Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Blackout by Robison Wells

BlackoutBlackout by Robison Wells
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Description: 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.

My thoughts: Robison Wells is a master storyteller, particularly catering to the adolescent reader and science fiction. I immensely enjoyed Variant and look forward to reading Feedback.

Blackout is a little X-Men Ninja Teenager. The protagonist, Aubrey, living in little Mount Pleasant, Utah, has been keeping a secret from everybody but Nicole, popular and beautiful best friend. Although Nicole plays a minimal part in the story, the story line exists because of Nicole's encouragement of Aubrey's secret. Aubrey can disappear. Not literally go invisible but those around her tune her out when she goes black. She can spy, listen into private conversations, even steal. And so while Aubrey has disappeared at her high school prom, the excitement begins. The entire school is rounded up and each student is tested for a virus that mutates the carrier into a super powered humanoid.

The virus manifests itself differently with each teen but the virus only impacts a person within a certain time frame due to the growth spurts and patterns of a teenager. Interesting.

So there are a bunch of teenagers with the virus wreaking havoc and mahem around the country. Their movements are somewhat organized and unpredictable. Enter the armed forces who proactively "recruit" those who test positively for the virus.

So it's an interesting premise with a lot of promise. And yet.

The reader has no idea who the terrorists are or what they are terrorizing against. What is the objective and who is the enemy? More personally, how does the government get clearance to kidnap all the children in an entire nation and test them for a virus? How do they get the green light to keep the citizens detained for an extended period of time? And how is it morally or ethically correct practice to, not only kidnap and detain, but also do what they do to them?

I had a lot of problems with the story. I know that times of war breed a different thought process but it seemed a little too foreign and extreme. I'm not saying it can't happen nor am I saying that fiction is factual. I'm simply saying that it stretched my imagination a little too far.

That said, it's a great premise with super powered teenagers power housing the and dominating world leadership. Of course, we haven't really gotten to world leadership but it is escalating in that direction. Even causing enough chaos in the United States in order to take control is intriguing. And terrifying.

Worthwhile read but be prepared to stretch your imagination in more ways than science fiction.

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