Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Blackout by Robison Wells

I’m just not even sure how I feel about Blackout by Robison Wells. The premise was very intriguing because it reminded me of X-men only the powers are supposedly caused by a virus and not a mutation. The setup is that this so called virus only manifests in teenagers between the ages of thirteen and twenty so not long after the story starts the teenagers are rounded up for testing and decontamination.

I enjoyed how the story switched back and forth between two different groups of teenagers. The first is a trio of teenagers with some pretty strong and well practiced powers and from bits and pieces it seems as though they were purposefully injected with the virus that causes the powers to manifest. The other group is teenagers that know about their powers but don’t understand them/don’t want to admit they exist or who don’t even realize they have powers until later in the game. And reading about all the different powers was interesting though I’m glad Wells didn’t try to focus on all of them. In no particular order of importance there was: limited invisibility, telepathy, super strength, powers of persuasion, and laser vision. You can see how this could be a very interesting world but…

Four hundred pages later and I’m still not sure what the point of this was. I mean it was interesting in the scheme of things and yes I understood that the whole reason the military went all crazy (forcefully relocating them, torturing them, keeping them in the dark news wise) was because there was a group of the teenage terrorists who were taking out American bridges, malls, landmarks and killing soldiers.

But there was never an explanation of why the terrorists were doing this and why some of the teenagers were apparently infected on purpose while others were accidental. I’m assuming that these questions will be answered in the later books but I wish those plot points would have been explained now because it made things seem pointless, disjointed and a little confusing. (Especially when the reader learns that while two of the terrorists we read about are very vicious and want to destroy as many people and things as they can while the third is being blackmailed into it).

I get that a writer wants to make sure the readers will pick up the next book in the series (or two books because I think the author plans on turning this into a trilogy) but you can’t just not answer the really BIG questions. You know, the questions that are the very reason for why this whole thing started in the first place. Yeah, they should have been answered in this book. It wouldn’t have been that hard for Wells to answer those questions in this book and still keep the following books interesting. The part where the good teenagers realize they’re unwittingly helping the bad ones could have waited for a later book, what’s going on with the other countries could be touched upon in the other books.

There were just so many different ways it could have been handled better which is sad because the story was a really interesting read. I do plan on reading the rest of this series when it comes out but I’d be a bit more happy about it if the first book was more cohesive.

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