by Robison Wells

Genre: YA Dystopian
Published: October 1st, 2013
by HarperTeen




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 dangerβ€”where one wrong choice could trigger an explosion that ends it all.


Upon finishing this book, the only feeling I can think of is disappointment. There were so many opportunities for Wells to shine when writing this book, so many possible twists and turns it could have taken, but that never happened. Instead, this book is filled with lackluster worldbuilding, juvenile writing and underdeveloped characters; and a heck of a lot of action.

Blackout, in a sense, is the coming together of four very unlikely people and the circumstances that bring them together. Jack and Aubrey are typical high school students; Laura and Alec are terrorists. When a mysterious disease passes through America, one that only affects teenagers and leaves them with supernatural powers, the four are brought together as they realize the truth about the situation they are in.

It says something if you read a story about a virus and, 430 pages later, you still don’t know any more about the virus than you did when you started. How was it created? Why do only teens get it, and how is it scientifically possible to leave those who are infected with it with superpowers? Where did it come from? I was looking for a scientific explanation for how this virus, but I never got one.

Half of the story revolves around Jack and Laura, two typical high schoolers who become infected with the virus. I found their character development to be a bit simplistic, and my connection with them simply wasn’t there. There is nothing in the way Wells wrote their characterization that makes them particularly memorable or special, and I found them to be quite forgettable.

In contrast, the other half of the story revolves around two terrorists: Laura and Alec.Β  I felt so distant from their characters because we never truly learned why they terrorize in the first place, and I found myself wanting some answers in that regard. There was a chance for Wells to do a really fascinating in-depth psychological look at why they terrorized, but he didn’t, which was really disappointing.

The lack of world-building and character-development here made me a bit ambivalent to the story and the writing, so I can’t quite I’d recommended this.


7 thoughts on “Blackout

  1. 100% agree with everything you said. You went more in depth on the issues than I did, but all that did was show me AGAIN how much of a “miss” this book was for me. I doubt I’d read the sequel because of how disappointed I was in this one. Flat characters, poor storytelling, BAD writing. Ugh. πŸ™

    1. Thanks Molly! πŸ˜€ I’m with you – I think the sequel will be a miss for me as well unless LOTS of other bloggers persuade me otherwise. Like you said, there’s so many other great (probably better) books out there; it’s just a matter of finding one that really clicks with you. Happy reading!

      P.S. I <3 your new blog design! It's beautiful!

  2. Mm, I haven’t read this one yet, but I don’t think I will. Good writing is a HUGE thing for me. Is it narrated by 4 people? I tried that with Dark Inside, and I felt it was a bit odd and unbalanced. I liked your GIF usage though. πŸ™‚

    1. Yeah – if you’re a fan of smooth, crisp writing (like you are), this probably won’t be “your jam.” I had the same experience with the writing – there was a lot of “who-is-this-again”-itis going around, which really distracted me. Thanks! πŸ˜‰ I’m off to your blog now!

  3. What a great, in-depth review Zoe! It does not sound like a very interesting book, thanks for the hands up. There’s many other good books to enjoy! The world-building doesn’t sound like something I’d enjoy; I like when everything is explained thoroughly; and the characters sound lacking.

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