ARC Review: Blackout by Robison Wells
by: Robison Wells
Publication Date: Oct. 1, 2013
Genre: Young Adult
Age Group: Dystopia
Source: e-ARC provided by Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 432 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 3/5 stars
When I first started this one, I admit I was a bit overwhelmed at the jumping back and forth between characters. Multiple POV's can be very tricky, but I finally found my groove and the chapters seemed short enough to be able to jump back and forth with little difficulty. I am always in the mood for a good dystopia and I found that I really enjoyed Blackout. It is action packed and really kept you wondering as to what the bigger picture was. However, I ended up rating it less than I originally planned because I did feel as if the storyline fizzled out a bit in the second half of the book. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it didn't grip me like the first half did.
Books that involve multiple POV's make it very difficult for you to get invested in your characters. I found myself preferring to read about Jack and Aubrey over Alec and Laura more times than not. Jack and Aubrey were high school students whose school is infiltrated by soldiers at a school dance. All of the students were captured, save for Aubrey and Jack. Aubrey is special- she is able to turn herself invisible, which is how she got away. Jack, never having been at the dance, shows up later to clean up, thus not getting caught. I did like where Wells took Aubrey and Jack's relationship. The two used to be friends when they were younger, but Aubrey is not the same girl Jack once knew. She runs in the popular circles and dresses differently. She made her choice and he wasn't it. However, now that they are thrown back together and having only the other to depend on, Jack must let the sting of betrayal go and work with her to save themselves.
Of course Jack realizes that Aubrey really isn't that popular girl, but is still the friend he used to know. The two vow to protect one another and should they be separated to find each other. Their relationship does develop into something more, which of course I liked.
Laura and Alec were harder to care about. Not because they were terrorists, bent on destroying everything, but because I already liked Jack and Aubrey and would rather have read more about them. I also didn't really understand Laura and Alec's motivation behind their attacks. There is one line mentioned frequently, "For your mother and mine". I kept waiting for one of them to explain that, but no one ever did. It almost seems like Laura, Alec, and Dan (another boy with powers) are wreaking havoc just because- not for any set purpose.
The premise was quite interesting- the world is succumbing to these terrorist attacks and the military is now bringing teenagers into captivity to check to see if they have a virus, which causes their 'superpowers'. Some of these superpowers prove to be useful and the government is enlisting their help to stop the terrorist cells, after placing them on lockdown and running painful tests on them, of course.
I did find the ending to be quite confusing, however. It ends rather abruptly, and while it sets us up for a sequel, I still feel it could have done with a bit more resolution than it did.
Overall, not a bad read- if you are a hardcore dystopian fan who likes action and superpowers, definitely give this a go.