Friday, 26 September 2014

Review: Blackbird

Publication Date: September 16th 2014           
Publisher: HarperTeen          
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

This twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.

A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her.

On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined.

The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists.

Blackbird, once you get to the end and realise what actually is going on, you figure out it's a little sick and twisted and...a little disturbing in a very human way. Let's call or main character Blackbird, shall we? She wakes up on the tracks with a train heading straight for her. She doesn't know who she is, and in the beginning, whether she's female or male. She doesn't know where she is, how she got there, what happened to her, etc, etc.

The whole thing about Blackbird is a mystery, as soon as she runs and leaves that station she knows something is wrong, she tries to lay low, figure out a few things that don't add up and doesn't make sense. She knows nothing about herself or what happened to her, but her instincts are sharp and she knows she's being followed. She decides to trust a boy she just met in a supermarket (as you do), he helps her, helps her to figure out who she is, what the tattoo on her wrist means, she quickly realises someone wants her dead and of course she doesn't know why. There's a lot of why's in Blackbird, and just as something's revealed you have more questions straight after it, it doesn't let you get comfortable, it keeps you on your toes and keeps you guessing to what is actually going on. You don't know who to trust, you second guess a lot of things and the connections they make.

The plot is similar to a Criminal Minds episode in season two (not saying which one because it will ruin everything and you know, spoiler), so it something that has been done before, but it's a total different experience to read than to watch it, it feels more raw and gritty that way, and Blackbird really isn't an exemption from that. It's intense and addicting. I did love the way it explored the darker side of humanity and morality without limitations, the things we can do to one another.
I do have a few issues with it though, the first one that everyone will probably have a problem with, is the narration. Blackbirds written in second person with a few other chapters that gives us a wider view of the players. Second person narration is something you either love or hate, and while It kept jarring me out of the story in the beginning, by half way I didn't even care. It's funny though, how a simple, you than me, I, she, it kept a barrier away and for that time I just couldn't see a character at all. When it's I or me and even she, you visualise that character as a person, and I just couldn't do that with second person. That being said, I don't think Blackbird would have had the same effect and impact if it was written a different way. It made it all that mysterious, and fitted for the story and eventually did give the character a voice.

My other issue with Blackbird was the ending, though you couldn't call it an issue really, it just ends on this not-quite cliffhanger, but not a conclusion either. So, I'm glad that there is another one because I would've been pissed, because while you did get some questions answered, with a few twists here and there along the way right up until the end when you thought it was safe, it didn't tie up all loose ends.

Blackbird is a fast paced thriller with a shocking plot reveal that's a little twisted and pushes boundaries of human morality.

Rating: 3.5/5