I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Blackout by Robison Wells
Series: Blackout #1
Published by HarperTeen on October 1st 2013
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-Fi, YA
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Laura and Alec are trained terrorists.
Jack and Aubrey are high school students.
There was no reason for them to ever meet.
But now, a mysterious virus is spreading throughout America, infecting teenagers with impossible powers. And these four are about to find their lives intertwined in a complex web of deception, loyalty, and catastrophic danger—where one wrong choice could trigger an explosion that ends it all.
Hmm.. I didn’t really get the point of this book. It would have helped if we had gotten some world building, surely. Basically we’ve got these kids who have a virus that gives them powers. They get used by the army to try to stop kids with cooler powers. The end.
It’s a shame, really, because until a bit passed the middle – which is when I realized this book wasn’t really going anywhere – I was quite enjoying it. I thought the idea of it all was creative and exciting. the powers ranged from funny, to intriguing, to kind of badass. The characters were also fairly interesting (though the narrative switches were sometimes sloppy). But in the end I still don’t know what this book was trying to be. Is it a mindless action thriller? Is it a post-apocalyptic novel? Is it a sci-fi genetic engineering story? Is it a war story? It’s kind of all of these things, I suppose, all jumbled into a plot without purpose or direction, that is.
During the first part of the novel we meet characters who mention they were injected with something and trained by their parents for… the current war I’m guessing. This war which is lead by teenagers in small groups doing terrorist-like attacks all over the country. That is basically all we get as far as world building. We don’t learn why they were given these power nor who’s behind it all, and in turn, we don’t know the purpose of this war. Additionally, we only get a brief account of the war itself, mostly what has been targeted. We don’t know how it started, nor society’s reaction to it. We strictly concentrate on these character’s lives and present thoughts which gives us a very narrow view of everything. It’s also frustrating because this book is told through several perspectives, one of them being one of the terrorists, yet we don’t get any significant details, still.
The book did have great potential and maybe the series as a whole will be better. The action was pretty exciting for the most part, with some great suspenseful scenes using some really cool powers – I loved the school invasion/monster in basement bit. As for this book being realistic, however, it was definitely not. We spend most of the book in a military base camp where they have captured infected teenagers and treat them like prisoners with no rights or dignity, yet the psychological side of things is blatantly ignored. And how did they go about imprisoning every teenager in the country in a matter of days without much retaliation from anybody inside or out, including the parents? Oh wait, some did go and form a protest. I think they even had signs.
Another small annoyance was how randomly, between random paragraphs, we’d get some sort of journal entry from an anonymous person complaining about something or someone of irrelevance. There is a purpose to this which we find out near the end, but it still came off as annoying and kind of a distraction at the time you read it. I don’t think it had the effect the author was going for.
Like I said, this one might be better read as a series, but I can’t say I’m much interested in continuing with it myself, so let me know if it suddenly turns into a mind-blowing-must-read, eh?
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