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Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum

Revolution 19
Gregg Rosenblum
Harper Teen
Format: ARC
Source: pub
Twenty years ago, the robots designed to fight our wars abandoned the battlefields. Then they turned their weapons on us.
Only a few escaped the robot revolution of 2071. Kevin, Nick, and Cass are lucky —they live with their parents in a secret human community in the woods. Then their village is detected and wiped out. Hopeful that other survivors have been captured by bots, the teens risk everything to save the only people they have left in the world—by infiltrating a city controlled by their greatest enemies.
Revolution 19 is a cinematic thriller unlike anything else. With a dynamic cast of characters, this surefire blockbuster has everything teen readers want—action, drama, mystery, and romance. Written by debut novelist Gregg Rosenblum, this gripping story shouldn’t be missed.

I went into Gregg Rosenblum's Revolution 19 expecting some intense Terminator meets I, Robot meets Battlestar Galactica craziness, but what I got was a bit less intense and cinematic and more middle-grade-ish over-the-top (in a good, fun way) sci-fi. Was I a little disappointed with this book? Yes, but I did walk away from it thoroughly entertained and liked it much more than I didn't like it...if that makes any sense at all.

Siblings Nick, Kevin, and Cass have lived their whole lives in a hidden and secluded community in the woods away from the big city and the robots. Robots that man built to fight their wars have turned on their creators and have taken over. When the safe haven in the woods is discovered by the robots, Nick; Kevin; and Cass must travel to the terrifying city and face the robots in order to save the people they love. Along the way, they make new friends, experience new things (some scary, some surprising), and discover that things may not be at all what they seem.

Revolution 19 is a quick, fun read. Is this the “blockbuster epic” that the blurb promises? No, but it does have its thrilling and captivating moments. The story may not have blown my mind or break any new sci-fi ground, but it did keep me entertained and intrigued.

The story has the potential to be grand and complex, but it never quite gets there. Rosenblum has certainly created and offered the inklings of a fascinating and exciting history of his sci-fi/dystopian setting, but the world-building never feels complete or intricate enough. I found the idea of these robot soldiers turned leaders and the rebel revolutions to be super cool and interesting; I just wish the story had something more (more world-building, more oomph, more substance, more action). I had hoped for a more edge-of-your-seat cinematic landscape and experience, but I didn't hate the story offered by any means.

The story isn't wildly unpredictable, but does have some great twists and turns. And the sci-fi elements may not be super original, but they are presented in some enthralling and refreshing ways. The story doesn't lack humor either, which I really liked. I do think the overall story and its characters come off more upper middle-grade than young adult and may have been better off if it were originally conceived with that tween audience in mind. Older readers may find the overall story hard to fall into or believe, and find themselves distracted by a lack of complete world-building or some instances of illogical explanation. But I think MG readers will find the sci-fi elements and dashes of romance and adventure to create the right amount of fun, excitement, and intrigue. As for me, I quickly put my own expectations aside and really just went with the story and once I did, I was able to enjoy it much more.

I found the main characters to be likable enough, but I didn't fall in love with them. I think younger readers will like that each of the main characters offers a unique and likable personality to relate to. The relationship between the three siblings is surprisingly moving. And I actually really enjoyed the very sweet romances and flirtations sprinkled in. I would have liked a more in-depth look at the robotic “villains” though.

The books concludes in a satisfying (if a bit cheesy) cliffhangery way, but definitely left me eager for more.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Revolution 19 may not have turned out how I expected and hoped it would, but that didn't keep it from entertaining me overall and I would definitely read a sequel. Readers looking for a quick, uncomplicated sci-fi read will find much to like about this book. A worthwhile read!


Purchase Revolution 19
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Gregg Rosenblum 
Gregg Rosenblum works at Harvard, where he wages epic battles against technology as an editor/webmaster/communications/quasi-IT guy. He graduated from UC San Diego and has an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. He lives in Boston with his wife and daughter.

1 comment:

Michelle @ In Libris Veritas said...

I keep hearing that it's more suited for MG readers, which is fine since I enjoy it as well. However I just wish that the little synopsis would be more true to the book. It does sound like a good book though and I'm glad you enjoyed it, I'll probably wait on this one.