Sherwood Smith's Reviews > Blackout

Blackout by Connie Willis
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's review
Nov 12, 10

bookshelves: sf
Read from November 08 to 12, 2010

I waited a full year to read this, after having heard that it ends on an abrupt cliff hanger. I finished it last night, and tonight will begin the next.

The surface plot is a difficult one, or challenging: basically, a number of people running around trying to find one another, or to get to their drop. Three of them are caught in England in 1940, as the Blitz and the V rocket bombings began. The driving mechanism is appearing slowly, only acknowledged at the very end of this one (this isn't a spoiler as it's told in the jacket) that something is wrong with the time travel mechanics.

I had trouble getting into it because of all the POVs, because there was so very much frenetic running around and missing people (especially in 2060, when a cell phone call would have solved that difficulty in seconds). Further, two of the female character (to me) sound exactly alike, with so little explication of their background that they seem to have been born when they were thrust through to the past.

But I kept reading anyway, because the secondary story was just so very powerful. These young historians are there in the first place to observe people coping with the effects of war coming home to them. One of them wants to see heroes, another, children. And we do see children (some very funny scenes, others believably excruciating), and we do see ordinary folk displaying a wide spectrum of heroism.

It is this secondary story that makes this two-volume storyline afford glimpses of brilliance, and so I will commence the even longer volume two today.
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Reading Progress

11/08/2010 page 45
9.0% "Interesting beginning--so far, the time travelers seem to be hitting critical max, causing time slippage."
11/10/2010 page 155
32.0% "The plot is beginning to coalesce, as the time travelers are "slipping" days, and WW II is gaining ground . . ."
11/11/2010 page 318
65.0% "Some of the characters are so like each other I can get mixed up, but otherwise the tale itself is riveting."
11/11/2010 page 318
65.0% "Some of the characters are so like each other I can get mixed up, but otherwise the tale itself is riveting."

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Moira Russell IT DOES. That was smart of you. I gobbled the first volume the moment it was out and waiting was just awful.

message 2: by Sherwood (new) - added it

Sherwood Smith I was soooo glad to be warned!

Moira Russell Sherwood wrote: "I was soooo glad to be warned!"

I will say that at the time I (and a lot of reviewers) thought the cliffhanger ending was soooooo obvious, and she really cleverly reveals it is Not Who You Might Have Thought It Was, hundreds of pages later. Heh.

Abbey I adored "To Say Nothing of the Dog" because it was hilarious, but it sounds like I can skip this one. Thank you for your review!

Jennifer I agree, the POVs where difficult to distinguish. Truthfully, I only kept at it because I found the contemporaries so incredibly. I don't care too much about the historians yet, but I'm hoping they get a little better developed in the next book.

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