Mike's Reviews > Blackout

Blackout by Connie Willis
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Aug 28, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction-fantasy
Read in August, 2012

This is a double review (for both Blackout and All Clear), as they're actually the same book in two volumes:

I really enjoyed this book, and for many of the same reasons I enjoyed Doomsday Book. The book combines historical fiction with science fiction, suspense, and mystery in a way which is unique (and even different than Doomsday Book, which included a medical intrigue). Add in the dry sense of humour and the fun characters and it's a great book.

However the best part of the book is also its downfall: the number and complexity of the plot lines which are woven together (with the addition of time travel, so that the timelines are sometimes flipped as well). These multiple characters and plot lines (some of whom are actually the same character going back in time to different time periods) are what make the mystery interesting. However they also mean that the book (in its two parts) is 1,155 pages long. It causes the plot to move slowly at times, especially in the first book. Which is why I gave 3 stars to the first book and 4 stars to the second. Connie Willis likes to try and string out the suspense as long as humanly possible, which means she withholds certain points until the start of the second book -- with the end result that the whole first book (all 512 pages) feel like little more than a set up for the second book.

One other note: one thing I disliked about Doomsday Book is the fact that it took more than a fair number of swipes as the Christian faith. These books don't do so in the same way, and the one major reference to Christianity actually ends well in the end.

I enjoyed it. It's good. It's unique. But you'll need a bit of patience to get through it.
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