

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. Her parents adored her, her teachers praised her, and her schoolmates admired her many talents. Even the oddly shaped birthmark on her upper arm seemed like a sign of some great destiny.
This is not her story.

Unless you count the part where I killed her.
The Craft: Ultraviolet is a mind-bending, suspenseful story, superbly crafted on many levels.
I have enjoyed R. J. Anderson’s Faery Rebel series in the past, and that placed her in my top ten favorite authors long ago. But Ms. Anderson outdoes even that wonderful story with Ultraviolet.
From chapter zero, my attention was caught; how could my interest and curiosity not be peaked by those opening paragraphs? And from there the plot drive forward, never providing even the slightest possibility of escape from this riveting, page-turning story.
More than that, the characters are unpredictable, and despite the premise of the story, the protagonist is completely likeable and identifiable. Also despite the dark subject matter and a look a dark side of life, the darkness never overwhelms and everything turns out right.
Add to this a unique voice/perspective for the first person narrator, wonderful sensory detail, and several unexpected twists—well, I admit it. I simply fell in love with this book. This is the type of story I read for, the type of story I wish I had written.
The Content: The themes of Ultraviolet are somewhat hard to pin down. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it just requires a little more digging by the reader. For while Ultraviolet is by a Christian author, it works in the spiritual elements with a more subtle hand. Here God is more an invisible conductor behind the scenes more than the focus of the story. Instead you discover good wrestling questions over sanity/insanity, the need for other people, being careful of how you judge others, dealing with emotions, and so much more.
Concerning other topical issues, there’s no magic or even much of a supernatural component. Rather the unusual is rooted in science. Violence, somewhat surprisingly, doesn’t get much worse than a fist fight. There are a couple stronger sexual/romantic elements, including an attempted rape and the protagonist’s crush on an older guy. However, neither are overdone nor the crush implausible.
Summary: Ultraviolet may be one of the best written books I’ve read over the past year. The best or not, it has landed a permanent place on my shelf as a new personal favorite. Highly recommended for teens and adults, especially those who enjoy stories with strong suspense or a mind-bending element.
Rating: Craft—5, Content—4, Overall—4.8 out of 5 stars

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