November 23, 2013

Title: Blackout

Series: Blackout, Book One

Author: Robison Wells

Published: October 1, 2013

Publisher: HarperTEEN

Pages: 432

Source: Edelweiss

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

Average Goodreads Rating (as of 11/23/2013): 3.52

  • Christina loved the premise of this novel, but felt it lacked severely in its execution. It goes on her third shelf.

**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

♥ Initial Thoughts and Rating: I’m giving Blackout an actual rating of 2.5 stars, but rounded up because I could see where others would enjoy it more than myself. There was multiple third person POVs that made it difficult to connect to any character and the world-building left much to the imagination without any solid foundation to build 0n. BUT, the super powers in this book were fun and imaginative, so I’ll award points for that.

The Lowdown: There’s a virus spreading globally and it’s targeted hosts are kids, teenagers, and young adults. For those infected, they develop improbable powers- some aren’t so super, but some are really badass. We soon find that among our American youth infected that there is a terrorist group that starts its destruction of our country by using their powers to take down national monuments, power sources, and hitting our government’s armed forces. That’s when a national security team decides to fight fire with fire. They round up every young person and put them in quarantine camps, completely isolated from the outside world, and run tests to see who will be most beneficial in helping lead the fight.

My Thoughts: I really, really wanted to like this book. From the synopsis, I was anticipating a type of dystopian X-men and that idea really intrigued me. While I found that I enjoyed the idea and wide range of the “super” powers- some that ranged from boiling water with your mind to heightened senses to invisibility to physically affecting and manipulating natural elements like stone, dirt, water- the rest of this novel left much to be desired.

For starters, there was little in the way of world building. We don’t even know why the terrorists are attacking The United States. What little information that we were given about them is that they were organized and trained by their parents from an early age just for this war. That’s it. This alone should start throwing up red flags because we actually get to see a great deal of the story through the eyes of two of the three known terrorists. Yet, as the reader, we know nothing of their mission except that they have a network of people with whom they have a way to communicate and their “attacks” are targeted. Furthermore, I thought the whole concept lacked in plausibility. As an example, I don’t understand how parents would just let their children be carted off and thrown in a concentration-type camp without some kind of revolt. (There was one, but it came days later and was really tiny.)

Which brings me to my next issue with this book, which was the multiple POVs and how the exchanges were handled sloppily at times. Usually for me, I find it really hard to connect to a single characters in third person unless the author is amazing at showing and not telling, but I imagine that is just one of my silly little personal quirks as a reader. However, that doesn’t make it any less true. So, the fact that Mr. Wells does a lot of telling was already stacked against him, but then, he added in way too many point of views. It seemed like he rotated characters every single chapter, and not only was that tedious, but it made it exponentially more difficult for me to connect to any character in this book. For me to ever enjoy a book, I absolutely have to care- even if it’s the tiniest smidgen- about the character(s), and with Blackout, I did not. In fact, I’d probably go on to say that these characters weren’t even that likable from what little bit I did read about them with the exception of Jack.

My last problem with this book was that there was a serious lack in plot progression and that the pacing seemed to dawdle in places. At the beginning, the store seemed to be moving in a steadier speed and I was really intrigued by the novel. But then in the middle, it seemed like I was basically rereading all this action over and over again, just in a different scenario or location. The book just keeps folding over itself time and time again, which is a major setback for me. Blackout was a long 432 pages. With so much action and telling happening and all with characters that I was meh about, I kept finding myself bored and setting the book down. It failed to hold my attention, to be frank. So why did I finish you ask? It was only because I wanted to see if I would ever find out why the terrorists were ripping apart the US. Answer? You never do.

♥ Rec It? So, I bet you’re asking yourself right now, why did I rate this a 3-star instead of only a 2 (or even lower)? Well, I try to be fair. Just because something didn’t particularly appeal to me, I can see why another reader would actually like  it. For instance, there’s loads of action and cool powers to be enjoyed in this novel, especially if you don’t mind third person and a whole lot of narrative shifting. That being said, if you’re looking for a rounded book with character connection, you might want to skip the boat on this one.

A very special thanks to HarperTEEN and Edelweiss for providing me with an early copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

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