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Saturday, June 21, 2014

[ARC REVIEW] Blackout by Madeleine Henry


Author: Madeleine Henry
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Darkness trilogy, Book 1
Publication date: June 21st 2014
Purchase from: Amazon

One wall divides life from darkness. After the worldwide Blackout, America built a concrete wall—the Frontier—across the middle of the nation to isolate its precious electricity in the top half. Everyone below the Frontier was forsaken, and now only a few survive in the grim region known as the Dark Zone.

Sixteen year old Phoenix Troublefield endures the dark with his girlfriend, Star Windsong. When America announces that it will trade electricity for immigrants, Phoenix and Star sacrifice themselves for the power that might save her younger brother. On the other side of the Frontier, they find America is not what they expected, and instead they are thrown into a shocking and deeply personal contest that threatens to destroy their love. When the chance comes to escape back into the Dark Zone, it may already be too late.

I received an ARC of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Powerful and engaging. Blackout takes dystopia to a new level and gives the readers a story reminiscent of Kiera Cass's The Selection (but with more blood). This is one new series to watch out for.

Imagine a day without electricity. No lights. No gadgets. No machines. No electronics. No heat. Unthinkable, right? Welcome to Phoenix Troublefield's life. Except it's a thousand times worse because he's been living in darkness ALL HIS LIFE. And no daylight either because the solar flare that caused the worldwide Blackout sixty-seven years ago also left the sky covered with jet-black clouds, plunging the world into perpetual darkness. Life basically sucks in the Dark Zone, so what do you do? Here's what: You survive.

And that's what I like best about the main character, Phoenix. He's a survivor. He's not a character you get to like at first sight. He's angry and rough but he does what he needs to survive. And he's damn good at it. He doesn't only provide for his own family, but for his girlfriend's, too. Speaking of Star, I think she's one hell of a liability for Phoenix. She's too soft and doesn't have the sense of self-preservation needed to survive in the Dark Zone. I don't think she could've survived without Phoenix.

But wait til you see them on the other side of the Frontier. The Carnival changed these characters into something more. I love the character development. Phoenix meets new people and I think it helped change the way he sees things. Star's change is astounding. The kind and timid girl transformed into an aggressive player who will do what it takes to win The Carnival and provide electricity for her family.

The other characters are worth mentioning, too. Elektra and Tinder are actually my favorite characters although they're totally opposites. Elektra is feisty and smart and cool, while I admire Tinder's innocence and sincerity.

I also liked the world-building. The Dark Zone is as grim as it gets, while in the other side of the Frontier, people are practically wasting electricity. I like this contrast between the two settings and how the characters acted in both. I also think The Carnival is a very unique contest to be in. Honestly, when I read that the chosen DZs will compete in a game, I thought, "Oh no, not another Hunger Games." Good thing, it's very different from THG, but still a really good dystopian tale.

The twists and turns are also unexpected and will put you on the edge of your seats. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, too. But it's not a cliffhanger that will frustrate you but one that will carry you on until the next book. Practically screaming for book two here!

Madeleine Henry was born and raised in New York. This spring, she graduated from Yale University and began her adult life in New York City.

Madeleine majored in psychology and wrote her senior essay on the extreme popularity of the Twilight book series. In college, she also ran a marathon and had a brief but enthusiastic stint as a stand-up comedienne.

BLACKOUT is Madeleine's first book. Parts of the story are drawn from two weeks she spent foraging for food and water in desert Utah while enrolled in a survival skills field course. She has since recovered.

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Julie @ Books and Insomnia

Julie is a Filipina blogger who pretends she has insomnia so she can stay up late reading. When she's not buried in books, she can be found watching anime, drinking chocolate-flavored instant coffee, lurking on the internet, daydreaming and talking about herself in third person. She loves purple and anything sweet!

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