Friday, 1 March 2013

review: Quicksilver

by R. J. Anderson
Carolrhoda Lab, March 1 2013
young adult sci-fi
e-galley received via NetGalley

Tori Beaugrand thought it was over when Sebastian Faraday sent her and Alison back home through the wormhole. But when a genetic company's overeager inquiries into her inexplicable DNA send her family to a new city, a new life, the last person she expects to see again is Sebastian -- and his news inverses her world: the wormhole could still suck her back in at any time, and she could end up back in Mathis's clutches. Again.
The cover:

I'm not sure which scene this is supposed to be, but regardless, the shadowing and lighting contrast will definitely make for one striking cover to match Ultraviolet's. All the text choices (font, treatment and placement) are perfectly adequate as well.

The book:

Quicksilver's pace is sharp and thin, like the edge of a knife: the tension slides ever higher, subtly, smoothly, in such an invisible fashion I want to call this book quiet, as a compliment. It matches the book's (literally) out-of-this-world premise, along with enough twists and kinks to keep you on the edge of your seat. I do have to admit that I lost track of the real problem a few times; plus, the subplot involving Deckard didn't seem fulfilled.

Each character gets ample time to develop their rapport with Tori/Niki. Milo is a clear stand-out (why aren't there real-life boys like him?), but the parents and Alison all have excellent relationship growth with our protagonist. And Tori/Niki is a protagonist who somehow always garners the reader's support, no matter if she's being vulnerable, snipy or paranoid; she calls her parents out on racism and also forces Milo to handle her asexuality with aplomb.

One issue I had was the faceless antagonists. Mathis never once surfaces in person (aside from in one of the four well-inserted flashbacks), thus making the main threat seem very anonymous. This does serve to shade Sebastian's character with 3D ambiguity, though, as the only link to the villain. In addition, the genetics company behind Deckard's investigations never seems a legitimate threat.

All in all, with a Canadian setting (shout-outs to Toronto, Montreal, the Habs and Algonquin Park), chapter titles featuring binary notation, countdowns and engineering terms and a head-spinning concept, Quicksilver is worth your time.

Rating: 3.8 out of 5