Imagine a group of teenage terrorists with unnatural powers at their disposal. Now imagine a pair of teens caught in the crossfire, teens completely unaware they, too, have such powers.
Welcome to the world of Blackout. Following a trio of teenage terrorists and a pair of unsuspecting teens sent to a guarded camp, author Robison Wells shows us the possible national consequences when teenagers with special powers decide to attack the United States from within.
The novel opens on a scene in which three teen terrorists are preparing to take down the Glen Canyon Dam. This hook gripped me quickly, and while the premise of teens with superpowers has been done before, the terrorist take makes this book truly unique.
Alec, Laura, and Dan are American terrorists working against their own country. The story takes place in a modern-day world that’s quickly reacting to the recent U.S. terrorism outbreak.
Aubrey has long known she’s invisible, but she never imagined so many other teens could be carrying the so-called ‘virus’ inflicting them with strange abilities. When her first Prom ends with her date turning into a monster and being shot by the military, Aubrey finds comfort only in Jack, an old friend. Aubrey’s dad turns them in to the military where they’re trained to work with the United States Green Berets. Their targets are terrorists like Alec, Laura, and Dan.
When Laura infiltrates one of the military camps, passing herself off as a willing soldier, she soon teams with Jack and Aubrey. Little do they know what Laura really has in mind once she gets them to help her find Dan.
Aubrey is probably the character who undergoes the most change in this novel. Starting out awkward and a bit self-loathing, she discovers an inner strength that helps her when the time comes to join the Green Berets.
Jack feels a bit flat; as he is an old friend who wishes Aubrey hadn’t taken to ignoring him for so long in high school. While he also becomes an adequate soldier, it doesn’t feel like he has a definitive arc.
The three terrorists have a common goal, but the only kind of motive mentioned for their actions is the implication that Alec’s mother and Dan’s mother were killed, and these terrorist acts are being committed in their honor.
The teens that populate these pages boast such superpowers as the ability to plant false memories, strength, hyper-sensitive senses, invisibility, and the ability to gain favor in another’s eyes. This makes for some exciting action scenes that don’t tend to run too long or too short; they’re just right.
The pacing is fast without making the reader short of breath. The attack scenes, for the most part, feel organic to the plot. You won’t find many cases where the author threw in an action scene just because the book was getting slow.
With a twist ending which could lead to more books, but also lets this read as an action-packed standalone, Blackout is ideal for fans of Variant, Feedback, and stories featuring teens coming to terms with extraordinary abilities.
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