Review: Blackout

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: BlackoutBlackout by Robison Wells
Series: Blackout #1
Published by HarperTeen on October 1, 2013
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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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.

So, you know how I’m always going on and on about how I’m a highly character-focused reader? Well, this book is one of those rare exceptions where I’m totally in the book for something else. The amount that I enjoyed this was definitely out of character for me (see what I did there?), but it was a thrill ride of adventures and powers and betrayal, so, frankly my dears, I do not give a damn.

Obviously, Blackout bears some marked similarities to the X-Men, but, honestly, what story about people with powers doesn’t get compared to that these days? In tone and sheer amount of destruction, I’d say the comparison’s actually pretty apt. However, in this case, it’s apparently not evolution at work so much as experimentation that seems to have caused a virus that is giving teenagers epic powers. It saddens me that I would be too old to get a power now.

One really cool thing that Wells did, though, is that the powers aren’t just badass; they’re a blessing and a curse. Basically, if you have a power, you’re going to have some sort of physical drawback, as well. Your power might drain your energy super fast or make you sick or something like that. Though sort of a small thing, I loved this twist he put on the powers, because usually there are a few powers that basically make the person invincible, and that’s not the case here.

In the way the plot goes down, I’m actually heavily reminded of another YA novel. Usually, I try to leave these comparisons out, but today I feel moved to address it, so deal with it. Like Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds, young people are being rounded up by the government. They’re stuck in camps and they’re not happy. The big difference, though, is that in Bracken’s novel, the government doesn’t DO ANYTHING WITH THEM; they’re just this continual drain on resources with no plan for the future. Not so with Blackout. In this case, the government is separating the teens with powers from those without, and training up the empowered ones to work for them against the teenagers causing terrorist attacks with their powers. Now HERE is a government reaction that I can believe.

Even better, unlike with Bracken’s, the teens use their powers to defend themselves rather than meekly submitting, which is perfect, because, hello, rebellion against authority is sort of what teens are programmed for. Also, Wells does a great job making everything super unclear, in that there’s not really a good or an evil side in this; each side feels like they’re working to make things better one way or another and has some claim to that. I love when books are this complex and dark.

Wells uses a third person limited omniscient POV that switches between the four main characters: Aubrey, Jack, Laura and Alec. While effective for the action sequences and covering a lot of ground, this doesn’t really bring the emotions, which is really the only thing I was missing while reading Blackout. The characters were interesting, but I wasn’t super attached to any of them. Jack’s probably my favorite one at this point.

If you enjoy fast-paced novels with lots of explosions and power-wielding teenagers, I highly recommend Blackout. Though I’m not generally into the more plot-heavy, character-light books, I really enjoyed reading every bit of Blackout, because humans with powers are one of my favorite things. The ending has me excited for the next book in the series, which I will most definitely be reading.

Favorite Quote:

“‘The freaking Space Needle just collapsed. I don’t think police are going to care about a burglary.'”

7 responses to “Review: Blackout”

  1. I shall come back and comment more thoughtfully when i am not dead tired.

    I am totally jealous that youve already read this.


  2. Alessandra says:

    This book has a nice cover. At first sight I thought it was going to be in the same series as Black Heart by Holly Black. Even though they don’t look all that much alike.
    Alessandra recently posted…Nerd Blast: Eternal Starling by Angela CorbettMy Profile

  3. Rachel says:

    This is one of those books that I was going to read because of the cover. Thank god I read your review because that would have been a BAD decision. I don’t know why, but I’m not really into the whole superpower thing. Probably because I like my books pretty realistic haha. I am glad that, while similar to The Darkest Minds, the teens actually rebel because I remember that was one of the huge reasons why I could finish TDM.
    Rachel recently posted…Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie WestMy Profile

  4. Yes to ALL of this. Gah, I wish I wrote this review, because it sums up all of my feelings perfectly. This book is such fun so far, and I hear the ending is a super-cliffhanger, which I’m actually really, really excited about. I love non-gimmicky cliffhangers quite a bit.
    Blythe Harris recently posted…Review: No Angel by Helen KeebleMy Profile

  5. Danielle says:

    I’m a total sucker for superpowers so this would be like catnip for me! Will definitely be looking out for it this week!
    Danielle recently posted…Review: Unbreakable by Elizabeth NorrisMy Profile

  6. Like you, I’m primarily a character-focused reader; however, there is a soft spot in my heart for fast-paced, plot-driven books like this one. The sci-fi geek in me LOVES things like superpowers and I can totally appreciate that Wells gave them drawbacks. Often, authors create these perfect characters with supernatural gifts and superhuman strength, but for me, there has to be a flaw. Good sci-fi/action requires a careful balance between both good and evil, even if the line between good and evil is a bit gray. I definitely look forward to picking this one up!
    Nikki @ Foil the Plot recently posted…Cover Reveal: Let Me Off at the Top! by Ron BurgundyMy Profile

  7. *squeals*

    I like how Wells did the army/soldier thing with the people with powers, rather than the whole Professor X, boarding school, student thing. It made it so much darker, and made it seem more hopeless.

    I also love how he twisted the powers, and gave them weaknesses as well as limitations. We won’t have any of that Jean Grey nonsense here.

    You’ve really put me off reading The Darkest Minds. I don’t think I’ll be able to enjoy it now that I’ve read this.

    My favourite out of the four is Aubrey, partly because that’s my favourite name in the world, and partly because she’s adorable. I’m also really intrigued by Alec. I also liked Alec and Laura’s other friend… D… I forgot his name. Whatever. I thought you’d like Jack, though *nods* He’s definitely more your type of character than any of the others.

    THE. ENDING. *flails*

    Also, my pretty hardcover arrived yesterday and there’s a PATTERN behind the DUST JACKET. Yes, caps were necessary. I can’t stop staring.
    Amber (Books of Amber) recently posted…The Killing Woods by Lucy ChristopherMy Profile

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