Quicksilver, by R J Anderson

quicksilver  Buy from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com

Author’s website
Publication date – January 1, 2013

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Back in her hometown, Tori Beaugrand had everything a teenaged girl could want—popularity, money, beauty. But she also had a secret. A secret that could change her life in an instant, or destroy it.

Now she’s left everything from her old life behind, including her real name and Alison, the one friend who truly understood her. She can’t escape who and what she is. But if she wants to have anything like a normal life, she has to blend in and hide her unusual… talents.

Plans change when the enigmatic Sebastian Faraday reappears and gives Tori some bad news: she hasn’t escaped her past. In fact, she’s attracted new interest in the form of an obsessed ex-cop turned investigator for a genetics lab.

She has one last shot at getting her enemies off her trail and winning the security and independence she’s always longed for. But saving herself will take every ounce of Tori’s incredible electronics and engineering skills—and even then, she may need to sacrifice more than she could possibly imagine if she wants to be free.

Thoughts: Over 2 years ago, I reviewed Ultraviolet, the first novel in this series, thinking that it was a standalone. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the existence of a sequel, and one that sounded just as interesting, if not more so, as the original.

My interest rocketed through the roof when I learned that Quicksilver featured a well-done asexual protagonist, someone who wasn’t uncomfortable with sex or was reacting to trauma or repressed homosexuality or was avoiding sex for religious reasons, but who was genuinely just uninterested in sex. As someone who’s asexual, I can’t tell you how hard it is to find asexual characters at all, let alone ones whose sexuality is presented as a legitimate preference. And in YA fiction, this was poised to become a gem in my collection.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Quicksilver follows the story of Tori, a secondary but still major character from Ultraviolet, as her life turns upside down in a slightly less drastic way than before. Knowing that her physiology isn’t human, and knowing that the authorities have gotten their hands on her DNA and want answers to questions about her origins, Tori’s family uproots itself and moves, assuming new identities and new lives in another city.  In addition to the complications of having to hide her old identity and adjust to a new one, her past is hot on her tail in the form of a stalking ex-cop tracking her down, Sebastian Faraday dropping clues and hints to a grander but secret plan, and all Tori wants is to be left alone to live her life as she wants.

Written from the first-person, insights into Tori’s mind and how she thinks really adds a lot to what we see of her in Ultraviolet. Even there she was revealed to not be as snobbish as she first appeared, but here we see that she was often coached by her parents on how to act and relate and manipulate people, while Tori herself would rather be tinkering with electronics in her bedroom. Tori is not your average YA female protagonist. Far from it. She’s not particularly social, has a serious talent for engineering, isn’t constantly snarky to people she dislikes… She’s almost the polar opposite of what most female protags are in YA fiction now, and she’s a shining example of how to write a good well-rounded character without catering to the archetype.

I’m also not going to lie; I could relate to Tori a lot. Not being able to relate to how most people think, being asexual, living in Canada… Heck, the book starts off by talking about June 7th of Tori’s 16th year being an important day… and June 7th is my birthday. I made numerous little jokes to myself about R J Anderson spying on my life, and all of those little similarities just added to me feeling like Tori was a character I wanted to know, wanted to follow the adventure of, wanted to encourage and cheer on not because she was spunky and determined and headstrong, but because I saw so much of myself in her

If Quicksilver has a flaw, it’s that not very much happens. There’s enough to keep the story going and the pages turning, but it’s not very action-oriented or even particularly tense, with the exception of a few scenes. It was a very character-driven novel, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it did feel slow and plodding at times.

I wouldn’t recommend reading this without having read Ultraviolet first, or else you’ll find yourself lost and confused for a good half of the novel. Unlike UltravioletQuicksilver doesn’t work as a standalone. But as a sequel, and a supplement, it works very well to expand and to tie up loose ends. If you want a good character-driven and intelligent novel with more diversity than you see in most YA works, then seek out this series, and lose yourself in creativity and inspiration and worlds beyond the everyday mundane.

(Book provided for review by the author.)

2 comments on “Quicksilver, by R J Anderson

  1. Pingback: August in Retrospect | Bibliotropic

  2. Pingback: Why I Selfishly Want Gender Diversity in my Reading | Bibliotropic

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