Monday, 20 May 2013

Quicksilver (Ultraviolet, #2)Quicksilver by R.J. Anderson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I don't even know where to start with how utterly consumed with bitter disappointment I am about this book.

It just took all the bad bits from the first book, but amplified them, with no amazing ending to cover them up.

So, let's begin. I don't like Tori, the MC of this novel. I found her cold, distant, hard to relate to and generally unlikeable. She just had this brash, rough manner about her that grated me up the wrong way. I'm guessing that was perhaps what the author intended, for her to be a hard, untrusting, serial liar that is at times, more than a little bland. You can get away with those kinds of characters when they're not carrying the story, but Tori's the Main Character. How are we supposed to engage with someone who just makes it so damned easy to not like them? Then, towards the end, just when I think she can't get any worse, she goes and does something so ridiculously annoying, I very nearly stopped reading right there. It's just a desperate attempt to get attention. The boy she likes found out her entire life is a live, he leaves, and Tori just so happens to pick a spot right near where this boy runs, at exactly the time he runs, to end it all. Then admits she did it a little bit on purpose, with absolutely no regard to how it's going to affect the other person, just guilt tripping him into liking her again, at least that's what it seemed like to me. Considering her personality up till that point, it was totally out of character.
And like Alison from Ultraviolet (I'll get to her in a second), Tori spends an unbelievable amount of time talking about herself (which would be ok if she had anything interesting to say) or trying to hype up a threat that has no real presence, nor any real hint of danger, over and over again. Just a vague threat in the background, the only purpose it's serving is to give the illusion that there is some kind of plot going on here. Of which there isn't. The reason why she has to keep reminding us is the story is so blah, with nothing exciting going on, that it's easy to forget that there is any kind of threat.

Anyhoo I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to the characters. Ok, so Tori's an irritating robot with barely any personality. Now on to the others. I'm not even going to bother with the equally bland, plus stupidly stereotypical Asian boy, whose strict parents want him to be a doctor when all he wants to do is teach kids PE. Did I mention he wears glasses?...


So, shockingly enough, Sebastian returns. Big surprise, yet in transit he seems to have gone through a personality transplant, as the person who appears is nothing like a Sebastian from Ultraviolet. The author has quite successfully rearranged him into weak, suspicious and cowardly husk, in no way resembling the charming, slightly awkward, but generally agreeable guy we got to know in the first book.

And then there's Alison. Oh. My. God. PEOPLE THAT ANNOYINGLY PATHETIC SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO EXIST. Even when she's not directly involved, when it's other characters talking about her, they make her sound so spineless, and just...WEAK!!! Not only that, but they ladle on the pity with a bucket. It's all 'oh, poor Alison', 'she's so brave', 'she's been through so much, more than any of us could ever imagine, yet she'd such a trooper,'. Look, I get she's been through stuff, and it's going to have an effect, but there are ways of getting people to sympathise with a character without making them so fragile that it's like they're made of glass and if someone so much as looks at them, they'd shatter.
Then we hear from the girl herself, though it's through an email, or 'letter' as they insist on calling it. Jeez, the girl is 17 yet she sounds like an old person from some bygone era. Then she's digging for sympathy too, going on about how delicate she's feeling, how paranoid, how much pain she's in, but the way she says it makes me want to throw things at her. SPEAK LIKE A NORMAL PERSON FOR FUCKS SAKE. What teenager sends an email, sorry 'letter!!!!' to her friend saying, 'He held my gaze steadily as he said those words, and his voice didn't waver'. Who would say that?!! She just comes across as so pathetically tragic. Good grief, it's I wonder the girl can stand up, what with having no fucking spine!!!! I just couldn't sympathise because I was busy trying to control my rage.


So now on to the plot. I've already mentioned the author was trying to make something out of nothing. I felt no real threat of danger from either of the bad guys, no sense of urgency with what they were doing, because most of the time I didn't know, as the plot peppered with technical junk that I couldn't give two shits about. Basically there was no need to write a sequel, yet I imagine the publishers pushed her to do it so she had to come up with something, but ultimately missed the mark by miles. She basically seemed to have no idea where to go.
It was quite messy in places too, jumping about all over the place, some parts poorly explained, at least to me. A lot of the time the characters appeared to be talking about stuff that they didn't feel inclined to fill me in on. There was also a lot of having to explain actions and motives, which were overly complicated, but without them, quite honestly, I wouldn't have got them otherwise, they were so tenuous and round-about.

Then we have the ending. Bare in mind, that I've been waiting for the same kind of gob-smacking, crazy, brilliant twist that there was at the end of Ultraviolet. So it's get towards the final chapters. Everyone's running around doing stuff. I'm not really sure what, or why because it's all jargon and words that may as well be written in a foreign language for all the sense they made, but they seem pretty panicked and nervous about the whole thing. Then lots of stupid things happen in rapid succession, one after another, each more outrageous and dumb than the last. But no matter how hyped the characters are, when you get down to it, it's an uninspiring and anti-climactic ending. A wet fart of an ending, if you like. Then it gets all cliched and B-movie-esque and I started skipping bits. Apparently though, all of the characters are able to forgive each other, even when they've been lied to, betrayed, used, ignored and been unbearably stupid/irritating. Woop-di-do what a nice neat little ribbon everything has been tied up with.

Oh, hell, I really wanted this to be good. But it's just not.

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