Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blackout

Blackout. Connie Willis. 2010. Random House. 495 pages.

Colin tried the door, but it was locked. 

I thought I'd start with a word of warning. When you get to the end of Blackout, you're going to NEED to have a copy of All Clear ready to go. Because, chances are, you're going to want to pick it up right away. There is no 'real' ending in Blackout. There is no resolution. There's no peace to be had. Usually I might say that's not such a positive thing in a book, but in this case, I'm forgiving.

You might also find it helpful to know that Blackout can be read as part of a series of time travel books by Connie Willis. The books share some characters: Mr. Dunworthy is in Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Blackout, and All Clear. Although he is only a main character in Doomsday Book. Badri is in Doomsday Book and Blackout. Finch is in Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog. Colin is in Doomsday Book, Blackout, and All Clear. Verity and Kindle are in To Say Nothing of the Dog, but are mentioned (very) briefly in Blackout.

But you should also know that it's not essential that all of these books be read in order. It is definitely essential that you read Blackout and All Clear in the proper order. But you don't have to have read Doomsday Book or To Say Nothing of the Dog in order to enjoy or appreciate Blackout/All Clear.

There are three main characters--three main narrators--in Blackout. Each is a historian, a time traveler. Each has plans for multiple assignments in the twentieth century. Each is experiencing frustration as these drops are rearranged and rescheduled. The historians are Merope who is 'observing' the evacuation of children from London to the country. She 'becomes' Eileen O'Reilly and works as a nurse or maid in one of the homes. Under her care are two very, very wild children. Of course, she's responsible for more than two children. Her employer has taken in many children--over a dozen, I think? But those two are the ones that make her life more than a little unpleasant. Her assignment is for the spring of 1940. Polly "Sebastian" is a historian observing the London Blitz in the fall of 1940. Her assignment has her working in a shop on Oxford Street. She is curious in observing how the Blitz effects people. How they are able to cope with the bombs falling over their heads. How they are able to cope with the terror of it all--knowing each and every night that they could die. The third historian is Michael Davies. Since he was supposed to observe Pearl Harbor first, he's got an implant to give him an American accent. But with the shuffling of assignments, he's now observing the Dunkirk evacuation in June 1940. His research has him observing heroes. He's looking to observe the qualities that make someone brave and heroic, what makes a person risk their lives to save others.

If all went according to plan, these three would NOT have met--in the past. Their assignments in 1940 would not have overlapped in time or place. But not all went according to plan...and now these three are going to need each very, very much if they're going to survive...

Read Blackout
  • If you are a fan of historical fiction set during World War II
  • If historical details fascinate you 
  • If you are interested in the London Blitz  
  • If you are a fan of historical fiction set in Britain
  • If you are a fan of science fiction and/or time travel
  • If you are looking for an extremely compelling read
  • If you're looking for an intense read; something very dramatic
  • If you are a fan of Connie Willis
  • If you read Doomsday Book and are interested in finding out what happens to Colin when he grows up...
  • If you're looking for memorable characters 
  • If you are a fan of Agatha Christie and other mystery writers of the time 
  • If you want a book you just CAN'T put down no matter what 
I loved this one. I just LOVED it. It was so intense, so dramatic, so emotional. It just held my attention. I cared about these characters so much! And to see them in danger, well, I just couldn't stand to put this book down!!!

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

4 comments:

Kailana 2:32 PM  

I really want to read this book at some point.

SiMo85 6:58 AM  

Hi Becky, I don't leave many comments but I always read your blog! I've given you a little prize because your blog is really beautiful and useful. http://dreaminglifebooks.blogspot.com/2012/01/versatile-blogger-award.html

I know it is written in Italian, but I wrote the comment to your "nomination" in English and, if you're interested, I leave you the rules:
- create a post on your blog;
- write 7 things about you;
- give the prize to 15 other blogs.

Bye, bye! ^_^
Simo

Elizabeth 10:12 PM  

I'm reading Doomsday Book right now (so good!) and now I can't wait to continue with the rest of these.

Laura Fabiani 6:38 PM  

Once again your great review has me wanting to read Connie Willis so badly! Thanks for linking to the Time Travel Challenge page.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

The background is based on a background I found here...with some small adjustments on my part so it would work with the template.
Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP