Monday, October 5, 2015

Book Review: Blackout (Breakers 8) by Edward W. Robertson

 

A new ship hovers over the water, eyeing the Dunemarket and spreading an ominous electric charge throughout the city. Raina's tasked with preparing her people for a new war. Sebastian gives Ness a look "like he'd just stumbled into a mass grave." Lowell decides to flee with Randy. Walt steps out one last time to take down the second ship. In a world where people are scattered about and many aren't beholden to anything but their closest friends or family, even the most reluctant step up for a final stand against the Swimmers. Live or die, they're determined to show the Swimmers that they messed with the wrong planet.

The final installment of the Breakers series, Blackout brings together all of the familiar characters on the west coast in an effort to destroy the Swimmers once and for all. While they're all working toward the same goal under Raina's command, nothing is easy or goes according to plan, of course, and it throws the characters in different directions that requires them to take risks and go into the heart of danger. The novel wouldn't be complete without a fight aboard the new ship, Walt going rogue, or Raina coming two seconds from death. The final Breakers book gives readers everything they want and more, doing every character justice with an edge-of-your-seat pace we expect from Robertson's work.

One of the most interesting parts of the novel is the character development, especially with Raina. While Walt is Walt and Ness continues to run into danger while crapping his pants, Raina shows more range of emotion in Blackout than in any of the other novels. Where readers know the hard-nosed, odd-ball does what it takes to keep her people safe, you see the stress of the war begin to crack her hard exterior, and it only makes you root harder for her to succeed. Nothing's simple with our little firecracker though. Her worry, her pain, and her sorrow all simply fuel the fire behind her eyes. By the end of the book, Raina appears to be the fully rounded leader she should be to keep the Dunemarket safe and oversee her people during peaceful times. She lets that hard shell show wear while keeping a level head, proving once again why she is so respected by her people and why Mauser is right to attempt to keep her as safe as possible.

As action packed as Blackout is, it's easy to imagine that readers might have a hard time following the movement and layout of a rapidly changing fight. There were a couple of times, particularly when Raina's troops infiltrate alien walls, that some of the scale was hard to imagine. When there are so many walls, sometimes it's hard to envision who's doing what at this wall or that wall or simply referring to so many walls makes the reader pause to try to break down the scene visually. Overall, however, Robertson does a masterful job of keeping confrontations clear and moving at a quick pace. After all, it's our main characters that we're really worrying about and that means that sometimes their surroundings are less important than the fact that Swimmers are shooting at their heads, alien tanks are rolling forward, or fighter jets are lighting their path on fire. The action shines throughout the novel, and no big battle disappoints.

If you've never read Edward W. Robertson's Breakers series, you're missing out. Blackout is the final of 8 books that take readers around the world fighting Swimmers and each other. The series taps into the threat of outside invasion and the threat of humans with power. It makes readers think about how they would adapt to a world that must rebuild and wonder if they could be as brutal as necessary to survive. It takes you through heartache and loss as well as thrill and triumph. It's a truly wild ride, and in the end, Blackout brings it all together in a conclusion that would actually be satisfying if only readers weren't still begging for more.

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