Review: Blackout

Author: Robison Wells
Date of Publication: October 1 2013
Pages: 432
Source: Library Ebook

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.


Blackout is an incredibly frustrating read. It has an interesting premise, but being the impatient person that I am, I am irritated that I've read the first book and I still don't understand why what's happening is happening.

In Blackout, for some reason, teens with powers that come from mutations are going around committing acts of terrorism. You really learn absolutely nothing about why they're doing this, and very little is learned of how. The story just kind of forces you to accept what is happening. Normally, I can do that, but Blackout was maddening. There are a group of characters that I don't understand and it's deliberate. They're not likable either: I don't know if they're psychos or if they have their reasons. The mystery of it all is driving me crazy.

I think that's the first thing to know about Blackout: this is a book that will raise endless questions with no answers. That means the world building is incredibly strange because on the one hand, due to the fact that the narration is being done by both terrorist teens and innocent kids you know more about what's happening then the innocents do, but you know less than the minds of the people that are blowing up bridges and dams. So where does that leave you?

Utterly confused. There is mystery but there's no release or relief. The questions pour on but the answers don't. And I guess I'm not into that kind of storytelling.

Besides that, I feel like Blackout is surprisingly light on actual details and substance. I don't find the world plausible (this being the parts I do know of). The characters with powers get away with too much and I think the technology from the military is ridiculously insufficient. I mean, I know little about the military, but I would assume every room in a military compound would be videotaped and there would be microphones. Also, land mines around the entire district from a fence. I'm really talking out of my ass here because I don't know if Blackouts descriptions are really quite accurate, but it's far less fun than a story like this sounds.

Also, I don't like the characters. That doesn't mean I hate them. I don't find any of them that interesting, except for Alec who is messed up but smart enough that I can't help but wondering about his motives. The characters aren't well fleshed out enough for me, and I personally can't relate to them. Like Aubry who can't afford anything but can drive? Like, how? Cars and tests are expensive and if she can't afford new clothes, how does she afford lessons or a car to practice? That's insanely nitpicky but it's the type of thing I wonder because there isn't much of an attention to detail. Jack doesn't really care about his family. I don't know them at all, and at one point he contemplates killing someone for Audrey. Their relationship moved too fast for me, especially considering how easily and shallowly it was broken off in the first place. Also, I really hope that Aubrey isn't shallow enough to have given up her friends for some popularity that she didn't even enjoy.

I think on all levels, Blackout didn't work for me. What it was however is readable. The idea is fun enough- kids with superpowers!- but I thought the execution wasn't that good because there was nothing in the story I ended up loving, but a lot that irritated me. Blackout ends up being a very light read without much emotion, but surprisingly engrossing all the same because the mystery of motive. Maybe not everyone cares about that as much as I do, but knowing so little was incredibly frustrating. It was like I was perpetually in the dark. (Get it? Blackout?)

Anyway, I want to know the why so badly so if anyone ever reads the sequel, please email me telling me what these attacks are all about because as it stands, I'm not interested in reading more of this tease, which arouses interest and then just ends. (The ending was incredibly abrupt. I was shocked when I flicked the page and there were acknowledgements. Nooo it can't end there. Ugh.) I have quite a few negative thoughts towards Blackout so it gets 1 star from me. Although this one could get 2 because it did manage to get me invested in something, even if it did irritate me.

Final reaction gif?



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