I received this book for free from HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Blackbird by Anna Carey
Series: Blackbird Duology #1
Published by HarperTeen on September 16th 2014
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, YA
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This twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.
A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her.
On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined.
The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists.
I always go into YA thrillers with a bit of trepidation. As someone who loves these types of movies and TV shows I always end up finding the teen novel versions to be a bit too convenient which leads to a lot of eyerolling. While this was definitely a unique take on the genre with it’s second person narration, it did still fall victim to the typical tropes I have come to dislike over time.
What was striking right off the bat was how the reader is thrown into the novel with the second person narration. With the word “you” constantly being used to describe our MC it really throws us into the novel and leaves us feeling as if we have woken up with no recollection of who we are and as if we are the one attempting to evade the police. I had read novels in the past with this perspective and they are always written as if the protagonist is speaking to a specific person (or in the case of We Are The Goldens, writing a letter to a specific person) but it was never done quite like this. I liked the immersive experience that it led to and that it did manage to heighten the chase scenes quite a bit.
What I did long for was a more believable timeline of events and that everything didn’t seem to fall into place quite so easily. Of course I can’t go into all of the details that comprise what exactly is going on in the story but I can say that the twists were easy to see coming from a mile away and this led to me feeling pretty bored for a large part of the novel. One thing that I always long for with thrillers is to be taken by surprised, left with my jaw on the floor saying “well, I didn’t see that coming!” and that just didn’t happen here. I will say that the idea behind it all and what happened leading up to the MC waking up where she does at the beginning of the novel was enough to keep me going and was even enough to leave me wanting the sequel to finally figure it all out. I think Carey gives us just enough tidbits of information to leave us feeling like we know what’s going on but feeling like we need to get even more information to have the clearest picture possible.
There is a romance to be had here as well but I can’t tell you that it was anything to write home about. It was rushed, random and really lacked substance, not something that had me rooting for the characters at all. In the end I guess you can say that my thoughts for this one are really all over the map. There were parts that were really well done but I think a lot more of it could have been fleshed out and cleaned up a bit. If you are looking for a quick, passive read I think you could come out enjoying this one quite a bit but if you are looking for an edge of your seat thrill ride I am going to recommend you look elsewhere.
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