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Literature / The Ultra Violets

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Center-clockwise: Iris, Cheri, Scarlet, and Opal

The Fuschia is Now!

The Ultra Violets is a book series by Sophie Bell, following the adventures of superpowered middle-school student quartet, Iris, Cheri, Scarlet, and Opaline. Illustrations are by Chris Battle, and Ethan Beavers.)

The four were just regular girls until a sleepover at the Fascination Lab (FLab, for short) on the 42nd floor of the Highly Questionable Tower ended up triggering a chain reaction that culminated in the four best friends getting covered in a mysterious purple goo, Heliotropium.

Four years later, after unintentionally exposing themselves to the chemical once more, the girls discover the stuff gave them more than the need for a decontamination shower—it had given them superpowers!

  • Iris gained superheated rainbow beams and the ability to create art anywhere she chooses,
  • Cheri super-math skills and the ability to talk to animals,
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  • Scarlet wicked dancing skills (and later, when her skills evolve, super-strength),
  • And Opaline electric and weather manipulation powers.

Together, the four form the Ultra Violets, a superhero team dedicated to protecting Sync City from the evil schemes of BeauTek, from mind-controlling perfumes to evil mutants manufactured at the Mall of No Returns!

Books in the series:

  • The Ultra Violets
  • Power to the Purple
  • Lilac Attack


The series provides examples of:

  • Bio-Augmentation: Helitropium is capable of genetically modifying any living being on earth.
    • BeauTek's shtick, from mind controlling perfume to evil mutants.
  • Bland-Name Product: Obviously, as the actual copyrighted names would cost too much for a passing joke.
    • Smashface, Sync City's social networking site of choice, alongside Tweeker
    • Furi, the voiced assistant in Cheri's phone
    • Game-Boi
    • XY-Box
    • Ikipedia
    • Iris uses an iCan for drawing.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Agent Sydney Bristow to Agent Jack Baxter.
  • Chekhov's Gunman / Chekhov's Gun: The Clown performing the raging saxophone solo comes back to distract Opal's brainwashed army. His saxophone also comes in handy for saving Iris and the students of Chronic Prep.
  • Colorful Theme Naming: All four Ultra Violets are named after colours.
  • Continuity Nod: Sebastian refers to the "Wolfman in a top-hat" Iris painted with him in the subway, in book 1.
    • Scarlet does indeed audition for the school musical in book 2.
  • Cool Pet: Darth Odor, an intelligent mutant skunk who can control the scent of his sprays.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Develon Louder, CEO of BeauTek. She's loud, driven, and insane. She's also one of the most talented and powerful businesswomen in Sync City.
  • Dance Battler: Scarlet, most especially when she gets her super-strength.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: A big gripe of Opal, and the reason behind her defecting to the Dark Side.
  • Double Agent / Defecting for Love: Jack Baxter becomes this for the Ultra Violets and BeauTek. His motivation? Scarlet. It probably also helps his mother is Devon Louder, who isn't the most sterling example of being a good human being at the best of times.
  • Does Not Know Her Own Strength: Scarlet frequently destroys things and the scenery in book 2, as she has yet to master her newfound super-strength.
  • Expy: The Lemony Narrator is a gender-flipped version of the one from The Powerpuff Girls.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Opal.
  • The Faceless: As with classic cartoons, the faces of the Ultra Violets' mothers are never seen.
    • An interesting example with Opal's mom, who plays a fairly large part in some scenes but never shows up in any illustrations.
  • Foil: Agents Bristow and Baxter. One is well-trained, professional, and unyielding as a mountain, the other is unfit, incompetent, and a push-over at the slightest discomfort.
  • Foreshadowing: After Scarlet mentions that she danced both the male and female roles in Swan Lake, a ballet she hadn't even seen, Cheri asks if she was in a tutu when she did, and that they could use ones for their outfits. Cut to book 2 and Scarlet is now wearing a tutu alongside her usual get-up.
    • Karyn has what appears to be a lizard tail poking out of her shorts. In the next book, she's now K-Liz, a human-lizard mutant.
    • Opal's powers are foreshadowed early when the static electricity in their hairbrush causes their hair to frizz up.
  • Girliness Upgrade: Scarlet gets a minor one in book 2, where she dons a tutu, comfortably wears ballerina slippers, and auditions for school plays.
  • Green Aesop: Sync City is very eco-friendly, and booming with all organic and sustainable techniques, actively endorsed by the characters.
  • Groin Attack: After miscalculating her speed and trajectory, Cheri accidentally hits Mantis Man in the crotch with her lacrosse stick with stilleto point.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: As the series is aimed at children, actual cursing is forbidden.
    • "Oh swell no."
    • OMV, for "Oh My Violet."
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Between all three books, Opal goes from a friend of the Ultra Violets, to the second book’s main antagonist, then finally becoming a hero.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: For most of book 1, Opal is without her powers—or, at least, she hasn't figured out how to activate them.
  • Improvised Weapon / Blade on a Stick: During Mantis Man's attack at the park, Cheri builds a lacrosse stick with a stilleto point as a weapon.
  • In Medias Res: Book 2 starts with a BANG!, so much that it begins at chapter 2.
  • In-Series Nickname: Iris is occasionally referred to as "Riri", Cheri as "Cher", and Scarlet as "Scar".
  • Last Episode, New Character: Felippe, Cheri's potential Love Interest, doesn't appear until abput halfway through the final book.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Those who are just arriving will learn that Opal defects to BeauTek and back again, alongside many of the past book's major events being discussed and used extensively as jumping points for the later book's events.
  • Lemony Narrator: The author is fond of pointing things out, explicitly mentioning this was an event earlier in the story or the last book, and oftentimes playing around with the chapter names.
  • Love Makes You Evil / Rage Breaking Point: Opal’s breaking point is seeing Cheri kissing Albert (though it really was the other way around), and joins BeauTek soon after.
  • Mad Scientist: Candace has shades of this. She laments that she can't erase the girls memories after the Helitropium incident because her Neuoranalyser was still in beta testing.
    The girls, grabbing each other's hands, took a step backward as one.
    • Fascination Lab and BeauTek seem to hire them by the batch. Though the latter is explicitly evil, FLab does not exactly shy away from some strange, questionable experiments.
  • The Makeover: Cheri subtly gets Albert to change his appearance through social media, thinking Opal would like him better with a new appearance.
  • Most Writers Are Adults: To the point that aging up the characters a bit may have actually benefited the story.
  • Mutants: Beautek has an entire army of them, manufactured in the Mall Of No Returns.
  • Named After Someone Famous: Albert Feinstein, mathlete.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Opaline's crush on Albert. It's surprisingly (and refreshingly) not Played for Laughs.
  • Not What It Looks Like: The Kiss That Changed Everything.
  • One of the Boys: Scarlet was sidekick to the toughest boys in school in the 4 years between the incident and the first chapter of book 1.
  • Parents as People: All four of the Ultra Violets’ mothers are brilliant scientists, with schedules so busy, they rarely, if ever, have time for their kids. They pretty much left them to their own devices, in the care of their siblings, or in Iris’s and Opal's case, sent them off to Astronaut Offspring Boarding School and an All-Girls Boarding School, respectively.
  • Personality Powers: Zig-zagged between this and Power Stereotype Flip, depending on the person:
    • Iris is an imaginative and artistic person who has the power to create art anywhere.
    • Cheri’s love for animals makes her perfect for her animal-communicating powers, but her math-based powers are at complete odds with her role as the fashionista.
    • Scarlet’s Dance Battler powers don’t fit her tomboyish personality but her Super Strength gained in the second book sure does.
    • Opal’s Shock and Awe powers only truly manifest themselves after she’s become a much more aggressive and volatile person.
  • Power Incontinence: When Iris gets flustered, she begins to “rainbow,” shooting out random drawings, with her face breaking out in colourful patterns.
    • Opal has a more dramatic example in book 1, when her powers manifest and she quits the team after The Kiss That Changed Everything.
  • The Power of Friendship: The Ultra Violets activate their powers by joining their pinkies together, and later on amplify them by that same gesture.
  • Puberty Superpower: The girls only develop their superpowers when they are re-exposed to Heliotropium, at age 11-12. Opal being powerless (or so she thinks) for most of book 1 is suspiciously similar to a girl watching her friends develop quickly and noticeably while she's still the same.
  • Punny Name:
    • The food district of Sync City is called the Kitchen Sync.
    • The girl's favourite hangout, a gourmet ice-cream parlor, is named Gellato Be Kidding Me.
    • A recurring theme with the animals Cheri smuggles from the shelter. The Daschund is named Salami. The Chihuahua Dogiego.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Done frequently, especially pertaining to Iris:
    • What’s the first sign that the girls are developing super powers? Iris’ hair becoming purple almost overnight.
    • Alongside her art-based powers, Iris can also shoot out purple rays of light.
    • This is invoked when going by their superhero group name: The Ultraviolets.
    • The chemical that gave the girls their powers was purple. Even the name of it, "heliotropium", is based on a plant where the most commonly-found species grows purple flowers.
  • The Reveal: Jack Baxter is actually Devon Louder's son.
  • Saved for the Sequel: Lampshaded by the author. What is going on in the sub-sub-parking lot of the Mall Of No Returns?
    • Who's sabotaging the FLab?
  • Sequel Hook: Opal has samples of the other Ultra Violet's hair, and her mother has them stored at BeautTek.
  • Shipper on Deck: Cheri. She considers being an agent for their arch-nemesis as a minor speed bump on the road of Romance.
  • Shout-Out: The author is incredibly fond of making pop-culture references, even ones that reach WAY before the target audience was even born.
    • At one point, Scarlet mounts a pretend-pony and rides it Gangnam Style.
    • The girls just happened to get turned into superheroes on the 42nd floor of the Highly Questionable Tower.
    • Sync City's animal shelter is called Helter Shelter.
    • Upon having an epiphany, the girls suddenly start singing about it to the tune of Call Me Maybe.
    • Scarlet enjoys Butterbeer a lot. The Tom's Diner waitress even calls it the Harry Classic!
    • Cheri points out that Scarlet has a Batman lunchbox. Scarlet retorts that not everyone is obsessed with My Little Pony. Iris then exclaims "But Friendship IS Magic!"
    • To cooldown Opal after her powers manifest during her major meltdown, Iris summons a Triple Rainbow and some unicorns.
    • Scarlet begins singing "Just Dance" to herself during the disastrous ballet recital. A helpful cellist sings the male parts.
    • Scarlet knows that hips don't lie.
    • Cheri once shouts "Go Dogiego, go!"
    • During their practicing for the "talent show" at the sleepover 4 years ago, Iris is described as going into a "tiger crouch" looking for "hidden dragons."
    • In the second novel, Opal says "O na na, what's my name?" when brainwashing the students.
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming: Darth Odor sound familiar to you?
  • Shower of Angst: After discovering her hair has mysteriously turned purple, Iris spends a traumatic couple of hours in the shower, trying to wash it off—only to discover it's permanent.
  • Sweet Tooth: Iris is fond of fruity lollipops.
  • Team Mom: As she was mostly responsible for the girls being exposed to Helitropium, Candace takes it upon herself to be the girls guardian, mission control, and well-intentioned Big Sister.
    • Lampshaded and used as a joke frequently. Whenever the girls meet at Tom's Diner, the waitress always mistakes Candace for the girls' mother.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Scarlet, come book 2. She wears a tutu now and makes it work.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The cover and back summary of book 2 reveals that Opal has turned evil, and now commands an army of BeauTek mutants. Book 3 reveals she flip-flops straight back to the heroes.
    • If one isn't careful with opening the book (and one probably isn't), the climactic scenes of each book is illustrated on the inside of the back cover.
  • True Companions: The Ultra Violets swear to bring Opal back to the good side.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future/Next Sunday A.D.: Heavily implied, if not outright stated.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Due to all the pop-culture references.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: In the second book, Opal’s crush Albert Feinstein falls in love with her. However, she doesn’t reciprocate anymore due to seeing his post-makeover self as fake.
  • Visual Pun: Book 2, Cheri is wearing a catsuit, with a tail, ears, and a Hello Kitty Bling Ring.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The second book ends with Beau Tek obtaining the Ultra Violets' hair samples, presumably for experiments or cloning. This is never brought up in the third book.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Or, In Iris' case, purple.


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