Author: R J Anderson
Publication Date: 2nd June 2011
As I've been trying to write this review I've found it hard to put into words what my opinion of Ultraviolet was. I just feel incredibly mixed. I’d wanted to read it for quite a long time and felt it sounded incredibly interesting and unique, I mean ‘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.’ How more enticing can you get?
I loved the concept and thought the writing was brilliant, Alison has a very rare condition, called synesthesia, where she can taste sounds and hear emotions and so much more. It was an incredibly unique description tool that enabled you to not only picture what was happening even more clearly than usual description but it gave you a better insight into Alison’s mind. I loved that and I also loved the internal struggle Alison was having, wondering whether she deserved to be in the mental institute and whether she was truly insane.
I always have a hard time reading stories where a character is sectioned or accused of being insane, or if they are forced to undergo treatment and take medication – I feel incredibly defensive for that character (I’m always in the frame of mind that they’re sane. But once I’d got over this I was enjoying where the story was going.
Then the twist happened, it wasn’t that it was a bad twist it was just not what I was expecting, it was a very abrupt and violent swerve in a completely different direction from the rest of the book. So I think anyone who is potentially thinking about reading what sounds like a thrilling physiological tale, I’d say yes it is but then it turns more sci – fi than physiological.
However I loved, loved, loved! (that’s how much) that Ultraviolet didn’t have a huge romantic story arc. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good romance, but it seems every single book that is released in YA has a romance (or heaven forbid a love triangle! I don’t mind them but think they are terribly overdone) no matter what the subject of the story is there is some big chunk dedicated to this romance. While Alison does have what could be called a ‘love interest’ it is the smallest part of the storyline and this always gives me a little glimmer of hope.
Despite the twist I loved the ending, it was very open and I always favour those kind of endings to the ones where everything is finite.
Overall I’d say I found it distinctive and unlike anything I’ve ever read, I’d even just say read it for the insight it gives you into synesthesia which is fascinating, and the highlighting of mental illness. I’d say be warned of the extreme twist but definitely give it a try.