21 August 2011

Ultraviolet - R.J. Anderson

This book is something of a mystery.

It is the story of a girl with extra-ordinary abilities; to see sound as colourful shapes, to attribute meanings and colours to letters and words - synesthesia. Alison wakes up in a hospital after having what appears to be a psychotic episode in which she claimed she had killed someone. as a result of this, she gets sent to a mental institution.

The story is beautifully written. It provides an insight into both the world of a synesthete (which is an actual neurological phenomenon) and that of a person in a mental institution, who may or may not have a mental condition. The feelings of the protagonist are so well described that the reader can very much sympathise with her, even whilst thinking that she may be crazy.

As said in my sister's blog, it certainly is a tale of two halves, and this is where my initial comment comes into play. Although there were many clues and I had already guessed where the story was going, it came as rather a surprise when the book took a somewhat drastic turn from the mental institution when we finally learn what happened. And to be honest, that may not have been a good thing.

The end was somewhat unimpressive compared to the rest of the book. It was almost off topic and rather less life-like than your average person who picked up the book on the blurb alone would have liked. The author obviously wanted it to end like that, but the way it was done was sudden and therefore quite a shock to the system.

Unfortunately, for this lapse and for the ending overall, the score is rather a lot lower than it could have been: 4 out of 10.