Ultraviolet (Ultraviolet #1)
"Once 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 wakes up in a mental institution. As she pieces her memory back together, she realizes she's confessed to murdering Tori Beaugrand, the most perfect girl at school. But the case is a mystery. Tori's body has not been found, and Alison can't explain what happened. One minute she was fighting with Tori. The next moment Tori disintegrated--into nothing.But that's impossible. No one is capable of making someone vanish. Right? Alison must be losing her mind--like her mother always feared she would.For years Alison has tried to keep her weird sensory abilities a secret. No one ever understood--until a mysterious visiting scientist takes an interest in Alison's case. Suddenly, Alison discovers that the world is wrong about her--and that she's capable of far more than anyone else would believe.
Unlike Anything Else I've Ever Read
What I Loved:
Alison suffers from synesthesia, though she doesn't know that's the name for her condition. I say "suffers" not because I think synesthesia is a curse, but because Alison does, her mother having punished her for mentioning what she could see and others could not. Alison has always thought she was crazy, and her mom has always loved Alison less for being an odd child. I love the descriptions of Alison's synesthesia throughout the book. They're beautiful, poetic and almost like sensing another dimension.
The story opens with a bang. Alison wakes up in a hospital, about to be transferred to a mental institution. A classmate of hers, Tori, disappears, last scene fighting with Alison. Next thing anyone knows, Alison shows up ranting that she killed Alison, disintegrated her into a million pieces. Alison is a mess, a danger to herself, thus being sent to the mental hospital. When she first wakes up, she remembers nothing, but the memories soon come flooding back.
This premise is utterly compelling. Mental institutions and insanity are just such wonderful subjects for fiction because the reader never knows precisely where they stand. A first person narration in such a case is never entirely reliable, because, not matter how the MC thinks they are, they might not be. For all I know, Alison actually spends the entire course of the novel whacked out on some powerful anti-psychotics and projects her guilt or delusions onto someone else or her dream self. I find this sort of mindgames endlessly fascinating.
Pretending Alison is on the level and reliable, the story is an engaging one, filled with creepy subject matter and a matching eerie tone. Anderson sets tone in a way that reminds me a bit of Brenna Yovanoff, though their books are quite different. The murder mystery and the curiosities of the various characters kept me rapt throughout the novel.
What Left Me Wanting More:
However, I do have some concerns with regards to where the plot goes. I'll speak about them very generally to avoid spoilers. Basically, the plot takes a turn at one point, and I really wish the book had continued along in the vein where it began. Anderson might convince me that it was necessary in a later book, but I'm not there with this one.
Perhaps more frustrating is that I feel like too many things come too easily, too simply, and too unevenly. Alison's synesthesia seems to come and go; there will be a paragraph laden with synesthetic description, followed by bunches with none, which seems a bit weird, since she would always feel the world that way. On top of that, her synesthesia helps her with a lot of things that I don't think it would aid and she learns how to do these things with little more difficulty than snapping one's fingers. The romance, too, comes together so simply, without any thought on the part of the heroine, and just generally upsets me all around.
The Final Verdict:
Now, I may not have loved this book as others did, but I definitely enjoyed it and appreciate its uniqueness. Also, though I may not be sure about the direction the book takes, in this sort of series, anything, and I do mean anything could happen, so there's no way that I could stop reading this series until I get to the end, whether it ultimately satisfies or not, though I hope it will. Those looking for mindbending reads will not want to miss Ultraviolet.
I'm always looking for books that show characters who deal with sensory issues in a realistic way. Ultraviolet doesn't disappoint. Alison though deals with one sort of sensory issue called synesthesia. Sudden noises, bright lights, people touching her or even just talking, hurt. My own son deals with sensory issues and he's also very sensitive to certain things that don't bother others. There's one scene where a fire alarm goes off and Alison totally loses it. My own son had this happen when his babysitter cleaned their carpet. The overload of smells was just too much. They are hyper sensitive to things that don't bother others.
What I loved about Ultraviolet is the author shows us in beautiful and haunting detail what Alison is feeling. Some might say that these passages are over the top but from a person that deals with sensory issues, that's how the world looks, smells, and sounds to them. Anderson captures this perfectly.
Example: A name looks like cough medicine. Or someone lying gives off a bitter smell. Great examples and details throughout.
Alison doesn't know if she killed a classmate or not and ends up in a psych ward. It seems everyone thinks she's crazy, including her mother. Anderson multi-layers the characters throughout this story, showing us glimpses of other patients and how they react with Alison. Mysterious psych intern Faraday seems to be the only one that believes Alison while her own therapist Dr. Minta comes across as cold and indifferent.
There's also a twist later on in the story that to me felt possible. I mean, why not? It gave this story an intriguing and unique paranormal/Sci-Fi flavor. If anything it has the reader asking, what is exactly real?
I couldn't put this book down as I had to find out more about Alison and if she did in fact kill her classmate. The story at times has a I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN but here the emotions, senses are shown through the eyes of a girl who sees the world in a different way. She isn't necessarily crazy like some might believe but wired differently. That alone is enough to love this book which gives us a heroine who's struggles with her difference in the end brings her hope and acceptance.
Unique and Unforgettable
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.
Alison murdered a girl.
One second she was fighting with Tori, the most popular girl in school.
The next, Tori disintegrated into thin air.
Alison doesn't know how this happened but it has driven her to a new home in a mental instution and the answers to her questions may be even stranger than she thought...
For some odd reason I didn't think I was going to like this book very much. I thought it was going to be another one of those "It was okay..." books . The synopsis thing didn't interest me much and it just didn't sound like my kind of book. But then I looked on the side and saw ALIENS and I HAD TO READ THIS BOOK! (okay, I admit it. I have an unhealthy obsession with aliens)
But... THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING!
When I started the book I wasn't really that interested but I ended getting sucked in as the book went along. I was seriously interested in what was happening. I thought the whole Synesthesia was cool. I thought it was cool that she saw colors, shapes, smelled smells and such for certain things. Being how I am an art person obsessed with rainbows (yes, another unhealthy obsession) I thought it would be cool to have this. And I have read A Mango Shaped Space which also had Synesthesia and thought it was cool when I read that. It was a good book by the way. It had no aliens, but it was a really good book. It also made Synesthesia somewhat cooler(In my opinion).
But back to the main point...
In the beginning of the book it was just meh to me and over time I grow really interested. And it happened fast by the way, even before the aliens (but of course when the aliens came up I was jumping up and down with joy). I could not put this book down!
You what my advice?
READ THIS BOOK!
Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson
"Once upon a time there was a girl who was special. This is not her story. Unless you count the part where I killed her."
Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson is about sixteen year old Alison. Having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school, she has been sectioned in a mental institution for teens. But the case is a mystery as no body has been found and Alison's condition is proving hard to diagnose. Even Alison herself can't explain what happened, one minute she was fighting with Tori, the next she had disintegrated into nothing.......
But that's impossible, right ?
Although I normally don't read these more sci-fi types of books (and enjoy them as much as Shifter, Magic/Witch, and other generally more paranormal type books), I flew through this book! My favourite character was Alison because of her sarcasm and wit throughout her difficulties, I think she also became my favourite character because of the book being written mostly from her perspective.
Very great book if you like paranormal books this is a must read.