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Blackout #1


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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 danger—where one wrong choice could trigger an explosion that ends it all.

432 pages, Hardcover

First published October 1, 2013

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Robison Wells

30 books787 followers

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5 stars
923 (23%)
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1,389 (35%)
3 stars
1,110 (28%)
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364 (9%)
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132 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 563 reviews
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,365 followers
October 2, 2013
Hmm.. I didn't really get the point of this book. It would have helped if we had gotten some world building, surely. Basically we've got these kids who have a virus that gives them powers. They get used by the army to try to stop kids with cooler powers. The end.

It's a shame, really, because until a bit passed the middle - which is when I realized this book wasn't really going anywhere - I was quite enjoying it. I thought the idea of it all was creative and exciting. the powers ranged from funny, to intriguing, to kind of badass. The characters were also fairly interesting (though the narrative switches were sometimes sloppy). But in the end I still don't know what this book was trying to be. Is it a mindless action thriller? Is it a post-apocalyptic novel? Is it a sci-fi genetic engineering story? Is it a war story? It's kind of all of these things, I suppose, all jumbled into a plot without purpose or direction, that is.

During the first part of the novel we meet characters who mention they were injected with something and trained by their parents for… the current war I'm guessing. This war which is lead by teenagers in small groups doing terrorist-like attacks all over the country. That is basically all we get as far as world building. We don't learn why they were given these power nor who's behind it all, and in turn, we don't know the purpose of this war. Additionally, we only get a brief account of the war itself, mostly what has been targeted. We don't know how it started, nor society's reaction to it. We strictly concentrate on these character's lives and present thoughts which gives us a very narrow view of everything. It's also frustrating because this book is told through several perspectives, one of them being one of the terrorists, yet we don't get any significant details, still.

The book did have great potential and maybe the series as a whole will be better. The action was pretty exciting for the most part, with some great suspenseful scenes using some really cool powers - I loved the school invasion/monster in basement bit. As for this book being realistic, however, it was definitely not. We spend most of the book in a military base camp where they have captured infected teenagers and treat them like prisoners with no rights or dignity, yet the psychological side of things is blatantly ignored. And how did they go about imprisoning every teenager in the country in a matter of days without much retaliation from anybody inside or out, including the parents? Oh wait, some did go and form a protest. I think they even had signs.

Another small annoyance was how randomly, between random paragraphs, we'd get some sort of journal entry from an anonymous person complaining about something or someone of irrelevance. There is a purpose to this which we find out near the end, but it still came off as annoying and kind of a distraction at the time you read it. I don't think it had the effect the author was going for.

Like I said, this one might be better read as a series, but I can't say I'm much interested in continuing with it myself, so let me know if it suddenly turns into a mind-blowing-must-read, eh?

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone (on hiatus).
1,501 reviews201 followers
October 22, 2021
2.5 Stars rounded up to 3

Well that was an entertaining action story about some over-powered teens!

I liked the premise and the multi POV. I'd like to have seen a bit more use of their powers in battle situations but overall it was a satisfying story. What was missing was some much needed world building. We had no context for why there were terrorists and what they hoped to achieve. I will actually follow up with book two at some point however it will be a wee way down the TBR to be honest.
589 reviews1,031 followers
September 20, 2013
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

Thank you HarperTeen for sending me this copy. No compensation was given or taken to alter this 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 she’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!
Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews615 followers
August 28, 2014
I can't believe the author who wrote Variant and Feedback wrote this. What a huge disappointment. Everything went downhill after knowing the secret of their "powers". Nothing interesting happened after the "huge" revelation.

My expectations were really high because I really liked Variant and Feedback. In fact, I think those two are the only YA books I rated 5 stars, if I'm not mistaken. I was really hoping I'd like this but there's nothing to like to be honest. The characters were boring, and the plot was not as interesting as I hoped it would be. A huge disappointment, but I'm still planning on reading the sequel. I'm really hoping for a redemption from the sequel coming out this September. I really liked Wells as an author, but I'm not going to recommend Blackout to anyone. Predictable and bleak, nothing to love here.

I'm not going to give this the benefit of a great and well thought out review stating all the problems as this novel didn't even give me an enjoyable read to begin with. I've stated the major problems of the novel though, and I guess that's enough to either make you want to try it or not. I'm one of those people who don't enjoy YA though, so maybe YA readers might find this more enjoyable than I did.
Profile Image for Zoe.
406 reviews939 followers
January 25, 2015

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. 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.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,890 followers
September 25, 2013
1.5 star

Once again I fell prey to a pretty cover. I just never learn, it seems. I’ll try to make this rant review as short and clear as possible. Please don’t hate me if I don’t succeed.

The story is very unstructured and immature, and the narrative technique is a bit odd, which is a euphemism for messy and poorly thought through. At first, the focus switches between two groups of teens from one chapter to the next, but as they get separated, the number of perspectives increases. Instead of focusing on the groups (not POVs in the usual sense) we get short chapters from Alec’s, Jack’s and Aubrey’s points of view. I suppose this was meant to help accelerate the pacing somewhat, but what it really did was stop me from connecting with any of the characters. The only one I felt even remotely sympathetic towards was Jack, but even that wasn’t enough to keep me engaged.

And yet, if there is a main character in this mess, it’s Aubrey, not Jack. And Aubrey is one of the whiny ones, insufferable and utterly self-absorbed. She does come to her senses later in the story, but by then it’s far too late.

In the beginning, while the two groups are still together, the second group of teens (Alec, Laura and Dan), commits unspeakable acts of violence without any real reason or justification. They are supposedly terrorists, but terrorists always have strong motivations that make sense to them, if not to us. This was just a group of teens with superpowers going around killing people and causing natural disasters for no apparent reason other than because they can. I really wish this had been done differently. Terrorism is something we all have to live with to some degree and the psychology of it, the motivations of these terrorists is a great foundation for a book. Approaching the subject this superficially is disrespectful and somewhat insulting. No author should write about such serious matters thoughtlessly and immaturely.

The treatment of the teens in Blackout, aside from being awfully unrealistic, was obviously heavily inspired by concentration camps in World War II. The shower scene reminded me so much of The Schindler’s List, except that Wells completely failed to address the psychological aspects of being stripped naked and forced to wash with a group of people. Regardless of whether the showers are harmless or not, the entire experience is hurtful and very degrading. And yet Wells just skips right over it like it’s the most normal thing in the world.

And how likely is it that the government would lock up every single teen in the country overnight? Where are the parents? Where are the human rights groups? Perhaps it’s silly to complain about credibility in a book about kids with superpowers, but this entire thing bordered on ridiculous.

I will now end my rant because I see no point in tormenting you guys any further. I think I’ve made myself pretty clear, but in case I haven’t, here’s my recommendation: don’t waste your time and don’t be fooled by the gorgeous cover.

Profile Image for Ashley.
667 reviews716 followers
June 2, 2013
Blackout by Robison Wells - Do they just want to watch the world burn?

Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviews

Blackout started out incredibly strong! I loved the characters, the mystery, and the suspense. I was completely hooked and breezed right through the first half or so.

This book felt very X-Men-esque. People start developing powers, but there are so many people who aren't aware of their powers, or are even afraid of them. Aubrey has the power to disappear. She has no idea where it came from or whether or not something is 'wrong' with her; all she knows is that she can do it.

I really liked Audrey as a character, mainly because she was flawed. At the beginning, Audrey isn't the best person. She kind of ditched her old friends in order to climb the social ladder in high school, and she now uses her powers of invisibility to shoplift (because she's really poor, so she uses it to steal school supplies, medicine, etc.). But by the end of the book, I think Audrey really changes and turns into a better person, and I love that! She really cares about doing the right thing.

Jack is also a great character. He's just a regular guy, but he's such a sweetheart! He's just one of those guys who is genuinely really, really nice. A small romance does develop between Audrey and Jack, but it was far from the center of the story. I honestly wasn't completely sold on the romance, just because there wasn't that much chemistry between Jack and Audrey, but since it was more of a minor subplot than anything else, I wasn't too bothered by it.

The big bummer for me was how long we had to wait to get any answers, and even then we only got a tiny snippet. Throughout the entire book we know there are terrorists, we know the damage they're doing, we even know who some of them are, but we have no idea what their motives are or who/what they represent. We're strung along for the entire book and then we're thrown half a bone. Because it took so darn long to get any shred of information, my interest did start to wane towards the end.

But despite that, I still enjoyed the book. It was really interesting, I was loving the X-Men feel to it, and I feel like the series is headed in a great direction! There was sort of a mini bomb dropped at the end, and I'm really curious to see how it develops in the second book!
Profile Image for Brad Sells.
1,024 reviews55 followers
October 16, 2013
Blackout is, simply put, epic. Divergent meets X-Men in this fast-paced, awesome story that always kept my eyes glued to the page and my pulse racing with these characters. Legendary!

I'm a huge sucker for post-apocalytpic, dystopian novels, and the fantastic thing about Blackout is that it brings something new and fresh to the table. Kids being infected with powers? Sign me up. I was invested into this rich and vast world right from page one and never wanted to leave. Not only is this world dark and strange, it's one of the most unique settings I've ever seen done. With superhumans and terrorists running around a plagued world, disaster and havoc will arise; Wells did a phenomenal job with this novel. Fans of Divergent will eat this book up. Blackout is one of my new favorite novels for the year!

What a marvelous cast and ensemble! Laura and Alec are a great contrast between right and wrong; is what they're fighting for worth the cost? And Jack and Aubrey are the shining light of innocent, but they might be turning rotten on the inside. I loved this contrast between good and evil! Robison Wells plays on so many levels of good vs. evil and the fight for power. If you love your books with the right amount of action and characters that will blow you away, Blackout is a must-read. I truly believe that this will be a new buzz book! It's rich in it's fast-paced, tension-filled moments, stunning with its flawlessly contrasted characters, and original with its storyline and writing style. So amazing!

That ending! Please tell me there's a sequel! Wells did an exceptional job with this ending. Even though there was never a dull moment within Blackout, that ending just knocked the book out of the ballpark. It's almost like a race against the clock - time is ticking, and you're not sure if you'll come out on the other side. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and I absolutely fell in love with this book.

Overall, Blackout is a new, shining gem within the post-apocalyptic genre that shouldn't be missed. Wholly unique and brilliant, Blackout is an exceptional and astonishing new novel that captured me and never let me go!
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,572 reviews33.9k followers
October 29, 2013
Meh. DNF around 250 pages; it's fine, but not really remarkable. The writing style is entertaining enough, but the plot meanders and plausibility (even for a relatively forgiving reader like me when it comes to world building) is not its strong suit.
Profile Image for Sam Whitehouse.
Author 6 books72 followers
April 14, 2014
4.5 stars

Robison Wells, brother of one of my favourite authors Dan Wells (The Partials series) has blended three of my favourite things and created this awesome opener to what i hope will be at least a trilogy. This book is a cross between X-Men, 24 and The Tomorrow People and it works.
The plot is focused on several characters who, along with almost every teenager on the planet, has been infected with a virus that gives them a unique ability (this is where the X-Men/Tomorrow People aspects come into play). The main characters (the heroes) are Jack and Aubrey, and Laura, Dan and Alec (the villains). Wells twists the narrative between all of the characters, sometimes telling the story from Aubrey's perspective, other times from Laura's. The shift between hero and villain could have been jarring, but it works well and makes for some great character development. Plus we get to see how to very different characters handle the same situation.
The plot isn't all that complex, but when the ride is this fun, it didn't matter to me at all. The Lambdas (as people with these abilities are called) are put through rigorous training to fight a rebel group of Lambdas who are using their powers for terrorism (this is where the 24 aspect comes in).
Wells delivers plenty of action and the pace couldn't have been any faster. The action set pieces come thick and fast and Well's writes them with a keen eye. It's good to see that not every YA writer uses the first person present narrative style, which gets annoying after a while. Instead Wells uses third person past and it works.
There are plenty of twists and turns and i'm eager to find out where the virus (Erebus) came from and why it affected people more where Aubrey and Jack live.
My only complaint about this book is the shifts in time - towards the latter half of the book the plot seemed to skip ahead over large periods of time and it jarred the pace and plot just a little. Other than that, the only minor problem is a slight lack of character development. But none of this affected how much i enjoyed this book. Right from the first chapter it's a breathless, gripping action thrill ride and it's one of the most addictive books I've read this year.
Inevitably, it ends on a cliffhanger, and a massive one.
Highly, highly recommended. I'm looking forward to the sequel.
Profile Image for Hillari Morgan.
312 reviews36 followers
November 28, 2014
Let us start with the things I liked about this book (it will be a much shorter list).

1. This was definitely a unique take on an apocalyptic dystopia. You don't typically see this concept when looking at that genre.
2. There was an interesting mesh between the science fiction/dystopian element and the science fiction/futuristic power concepts that were demonstrated within this book.

That is it. The end.

The things I did NOT like:

1. The concept was not AT ALL well developed. I spent the entire book having no idea why there were terrorists; reflecting on what the purpose was for the terrorists to hit landmarks and locations that they did; wondering who the bad guys really were; waiting for answers to a million questions; and never getting any pieces to any of my puzzles.
2. SUCH bad writing at very frequent times.
3. The end felt like Robinson Wells just wanted it all to be done and over-with, bringing the text to a "close" rapidly and poorly.
4. Character development was awful. Supposedly one of the characters, Dan, had a relationship with the terrorists due to support of his mother. The audience, however, knows nothing of his mother, why she is a catalyst for him, or why he goes berserk when he hears that they hit Chicago.
5. The storyline proved to be incredibly flimsy but only due to the poor execution by the author. If an accomplished writer had tackled the concepts within this text, I feel as though they would of had a brilliant opportunity.

In conclusion, don't waste your time on this book. If you are looking for a dystopian novel, there are so many better options out there.
Profile Image for C2 Alexa.
10 reviews3 followers
September 27, 2019
In this book, the author mentioned how a supposed "virus" is affecting teenagers and is spreading around the US. The government rounded up all the teenagers in the United States and kept them in a quarantine zone. The conditions were very bad and they didn't have access to fresh food and other necessities. This reminded me of the refuge camps in the US, where the immigrants have to suffer inhumane conditions in the camp.
Profile Image for Just a person .
995 reviews294 followers
September 18, 2013
The world set up in this one was really interesting, but I think that my problem is that I didn't connect with the majority of the characters. I think that the lead up to the mutations wasn't well done, and I think that it should not have started from the terrorist point of view to start because that dropped my attention level. I didn't connect with them or understand why they were doing what they were doing.
Once I got going I did like Audrey and her story line. I think that her and Jack are what kept my interest. It was a gentle and then building connection between the two, because when it starts, Audrey is actually with someone else.
I think maybe a lot of the issues would have been fixed if there weren't so many points of view, but I felt bounced around. As is, I don't think that I will be continuing with the series.

Bottom Line: Great premise, but meh world building.
Profile Image for Fantasy Literature.
3,226 reviews161 followers
March 13, 2016
Robison Wells’ Blackout is, at first glance, just another typical dystopian YA novel. The chapters are short, the sentences shorter, and the vocabulary wouldn't be a stretch for most junior high students. Good teenagers are in conflict with bad teenagers and seemingly every adult in existence; adults can't be trusted as authority figures because they aren't special and they exploit the people who are. I would guess that a potential blurb for the book might read as, "Who can you trust when your own body might betray you?"

Thankfully, Wells came up with an interesting premise — some American teenagers have mysteriously developed special powers, ranging from laughable (heating a liquid by blowing on it) to expected (mind control, super-strength) to terrifying (creating fissures in the earth via touch). The powers come with a price, generally a physical ailment, ... Read More: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,651 followers
October 1, 2013
So, you know how I’m always going on and on about how I’m a highly character-focused reader? Well, this book is one of those rare exceptions where I’m totally in the book for something else. The amount that I enjoyed this was definitely out of character for me (see what I did there?), but it was a thrill ride of adventures and powers and betrayal, so, frankly my dears, I do not give a damn.

Read the full review at A Reader of Fictions
Profile Image for Dylan.
547 reviews228 followers
February 26, 2017
This one was a lot better than I remembered!

I originally read this a few years ago in middle school and had no interest in reading it's sequel until I decided to get it for just $2.00 on Bookoutlet, so I decided to reread it to freshen up my mind.

While it's not the best written thing in the world, I flew through this because of the characters, the storyline and the action, no matter how unoriginal it was.
Profile Image for Ivy-Sue.
54 reviews1 follower
November 20, 2014
Abolutely wonderful book. It's full of surprises and some romance. Robinson Wells is an absolutely intelligent, FANTASTIC writer. I wish I could learn some of his tricks. Wow. I would recommend this book to all people. It's amazing.
Profile Image for Jaden Nelson.
145 reviews7 followers
February 4, 2017
It was hard to get into and a big chunk of the beginning of the book was pretty boring, but around halfway through, I was hooked and loved the second half. Also I have to say is I didn't like the ending. I would read it again but probably not anytime soon.
Profile Image for Elevetha .
1,768 reviews168 followers
February 6, 2014
Pretty much spent the whole time reading this with this face:

Yeah, I know it's a series. I get that. But when the first book of a series is so purposefully vague and confusing (with boring characters to boot), that's when I get upset.


I thought it was pretty neat cover at first. "Wonder what that yellow stuff is..." But then I couldn't figure out if the cover actually had anything to do with the book. And THEN it hit me.


Jack. Jack was the saving grace of this, because it sure as hell wasn't Laura or Alec or even Aubrey, who I did warm up to microscopically once she stopped being totally stupid. But I guess my issue is that, not only were all of them boooring, Alec and Laura are legitimately evil and I could never figure out why they were the way they were, besides the fact that that's how they were raised. But honestly, do they not have normal human thoughts? Are they not capable of thinking and reasoning and realizing that maybe, just MAYBE, what they're doing isn't good? but I don't like reading about characters that I don't like or connect to.

And when I say Jack is the saving grace, what I mean is, I disliked him less than everybody else. He was still the male equivalent of a Mary Sue. (What are the Mary Sues of the male gender called???????) And there really is nothing that I can think of to say about him.

And as for Aubrey, I had a hard time believing her flippy-floppy conversion that took about 10 pages to go from ignoring Jack because she can't be seen with the likes of him, to being in love with him. Yeah, they were childhood friends but also YEAH, she dumped and ignored him for...how long?? Long enough that Jack was awfully forgiving when she did come around. But I suppose I can see part of her story,


But WHY are there terrorist teens wreaking terror all over the globe? And WHO made up this plan??

Wait for iiiiiiiiit....

In any case, barring someone saying it gets better and actually makes you care, I won't be coming back for seconds.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,917 reviews69.3k followers
November 2, 2013
Check out this review and other cool stuff at http://www.addicted2heroines.com/2013...

At the start of the book, Aubrey isn't the most sympathetic character. She woke up one day with the ability to turn herself invisible, but she hadn't exactly been using her power to do anything worthwhile. In fact, she ditched her longtime friend Jack, and was using her special ability to steal clothes and other goodies that she normally wouldn't be able to afford. She was also using her power to spy on classmates. The high school's Alpha-Girl found about Aubrey's little secret, and had been using her to keep up with all the gossip in return for making Aubrey popular. Since Aubrey had always been known as trailer-park trash (due largely to her dad's drinking problem), this was a dream come true for her.
Or it was until the military showed up at a dance and started throwing all of the kids on a bus. Not to mention that they killed one boy who fought back...after he turned into some sort of mutant monster.
Aubrey pulled a disappearing act, assuming that they'd come for her, and hid until they were gone. She reconnected with Jack, but before the two could get away...her father sold her out to the government for beer.
They both end up at a military camp that was designed to sniff out kids with powers. The kids who test negative for mutations get to go home, but no one will tell them what happens to the kids who test positive.

Alec and Laura have been traveling around (with another teammate) blowing things up. They're part of some mysterious terrorist organization, who's main goal seems to be chaos and destruction. They'd been leaving quite a body count in their wake until one of their missions goes wrong and they got separated. Alec was still on the loose, but Laura got picked up and put into the same camp as Jack and Aubrey. Of course, she decided it was a golden opportunity to infiltrate the enemy, and immediately started worming her way into a power position.

I liked the different POVs you get in this book.
I thought it added a little sumpin' sumpin' to the drama of everything to know what was going on in the bad guys' heads. Especially when Laura was working side by side with Jack and Aubrey.
Nooooo! She's evil! Don't trust her!
Why are you going into the basement with her?!
Never. Go. Into. The. Basement.

I've barely skimmed the top of this book's plot, but let's just say that the psycho teen-terrorists aren't Aubrey and Jack's only problem. The military has plans for all of the kids who have powers, and they don't exactly ask nicely for their help. Lots of twists, near-escapes, secrets, and betrayals.

I do wish the terrorist organization and the cause of the virus had been explained a little bit better. I didn't get annoyed by the lack of information while I was reading, though. It was fast-paced enough that I breezed through the story pretty quickly, and only after it was over that I realized I still had questions. Maybe the author is saving those things for the next book?

All in all, I had a lot of fun reading Blackout, and I'd recommend it for YA fans of mutant kids in a slightly dystopian setting.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Once.
2,344 reviews70 followers
September 20, 2013
Known for his inception like style of writing, Robison Wells provides an interesting novel dealing with America and terrorism. Filled with suspension and haunting scenes, Black Out is a dramatic blend of realism and science fiction. Using characters that come alive, Wells creates very complex relationships. These relationships add to the daunting twist and turns that he creates along with thrilling shocks that seem to come from all angles haunting the reader.

In Blackout we follow the perspective of four young people. Two are somewhat normal teenagers while the other two happen to be teenage terrorists. Working in a group, the trained teenagers also each happen to have a special power that aids them in their deeds of terror. The two sets of teenagers meet up later in the novel amidst turmoil in the country. Written with amazing originality, Robison Wells provides the literature world with the perfect book that reflects the times. Similar to how movies reflect the state of the country. Blackout plays somewhat on the fears of the people, which in turn creates such a strong emotion in readers. Finally, Wells uses a blistering pace in his writing style causing readers to rarely want to put this book down. He provides readers with a chillingly balanced novel that does a great job of making you think about the future throughout the entire novel.

link: http://www.onceuponatwilight.com/2013...
Profile Image for Reading is my Escape.
850 reviews45 followers
October 28, 2015
Sort of like X-Men, but not really...
Attacks are sweeping across America.
Alec and Laura are at the center of the violence, while in a small town out west, Jack and Aubrey feel sheltered from the turmoil.
But these four teens are about to find their lives intertwined in ways they never could have imagined -- and one wrong step could trigger an explosion that ends it all.

So, how to describe this book... hmmm.... I'm having trouble. I really enjoyed Variant, by Robison Wells, so I was excited to read this book. And I enjoyed it, but there are a lot of unanswered questions and unexplained motives. I'm assuming there will be at least one sequel and that may be why. In some ways, I don't think enough was explained to keep me interested in the next one. Then again, I really want to know what, "For your mother and mine." means. The phrase is spoken by the teenage terrorists with powers (in the first chapter, so no spoilers here).
Not a bad book, and teens who enjoy dystopian novels will most likely enjoy it.
Recommended to:
Grades 6-12, fans of YA dystopian novels, maybe fans of X-men as the teens have "mutant" powers which may or may not have been caused by a virus....
Profile Image for Ryelor.
154 reviews1 follower
June 5, 2013
Can I brag for a moment? I scored my copy of Black Out by winning Robison Wells's NCAA bracket tournament. Suh-weet! Glad I did. This book was awesome!

The cover of the book was a little misleading when I got it. The blurb on the front says, "The virus has spread." At first I thought, "Oh no, not another zombie book." For those of you who might think the same thing, have no fear. This book is NOT about zombies. It's about super powers . . . and that's all I'll give away. Needless to say, as a nerd for all things superhero-ee, I really enjoyed this book.

The plot is pretty straightforward--fast paced enough for the more avid readers not to get bored but not so convoluted that a new reader would get confused or lost. The characters are engaging and we spend a fair amount of time in each protagonist's head, something that I really like. The ending delivers in more way than one, and Wells makes it really obvious that the tale isn't over. However, the ending still felt cathartic and complete, but left me wanting more.

Black Out is a fun read. YA fans are really going to like it.
Profile Image for Wendy Hines.
1,322 reviews258 followers
November 20, 2014
Black Out is a solid read. Focused on two groups of teens, the story flips between the two groups until they are brought together for the end. A virus, superhero powers, teen angst and more are in this scy-fy dystopian thriller. I didn't love it, and I didn't hate it. My main issue was the fact that I didn't relate to any characters. Not because of the age difference, as I am an adult, but because the focus wasn't on anyone in particular, but all over the place. The storyline is solid and the plot moved at a quick pace. I really enjoyed the plot and enjoyed the story, I just wish there had been a bit more character development.
Profile Image for Naoms.
706 reviews160 followers
September 4, 2014
I enjoyed this. It had great aspects, but I just didn't understand what it was all about. What were the terrorists after? Was it only happening in the U.S. How did the virus work, why were some people effected and not others? I don't know.
Profile Image for Christal.
936 reviews69 followers
September 25, 2013
See this review and others like it at BadassBookReviews.com!

Blackout was interesting reading experience for me. On the surface, I thought it was a great book - thrilling, lots of action, interesting characters, and a far-reaching plot. The problem is that when I started thinking about the different elements of the book in detail, things just didn't hold up. I did enjoy the reading experience though so I do think I will continue with the next book and hope that we are given more answers. Mild spoilers may follow.

Blackout begins from the point of view of three teenaged terrorists, Laura, Alec, and Dan. We don't know much about them or their cause, but what we do learn pretty quickly is that they have special powers a la X-Men. Laura is super strong, Dan can affect and move the ground, and Alec can influence and affect the mind. Together, they work as a team to demolish US monuments and important infrastructures. I never really connected with any of their characters and honestly, it was hard to have any sympathy for them because of their actions. Of the three, Alec was the worst and I was just hoping that someone would eventually take him down. Maybe in the next book...

The terrorism aspect of Blackout was the first thing that didn't hold up under scrutiny for me. We aren't told why the teenagers are doing these things nor what they hope to achieve by their actions. We don't know who they are or how their group can to be. They have no demands; instead they just focus on causing as much destruction as possible. They don't seem to have a plan and focus on whatever target is convenient. It was just so ambiguous that I found myself not caring. These people seem to be American citizens themselves and don't appear to have any direct reasoning for what they are doing. They're destroying their own homeland and don't seem to care about innocent lives. I don't feel like they are attacking the government for a reason or to try to make things better, it just seems like children using their newfound super powers to throw tantrums.

The story alternates point of views between chapters and we are soon introduced to who I feel are the true main characters of Blackout, Jack and Aubrey. They both develop enhanced abilities as well, but they are not part of the terrorist organization. I really liked both Jack and Aubrey and will happily follow them into another book. They both had great character development throughout the novel and I thought their blossoming romance was handled sweetly without dominating the story. They make great partner and really complement one another. Aubrey especially developed into a strong and nuanced character. She wasn't super likable at the beginning, but by the end I understood her actions and thought she changed for the better. Jack was just a genuinely good guy and it was interesting to see him dealing with the initial onset of his abilities. Aubrey had had hers for a few years and had adjusted already, but it was very intriguing to see Jack becoming accustomed to his new powers.

Jack and Aubrey are picked up by the government, along with the rest of the high school students in the US, to be tested for the Erebus virus. This virus is the cause of the enhanced abilities and only seems to affect teenagers. Here is the second aspect I had an issue with in Blackout - the way the government treated those affected by Erebus aka Lambdas. The students that are identified as Lambdas are separated from the rest of the group and are locked into cells. They are given treated water that dulls their abilities and basically treated like prisoners. If someone gets too rowdy, strong streams of water are turned on from the ceiling and pelt everyone painfully, not just the offending party. They are kept locked up and isolated until an arbitrary day when they are taken from their cells and moved into a research facility. Here they are observed and eventually informed about the Lambda program and the terrorist activity that is occurring. They are then asked to join with the Green Berets and become a fighter against terrorism. Now, if their eventual goal is to have these kids join their forces, why would they treat them like prisoners beforehand? It doesn't make any sense to me. That seems like it would breed distrust and resentment and actually isolate the teens from wanting to support the cause. Also, I find it hard to believe that all of the parents in the US would be fine with the government rounding up their kids and taking them off to military installations. There are no mentions of protests or anything, and there doesn't seem to be any parents that question why their children weren't returned. None of the main characters are 18 so you would think the parents would be involved, even in a fictional time of war.

I really did find the plot of Blackout to be exciting and fast-paced. I blazed through this novel in a few hours and immediately wanted to know more. The narrative voice was engaging and I thought the POV shifts were handled pretty well, even if I would have preferred to have fewer changes. Jack and Aubrey were definitely my favorite voices and I couldn't help but picture Game of Thrones' King Joffrey every time Alec's voice was given page time. Can someone take him out already? My last little nitpick was with the ending of the book. A unexpected announcement seems to show that next book will be on a more globalized scale, but I still don't see how everything works together. There are too many questions left hanging at the end of this one, mainly dealing with the terrorist group, and they need to be tied up quickly. If more background information is included with book #2, I think that Blackout could become a terrific series and I do see how it would be visually stunning from a cinematic perspective.

Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for providing an ARC copy of this book!
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