By: Melanie | September 18, 2013 | (23) Comments

Review: Blackout by Robison WellsBlackout by Robison Wells
Series: Blackout, #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, YA
Pages: 432
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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 dangerโ€”where one wrong choice could trigger an explosion that ends it all.

The virus has spread.

My Review

What would you do if you could influence other people’s minds? Disappear at any moment in time? Have your senses heightened to unnatural levels? Or even super-human strength? Would you use it, or would you wane away from the new reality? In Robison Wells’ latest YA novel, Blackout explores and answers some of these questions in a virus-spreading dystopian setting, compact with action.

For my first ever Robison Wells novel, I can say that I am impressed with his cast of characters. Despite the one or two, I fell in love each and every single one of them, even their flaws and fears. Like many other books I’ve read in the recent past, Blackout is a character and action driven novel. Aubrey and Jack are high school students; they’ve known one and another for most of their lives and have been friends. That was until Aubrey found out she could become invisible whenever she wished and befriended the most popular girl in the school where she’d spy on her fellow school mates in exchange for popularity. The reason why she has the ability to become invisible is because sheโ€™s been infected by the virus. So quite obviously, I was not a fan of Aubrey to begin with, she was probably the most irritating and dependent character I’ve come across. However as the story unravelled; Aubrey faces some heart-racing events, I could see her character changing to a much more stable level. This character arc was quite a strong one and I’m truly impressed. Aubrey was definitely one of my favourite characters. Nonetheless, my ultimate favourite character was Jack. His personality was flawed without exceptions, yet his faith and simplicity were in great contrast to the general mood of Blackout which made him stand out.

Per contra, we have three teen trained terrorists. Laura, Alec and Dan. However we only really get to hear from the perspectives of Laura and Alec. Laura has super human strength whereas Alec can plant images in other people’s mind with his brain. I wasn’t as enthused about Laura and Alec’s ego. Acknowledging that they have been brought up as terrorists, I still could not but help feel that they weren’t as clear or genuine compared to Audrey or Jack. But then maybe that’s what the author was attempting to suggest or place emphasis on? About the pair of teens being utter opposites. Still, the perspectives were quite a mouthful to digest and since I was more enticed by Audrey and Jack’s story, therefore I only really anticipated their chapters.

Another contributing factor to why I felt disconnected to Laura and Alec was their story line. I could not get my head around what their motives where, why are they rebelling? What are they trying to terrorise, while some answers were hinting throughout, this lack of world building let down not only my enjoyment towards the characters but also to my overall attention to this book. The pace and shortage of answers subsided my will to turn the pages altogether.

I’m sure many people will come to fall in love with this book, unfortunately for me; it did not awe me as I had expected. Though I am quite certain that I’ll be looking out for more of Robison Wells’ books!


~Thank you HarperTeen for sending me this copy!~

3 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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23 Responses to Review: Blackout by Robison Wells

  1. Awww too bad about you not loving this book Mel. I love how it’s a character driven novel and the abilities sort of remind me of Xmen. Anyway, sounds like it got confusing towards the end. Great review anyhow!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #1: Allegiant by Veronica RothMy Profile

  2. Virus-spreading dystopian. I know enough, haha. I’ve been keeping an eye on this book for a while now and I’m so excited to read it! It’s a shame that you felt disconnected from Laura and Alec, but it sounds good enough for me to give it a try ๐Ÿ˜€
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 198. Gail Carriger โ€“ Blameless.My Profile

  3. Amelia says:

    Huh, it’s a shame that this didn’t work for you, the synsopis sounded really good. Reminds me of X men… On the other hand, I love that there was a huge character development in Aubrey’s character. I may actually read this now!

  4. I think my sis had trouble connecting to some of the characters too when she read this one. If it’s a character-driven novel, then I can see how that would be really problematic. Great review, Melanie ๐Ÿ˜€
    Becca @ Nawanda Files recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Our Fall TBR ListMy Profile

  5. Johanna says:

    Lovely review, honey!! I’ve seen a few reviews on this one and nyojung seems to really stead out to me either. Eh.

  6. It’s a shame that you weren’t quite as connected with Laura and Alec’s storyline here as you were with Aubrey and Jack’s, but I’m glad that you enjoyed this book overall. I haven’t actually heard much about it yet! I’ll check out some other reviews before I make a decision. Thanks for the helpful thoughts as always! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sam @ Realm of Fiction recently posted…Review: Fractured by Sarah FineMy Profile

  7. Celine says:

    Hmm, I don’t know about this one yet. I’m sorry you didn’t connect with Laura and Alec’s story ๐Ÿ™

    Great review <3
    Celine recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #7My Profile

  8. Jenni says:

    I’m not sure what to think of this one. I have it coming up for review soon but it just doesn’t seem like my cup of tea at the moment. Hopefully I can get into it when the time comes. It’s too bad you felt a little disconnected to the story, hope your next read is better, Melanie!
    Jenni recently posted…Fangirl ReviewMy Profile

  9. Rachel says:

    Sounds like an original premise, but a lot of characters in the mix to focus on. Not sure this would be for me either, Melanie. It does sound like an exciting read, though. Wonderful review. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Rachel recently posted…Cover Fever #1My Profile

  10. For some reason, Robinson Wells’ books have really, REALLY cool premises and have great potential… but the story only turns out to be okay. I’m not saying he’s a bad writer exactly, but he could definitely work more on the execution. But I love the the sound of the characters in his latest! Especially Aubrey — you can see that she’s developed very nicely, and I like that. And if you could fall in love with mostly all the characters, flaws and all, I’d say that Wells did a much better job with the characterization than he did with his VARIANT series.

    the perspectives were quite a mouthful to digest and since I was more enticed by Audrey and Jackโ€™s story, therefore I only really anticipated their chapters.” — I can so relate to this! I think that’s the major problem with writing from several perspectives. But Mel, were you able to connect with any of the characters, even though the book was pretty much told from four (?) POVs? That’s kind of… extensive.

    And ehh for that unclear story line. I’d be pretty annoyed, too. I mean, sometimes the story line is left blurred for a purpose, but I doubt there was one here. So, not sure if I’ll be giving this one a try despite the awesome-sounding blurb. The lack of world building and answers turns me off a LOT, but still, thanks for such a helpful and honest review, Mel!
    Megan @ Adrift on Vulcan recently posted…Swim In My Tears: The Fault in Our Stars, John GreenMy Profile

  11. Sounds like a relatively interesting book. I can see why Alec and Laura’s point of views wouldn’t be as exciting. They seem difficult to pin down. Thanks for your thoughts!
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: The ExtraMy Profile

  12. Stephanie B says:

    Ah, this one sounds like a dud. Great review!
    Stephanie B recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Autumn Must-ReadsMy Profile

  13. I accidentally forgot to download this from EW before it expired but maybe it’s okay. It’s too bad to hear about the disconnect but I do hope to give it a try someday. ๐Ÿ™‚
    sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books recently posted…‘Waiting On’ Wednesday (72): World After (Penryn & the End of Days #2) by Susan EeMy Profile

  14. Alise says:

    Too bad about this one, it seems like it has seriously awesome potential. I also have this one so maybe I will like it more now that I know what to expect! Thanks for the review!
    Alise recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday [29]My Profile

  15. Candace says:

    This is one I actually never really felt a super strong urge to read it. And it actually sounds like quite a few things wouldn’t work for me so I’m not rushing to get it just yet anyway.
    Candace recently posted…Young Adult Review: Absent by Katie WilliamsMy Profile

  16. I have this one coming up for review since I can never ever resist characters with superpowers. I fully expected to love it, but after reading several reviews, yours included, I’m not so convinced anymore. It’s odd that the motivations of main characters weren’t clear. It’s no wonder you felt disconnected.
    Great review, hon.
    Maja (The Nocturnal Library) recently posted…Review: Find MeMy Profile

  17. Giselle says:

    I’ll admit I only skimmed the review bc I’m starting this book in a couple of days and I don’t want to expect ANYTHING. Though I did read the part about having great characters which is an awesome thing for my character oriented reader self! I have seen mixed reviews about this one in the past few months but no one seems to outright hate it so that’s good, right? >.<
    Giselle recently posted…Book Girls Don’t Cry: Halloween Reads!My Profile

    • Malinda says:

      mikkel The &#80r2;expe2ts” purportedly used logic that had been disproven a few years earlier and operated more on cultural superstition than scientific fact. I don't blame the original investigation because it did happen only after the field started to become more scientifically standardized and I could see why they wouldn't have known. However, it is unconscionable that the facts weren't reexamined and that the original experts didn't know about the prior test cases years later.

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