Monday, September 30, 2013


I read a decent number of good books this summer, but I don't know if I'll get to review those for you. For now, I'm going to try to keep up with what I'm reading at the moment.

I just finished Blackout, a young adult novel by Robison Wells, which I picked up not only for its sci-fi premise but also because I enjoyed another book by the same author: Variant. These two books aren't in the same series, and though I'd like to, I haven't yet read Feedback, the sequel to Variant.

Blackout is not quite as suspenseful as Variant, but it's intriguing nonetheless. The book is about a virus that attacks only teenagers, giving them superpowers as well as some not-as-nice side-effects. It doesn't take long for the whole country to go on high alert as teenage terrorists attack power and landmarks across the entire continent. When the army steps in, Jack and Aubrey are caught in the middle, two teenagers who don't know what's going on even though they are being treated as criminals already. But the questions they must answer are, who are the terrorists, and who is the real enemy?

I enjoyed this book well enough but found that there were too many reveals along the way for the end to really have the impact I think the author wanted. I wasn't all that surprised by it. What I did find kind of interesting, though I'm not sure of its purpose, was that parts of the book were from the terrorists' viewpoints. I didn't mind getting in their heads, but I couldn't quite understand what I was supposed to do with the info. Was I supposed to feel a sort of sympathy for them? Was I supposed to identify with them? I didn't. I couldn't understand them at all, really. Getting in their heads also lessened the suspense for me, I think. All the big reveals were essentially given through their thoughts before the end.

I also didn't initially care a lot about or identify with the main characters, Jack and Aubrey, one of whom uses her abilities to shoplift and be in with the popular crowd, but the characters grew on me as the book progressed. Obviously, the author isn't a proponent of Aubrey's criminal activity or treatment of her not-as-popular friends but is just showing the more social side-effects of obtaining these powers.

Overall, it was a fun read with interesting powers and a nice caveat to being able to use them (the more virus-like symptoms that appeared with the use of the superpowers). Three stars.

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