Ultraviolet by R J Anderson

Ultraviolet is the electric first book in a two-part young adult, Sci-fi series by R J Anderson, proceeded by the book Quicksilver. The paperback edition pictured below was published in 2013 by Carolrhoda Lab. It is an adventurous, vibrant story about unique human differences, fear and other worlds.

Ultraviolet is about sixteen-year-old Alison Jeffries who gets committed to a psychiatric institution called Pine Hills, following the mysterious disappearance of fellow classmate, Tori Beaugrand, which Alison is supposedly responsible for.

During her time in this institution, she meets a scruffy yet disarming neuroscientist who helps her to understand more about her ‘mental’ condition, that of having atypically enhanced senses than the average human. Alison has the unique ability of being able to see sounds and feel colours, or as it is described in the book, a type of synaesthesia. This difference has meant she is often misunderstood by those around her, no more so than her mother, whose fear of her daughter is developed throughout the story in a convincing way.

But things aren’t as they seem and strange revelations come to light concerning the curious neuroscientist, Faraday and Tori Beaugrand (the missing classmate) that propel this story into the stratosphere and beyond!

Ultraviolet was vivid, buzzing and mind-altering! I loved its use of intensely visual language to depict a narrative about psychosis, fear and everything around us being not what it seems.

There were moments when the story lost momentum and moments when it had momentum in abundance. Towards the end, things started to feel so psychedelic that I almost lost interest but otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed this experimental novel and it proved to me that sci-fi can work well in books too!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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