Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: Blackbird

Blackbird (Blackbird duology, book one)
By Anna Carey
Expected publication September 16, 2014 by HarperTeen

Waking up with no memory of who she is, a girl quickly becomes involved in a deadly chase. What happened to her memories? What is the significance of the strange tattoo on her wrist? Who can she trust?

I watch Tea Time with Epic Reads occasionally (though not often, as it airs when I'm working) and usually, it's a terrible idea. I mean that mostly because it usually leads to the rapid growth of my TBR pile. This book was getting some buzz from the Tea Time ladies, so when I spotted the e-galley available, I wanted to have it.

I am very much in favor of unique perspectives in fiction, so this book being written in second person definitely appealed to me. I think I've only read a couple other books with that perspective and it seems like it's generally saved for "Choose Your Own Adventure" style stories. The second person perspective is definitely a risk - if it doesn't pull you completely in, it will just feel inauthentic and gimmicky. With this book, I think it works decently well, though I didn't always understand the chapters that Carey chose to tell from a different perspective - those chapters really break the flow of the narrative and quickly pull you out of the action.

My major problems with this book are twofold: first, it's wildly unbelievable. Almost nothing that happens reads like something I could see happening - not the quick thinking decision to flatten herself on the tracks, nor the lengths to which Ben goes to protect her, nor the notion that she is being hunted in the middle of Los Angeles and no one knows it. Yes, suspension of disbelief is necessary for the enjoyment of a great amount of fiction, but for a book that seems to take place in our very real world, this just didn't work for me.

Second, there are no answers in this volume. Before I started, I didn't realize this was book one of a duology - I expected a self-contained story. So, as I barrelled toward the end of my page count, it became very clear and very frustrating that the answers I'd been waiting for were not going to appear. Yes, we find out vague details of the overarching mystery, but the majority of our questions remain unanswered. What does the tattoo mean? What do the memory flashes mean? Why has Ben been helping? It's supremely disappointing to be left in almost the exact same level of knowledge as when I started the book.

Readers looking for an action-packed thrill ride with a unique narrative might enjoy this read - if they can bear waiting for the answers in book two.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.

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