Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: Revolution 19 - Gregg Rosenblum

Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum
Series: Revolution 19 #1
Genre: YA, dystopian, futuristic, science fiction
Published on January 8, 2013
Published by Harper Teen
Pages: 265
Read From: 5.9.13 - 5.10.13

Twenty years ago, the robots designed to fight our wars abandoned the battlefield. Then they turned their weapons on us. 

Headstrong seventeen-year-old Nick has spent his whole life in a community in the wilderness, hiding out from the robots that have enslaved mankind. But when the bots discover the community's location, he, his tech-geek younger brother, Kevin, and adopted sister, Cass, barely make it out alive - only to discover that their home has been destroyed and everyone they love is missing. 
All survivors were captured and taken to one of the robots' Cities. The siblings have been hearing tales about the Cities all their lives - humans are treated like animals, living in outdoor pens and forced to build new bots until their drop dead from exhaustion. Determined to find out if their parents are among the survivors, Nick, Kevin, and Cass venture into the heart of the City, but it is nothing like they've been told. 
As they live among the bots for the first time, they realize they're fighting for more than just their family. The robots have ruled for too long, and now it's time for a revolution.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? As much as I dislike staring covers, for a book like this, a cover that creeps me out is totally suitable. The one thing I don't like is the person on the cover is clearly a girl, and Nick is the one who gets the cyborg eye.

Characters: I wouldn't say that the cast of Revolution 19 is my absolute favorite group ever, because they're not. In truth, Nick, Kevin, Cass, and even Lexi and Farryn have pretty basic personalities. They're not as bad as being cardboard cutouts; they're just not complicated. Kevin is the techy guy, Nick is the older brother trying to protect his siblings, and Cass keeps her brothers sensible like a good sister (or at least tries to). And she's an artist. Lexi is their "inside help" and the girl looking for adventure, while Farryn is another tech guy who at first starts out as someone who only helps the protagonists so long as there is something in it for him, but deep down he really is a good guy. There's practically no character development in the fact that no one has any real changes in personality, but I liked the characters well enough the way they were. And I'll admit - the characters are not this story's strong point. Nor are they its weak point; it's just average. None of the cast offended me, and I actually grew to really like Lexi and Farryn after a while, but I wouldn't tag any of them as all-time favorites. They suited the needs of the story, and I was all right with that.

The Romance: There is, of course, a bit of romance. But no love triangles! And for the most part, Lexi's attraction to Nick and Farryn's flirtation with Cass doesn't get all that terribly annoying. It's there long enough to let the Reader know that there's feelings there, but it mostly takes backseat to the rest of the story. But while I didn't find it annoying, I also didn't think it was necessary to the plot. Lexi and Farryn could have cared about Nick and Co. without involving mushies. My overall opinion, though, is oh well - it didn't annoy me, there isn't a love triangle, and it's a pretty straightforward, non-complicated romance.

Plot: Far in the future, humans have built robots to fight new bloodless wars. But the robots have rebelled and turned on their creators, determined (according to robot propaganda) to "keep humans from destroying themselves." They've massacred thousands, and those humans they've let live are incarcerated in Cities run by the bots, where they live out their days at peaceful, obedient citizens who can't leave - or they'll be sent to the re-education center. Or executed. But there are several secret bands of people who have carved a living in the wilderness, at places called Freeposts. Nick, Kevin, and Cass live at Freepost 19, and when the bots discover and raid their Freepost, the three siblings have to travel to the nearest City and free their parents, before the bots destroy them permanently. With the help of Lexi and Farryn, the three struggle to hide in the City, but Nick is a wanted criminal after destroying a scout bot, and unlike the rest of the Citizens, they aren't chipped. But they have to break into the re-education center before it's too late. No, the bots are not scary. I have never found robots scary. People are fare more frightening to me, so I didn't go into this book expecting to be alarmed by the bots. I read this book for the world and the plot, and I was not disappointed. I enjoyed reading about Nick, Kevin, and Cass trying to find their parents, and I enjoyed reading about the world they inhabit. Sometimes I wanted to yell at the characters, because they often acted without thinking. It was always with the best intentions, but the lack of communication between the siblings got a little aggravating, and a lot of their escapes seemed a little too lucky. And I will also admit that for being in such a dangerous place, the siblings really didn't act all that scared. They weren't cautious enough for people who were afraid of being caught, and neither did Lexi. They ran around the City with hardly a notice, and when the bots did notice them, they got away just soon enough and weren't ever traced back to their hideout. Still, the overall plot was interesting enough to keep me engaged, especially when Nick ends up in the re-education center.

Believability: This is what clenched my good opinion. The bots' City was one of the more convincing totalitarian regimes I've read in Young Adult fiction. Citizens who were not good members of the society were automatically snatched and sent to the re-education center, where they were either brainwashed back into being good Citizens, or they were executed. All of the buildings were bland, concrete blocks, creativity was not encouraged, while informing on one's neighbors was, and there were secret police-like neighborhood patrols. The bots didn't hesitate to kill people, and while there were fences and gates, that's easily explained with the chips. The bots know where everyone is at all times, so the Citizens can't leave, and if they try, they're executed. And we're not just told this; we're shown. The re-education center is also properly cruel. Very harsh punishments, executions used as examples, frequent torture, complete brainwashing. It worked very well; the one thing that really bothered me was the fact that everyone got their own house. They didn't have to share their house with a bunch of other families.

Writing Style: It isn't anything special. The slang is little, but annoying Why the Author just couldn't call them lasers instead of some lame term like "lases" is beyond me, and I never did catch what the slang term "fletch" meant exactly. I will give him props for this: he didn't spell "tech" with a "k." But a lot of times, the writing was a bit sloppy with lots of short, choppy sentences. So, no, the writing style was not this book's strong point.

Content: 1 g--damn.

Conclusion: To be honest, it was too easy almost to a point of being unbelievable. Cheers to Kevin for inventing that awesome invention - that wasn't my issue. My issue was how easy it was to break into the central building - a place that essentially works as all of the bots' mother computer. I think their security would be a lot tighter; not just a simple chip scan. But I have to admit that I am intrigued to know what exactly the bots are doing. Clearly, bettering mankind is not their real mission. So what is it? Guess that's the purpose of the sequel! Revolution 19 is perhaps not the strongest book when it comes to writing style or characters, but I loved the world, and that is what made this book as good as it was, in my opinion. It beat out a lot of the totalitarian regimes in these really popular dystopian novels by miles. The bots were not scary, the slang - however slight - is annoying, and there is no character development. But the world is solid.

Recommended Audience: Guy-read, fifteen-and-up, fans of science fiction, dystopian, and futuristic novels.

Others in This Series:
1)Revolution 19
2)Fugitive X

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