Miranda @ Bibliodaze

I'm an awesome 24 y/o reader and writer of YA fantasy/historical fantasy. I mainly write about awesome ladies and the people who love them. I work at a library and I'm a contributing reviewer to Bibliodaze.

Ultraviolet

Ultraviolet  - R.J. Anderson This is a hard book to review. On one hand I enjoyed it, and liked it, but on the other it had some problems that I think kept it from being amazing. It starts off strong with Alison waking up in a psychiatric unit but not knowing where she is, and having no memory about what happened that put her there. From there it’s slow going as Alison remembers piece by piece what happened, and I do mean slow. We don’t get the full story until nearly half way into the book, and even then it’s only Alison’s perception of what the full story seems to be. At times this became a little frustrating, especially because it felt like the author was holding Alison back from progressing just because the plot demanded it. Alison refused to face obvious things which made the plot drag a bit in the middle. Consequently the plot felt a little too stretched, a little too thin. Looking at the book as a whole I can definitely say the plot was strong, but the constant meandering harmed it a lot. In contrast to all that the ending was super rushed and ends abruptly. It wasn’t a disappointing end, not at all, it was quite satisfying. But it definitely felt weak compared to the rest of the novel, which is slow and pondering. As for the mystery of it all, well, I did guess several of the major plot twists far before they happened. I think this is more because I grew up with sci-fi, however, and therefore was able to spot tropes and cliches easily. It didn’t make the novel any less enjoyable and Anderson’s handling of the tropes was competent and well done. I have to say I liked Alison’s narrative voice and viewpoint in the novel, though. Because she has synesthesia the way she views things is different from people who don’t, and I was sucked into it quickly. It was incorporated into the story well and it was a delight to read about a person who has a different world view than my own. We need more of this in YA, stat. The writing itself is well done, and Anderson describes the effects synesthesia has on Alison very poetically. Sometimes the descriptions were used at what I felt were the wrong places, but it wasn’t often so that’s not really a complaint, more like an observation. However there is a moment I’d like to touch on, and that’s when another boy in the hospital Alison’s staying at forces himself on her. Throughout the scene it is very, very clear that Alison does not want this and that she’s trying to get away, and it’s treated as the inexcusable act that it is. I really appreciated that Anderson wrote it as being unacceptable, because in a very depressing amount of YA books, a guy being an asshole and forcing himself on a girl is written off as romantic. Later Alison’s doctor even believes her when she tells him and he punishes the boy, which I appreciate as well. We need more books telling us that it is never okay for anyone to do that to us, and that we should feel safe in telling someone about it. Also that same boy makes some very casual gay jokes and no one calls him out on it. Come on, we don’t need that sort of thing in YA. Alison does think it’s wrong but doesn’t say anything. I was extremely disappointed, because it’s reinforcing the idea that we shouldn’t say anything about bigoted behaviour and it’ll go away on its own. I just wish that had been handled a bit better. I wish I could have gotten into the actual romance of the story. I liked the romantic interest okay, although I was initially suspicious of him. But I just could not find his and Ali’s relationship romantic or okay. This is personal preference, of course, but I didn’t care for the age gap between them, and plus there were some really icky power dynamics and differentials going on that just turned me off. It’s a well written romance beside that, starting with mutual trust and friendship and respect, but I just couldn’t get into it. Ultraviolet is a good, enjoyable novel that could have been much stronger. The plot sort of meanders along for most of the book because Alison refuses to face obvious facts, and she only did that because the plot obviously needed her to. It needed to develop by her refusing to progress, and it just felt very forced and awkward at times. Her choices didn’t feel natural at points because of this, which is a shame. She’s a strong character otherwise and I loved her narrative, with the synesthesia effects, and all her doubts and traumas brought on by various things in her childhood. The mystery was well done if at times a little predictable, and while the ending was rushed, it was still a solid, entertaining novel that I enjoyed. I think someone new to sci-fi might enjoy it far more than me, though I also think that some readers may get a little impatient with the slow pace of the plot. All in all it’s a novel that could have been stronger, but that doesn’t detract from the things it does well at all, and it’s a solid novel on its own.An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher and NetGalley for review.

Currently reading

A Feast for Crows
George R.R. Martin
Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media
Susan J. Douglas
The Winter Rose
Jennifer Donnelly
Progress: 259/720 pages