Ultraviolet begins largely as a contemporary, then making a dramatic twist to science fiction. As I said in my review then, I really preferred the first half of Ultraviolet, with its focus on synesthesia and mental illness. Quicksilver does not have this issue, and is a much more even novel without the crazy twist that made the first book so incredibly compelling for many readers.
Anderson switches main characters in the second book of the series, a daring move that she pulls off brilliantly. I enjoy and the synesthetic beauty of Alison's narration, as well as how unreliable she is as narrator. However, Tori's no-nonsense, starkly honest personality captivates me. From Alison's point of view, Tori comes across largely as a stereotypical, popular, gorgeous mean girl. Now, having this window into Tori's mind, it is so apparent how much that isn't and never has been her.
Having made it back to Earth at the end of Ultraviolet, Alison and Tori go their separate ways, trying to settle back down despite the media frenzy at their return. When a lab begins asking questions of the Beauregards about Tori's odd genetic makeup, Tori's parents decide that the family must leave Sudbury. The family announces their move to Vancouver, but heads instead to Southern Ontario with new identities.
Tori, now Niki, gets a job at a grocery store and does her classes online. She remains aloof from others, including the obnoxious guy at the grocery store who reminds her of her slobbery ex-boyfriend. Her goals in life are not to be noticed and to work on her engineering, for which Tori has a passion. I love how this passion is exhibited in the chapter headings, all complex engineering terminology.
As is perhaps unsurprising, Tori's peace cannot last long. Sebastian arrives bringing news of trouble, and a detective is poking around looking for her. A coworker from the grocery store, Milo, gets caught up in everything and becomes her first real friend. Oh, Milo. He's Korean and athletic and such a good guy. Now that's what I'm talking about. He and Tori develop a complex bond, one that I loved to watch unfold. Also, this is the first time I've read a novel in which a main character was asexual, so that's awesome.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Alison, the MC from Ultraviolet, comes across as rather flat and weak in Quicksilver. I would have liked to see a bit more of her. This is a minor drawback, though.
The Final Verdict:
I raced through Quicksilver, intrigued by everything. Anderson pulls out all the stops and does not go easy on her characters; I saw that ending coming, but was still surprised when Anderson went through with it. Anderson's series is a must-read for science fiction fans.