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Elena Likes Books

I am an avid reader of YA, fantasy, and romance, a librarian, and a writer of fantasy short fiction.

Currently reading

Cut & Run
Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Shel Silverstein
The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius
John Joseph Adams
The Thousand Names
Django Wexler
The Duchess Hunt
Jennifer Haymore


Quicksilver  - R.J. Anderson Note: I received an electronic ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.4.5 starsIf someone had said to me before I started reading, "This book is nothing like [b:Ultraviolet|8843789|Ultraviolet (Ultraviolet, #1)|R.J. Anderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1338688532s/8843789.jpg|13718670]," I would have been all D: D: D:. Because I loved Ultraviolet. However, this book, despite having a different protagonist, tone, and theme from Ultraviolet, actually manages to equal it in awesomeness.Tori/Niki is nothing like Alison as a narrator, and not only because she doesn't have synaesthesia. She's a totally different person, and as such she sees the world totally differently. Once I got over the fact that we weren't seeing the world through Alison's awesome synesthete eyes (ears/nose/mouth/touch) anymore, I actually really admired R.J. Anderson for her stunning ability to morph voices. Most writers, even when writing in the first person, write in a voice that is, er, theirs. So even across series their protagonists all have a certain sameness to their voices. It's mostly just unavoidable. I mean, you can't simply change the way you write at will. Unless you're R.J. Anderson, apparently. One of the things I found fascinating and a bit amusing is that Sebastian, the love interest from Ultraviolet, plays a fairly major role in this story as well. But whereas in Ultraviolet he was a quirky sort of hot, in this book, he is not even remotely attractive. Because Niki doesn't particularly like him. Before reading Quicksilver, Sebastian wasn't at the top of my list of fictional crushes, but, you know, I could see what Alison saw in him. Post-Quicksilver, I kinda think he's icky. Partly that is because of events that take place in the book, but I think mostly it's just that I've seen him through Niki's eyes most recently now, and to her, he's just not hot stuff.There's one thing I'm pretty ambivalent about though. And that's Niki's asexuality. I would love to see more asexual characters in YA (and fiction in general), so in that respect, it was pretty cool. However, what I'm not okay with is the whole "I am asexual, but I will try to be not-asexual for you, Milo, because you are awesome and deserve a girlfriend who is not asexual!" thing. WTF? I like Milo, and agree that he deserves a not-pretend girlfriend. But backtracking on the asexuality thing, turning it into the sort of "You just haven't met the right guy yet!" thing that Niki actually criticizes in the book, is not cool. I'm wondering if R.J. Anderson might tie this into the whole technician obedience thing--like perhaps she doesn't like guys because when she was little her father commanded her to never like boys, or something. Which would be a stinky trick for the author to pull on, like, the second asexual character ever in YA (the only other one I've read is Kevin in [b:Guardian of the Dead|6505358|Guardian of the Dead|Karen Healey|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1255564369s/6505358.jpg|6696947], and he's not the protagonist). Maybe if asexuality weren't a big deal in fiction anymore, and there were asexual characters all over the place, having one who turned out to not be asexual after all wouldn't be so bad. But in this case? No. Not okay.Aside from that, however, the book is pure awesome. I especially appreciated Anderson's seamlessly integrated commentary on sexism in male-dominated fields (in this case, engineering); casual racism by people who are on the whole good but just, you know, racist assholes every once in a while (in this case, Niki's mom); and mental illness. None of these issues are really at the center of the story, but they're all addressed thoughtfully nonetheless, and not in a way that's at all preachy. So bonus points for that.I would say that if you liked [b:Ultraviolet|8843789|Ultraviolet (Ultraviolet, #1)|R.J. Anderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1338688532s/8843789.jpg|13718670] you'll love Quicksilver as well, but as I mentioned above, the books aren't really comparable except in their awesomeness quotient. If you read Ultraviolet, give this one a try. Whether you loved or hated Alison's voice, reading from Tori/Niki's point of view is a whole different experience. Enjoy!