Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review: Ultraviolet, R. J. Anderson

I probably shouldn't write a review for a book while I'm still an emotional wreck from just having finished it--but WOW.

First of all, I did not expect to love this one as much as I did when I first started it. The blurb did grab me at the airport in London, but really I needed something to go with Bill Bryson's At Home for the Buy One Get One 50% Off offer (who could pass that up?) This is the blurb:

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.

Kinda chilling huh? Sounds like an issues book, or a psychological thriller. It certainly started that way. But I was disappointed as I saw the protagonist, Alison, go from a batshit-crazy-freakout in a psych ward straight to remorseful and soggy. If this girl has killed someone, can't she just own it, for at least a while?

But then the story changes. Enter (silence, please, as I say this in revered tones) Sebastian Faraday.

Now, I'm known for liking a book a hell of a lot more if I have a major crush on some tall drink of water within the pages. This is definitely one of those times. Not that the book isn't wonderful in its own right. It's incredibly wonderful. But Anderson may as well have stopped by for a coffee and said, "Oh, by the way, Rhiannon, what do you fancy in the way of male protagonists this week, hmm?"

I'm 26, but don't go thinking this is some weird cougar thing and I've been captivated by a 16-year-old. Sebastian is my age. Well, maybe a few years younger ... whatever. He's tall. Golden haired, with a voice as beautiful as his well-shaped hands. His voice is mellifluous, dear readers. He's patient and quirky and smart. I melted into puddles of warm butter in my physio's waiting room just reading about him.

But there is more to this book than the man candy! There is also some of the most beautiful, unselfconscious writing I have come across. Alison has synesthesia, a condition in which the senses are crossed-wired. Numbers have colours. Sounds are seen. Names are tasted. I saw a Scott Pilgrim scenario in which Alison's world came alive in impossible ways. Amazing descriptions.

This book isn't without flaws, but I forgave them all before I was even a third of a way through the book. I just couldn't help it. It's gorgeous. If I was still sixteen I'd be swooning around the house for a week.

I think I shall anyway.


  1. Shame on me for not having followed your blog already! I'm eagerly awaiting your debut, even though paranormal romance is not normally my thing. Thanks a lot for the comments you left on my blog! :) I admit I've been holding back on reading Fire (companion to Graceling) because some people have been quite disappointed by it...

    This book has such an unusual concept that it really draws you in. I love your reviewing style, so glad you enjoyed this. Haha though you seemed more inclined toward the man-boy candy. :P Must read this!

  2. My copy arrived this week, thanks to the help of a UK friend when Book Depository got all "No Canadians Allowed" with their UK edition books. As soon as I finish the book I am reading, this is next on my list. I adore RJ Anderson's books!!

  3. this sounds great--I was already planning on reading it, but even more so now!

  4. @Cass I hope you enjoy Blood Song! And Fire. Fire is awesome. I have been playing around with my reviewing style and I'm pretty casual about it now cos I'm not a real reviewer anymore! Man-candy aside, ULTRAVIOLET was amazing. I look books that switch genres, and Anderson did it so smoothly.

    @Cat But you're CANADIAN. How is this not out in Canada? It's set there!!

    @Charlotte Yeah you'll love it :D

  5. You perfectly captured what I felt reading Ultraviolet. The writing is GORGEOUS!

    I know R.J. Anderson was really rooting for a Claudia/Jared pairing in Sapphique, and the relationship in Ultraviolet reminded me of the Claudia/Jared dynamic...a little forbidden because of the age difference, starts out as a mentoring relationship...

    By the way, will Blood Song be published in the U.S. this fall, or it is only coming to Australia?

  6. I don't know Sapphique! I'll have to look it up.

    I *adored* Alison and Sebastian's dynamic. This is a definite re-read for me!

    Blood Song is still on submission in the US so *fingers crossed* it will be picked up there ASAP.

  7. I haven't read Ultraviolet but I have read R.J. Andersons debut novel, Knife(US: Spell Hunter), and I loved it! Ultraviolet is on my to-buy list, thanks for sharing your love, Rhiannon.

  8. I am loving this book so far (about 2/3 through). Sebastian is definitely contributing to my enjoyment of this book! Awesome review :)