Sunday, March 9, 2014

Blackout by Robison Wells

Blackout opens with three teenagers executing an attack on the Grand Canyon.   Laura, Alec and Dan are not the usual teenagers - they each have different and superhuman powers.  From the ability to manipulate the minds of others, the power to destroy natural elements to superhuman strength, the three terrorists prove their abilities.  While the reasons behind their attacks are not known, the impact of their actions are clear.  The Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam are flooded with water, homes are pulled down, people drowned, and lives are irrevocably changed.

The government calls on military powers to combat the threat posed by the growing number of teens with superhuman powers.  Scientists attribute these powers to a virus that only affects people in their teen years.  The military and government scientists work together as they isolate teenagers, test them for the virus, and quarantine those who may have mutations.  

Government separations are immediate - and would be unconstitutional in civil society.   Children and teens are removed from their homes and families are torn apart without explanation or warning.    Those with the mutation are subjected to all sorts of physical tests, almost to the point of torture.  

We see the events firsthand from several teenagers.  Laura, Alec and Dan are the young terrorists well aware of their powers that I'd described earlier.  Aubrey and Jack are old friends from the poor part of town.   Though they've grown apart with Aubrey's sudden popularity, they find each other the night that the military troops pick up their classmates and friends during the senior prom.  Aubrey is able to hide in plain sight. Jack seems to be unaffected by the virus.   When Jack is quarantined with the infected teens, Aubrey attempts to free him.   The military authorities call on Jack, Aubrey, and some of their fellow prisoners to help counter the teenage terrorists.  

Jack and Aubrey are the more interesting characters in Blackout.  Unpopular because of their families' poverty, they're both personable and good looking. They're loyal, decent, and willing to risk themselves for each other and to forgo money and power.  Aubrey and Jack aren't particularly suspicious or worldly wise though, so I spent much time wondering when and how they'd suffer betrayal.  Blackout is a fun read but ends with much unresolved - we have to wait for the next installment.

0062026127 - Hardcover 
Publisher: HarperTeen (October 1, 2013), 432 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher and the Amazon Vine Reviewer Program.

About the Author:
Robison Wells lives in Holladay, UT.  He is also the author of Variant and Feedback.  Visit him online at and follow him on Twitter @robisonwells

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