Series: Blackbird Duology #1
Published by Harper Teen on September 16th, 2014
Genres: mystery-thriller, young adult
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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.
Yes, Blackbird is told in second person. I know that doesn’t work for some readers–and it usually doesn’t for me either–but it’s done really well. I actually didn’t even truly notice it was in second person until I read a couple status updates on Goodreads–that’s how seamlessly it flows. I think when this point of view is done well, it can really bring the reader close to the narrative. Because YOU are the protagonist. YOU are the one being chased and shot at. If it works, it makes it hard to breathe because you are very involved in the story. I was like that for most of this book.
But it also creates a problem. With pacing so breakneck, with tension so high, the reader really needs a release. And unfortunately, I didn’t get it. The ending of Blackbird left me feeling underwhelmed. Sorry for the following analogy, but it was like really good sex without the happy ending.
Also, I have to note…I KNOW this book is based on a short story that I read in literature class. I loved that short story but for the life of me I cannot remember the name. If you know what I am talking about, please leave me a comment, I am begging you.
Back to the review though, the characters were developed enough but I didn’t find any of them particularly memorable. I know if I do decide to read the sequel (this is a duology), I will have to refresh my memory on the characters because I have already forgotten almost everything about them and it’s only been two days. The protagonist, Sunny, is kind of a generic YA character, and I think the reason I never really got to know her is because she has no background, she doesn’t know who she is, and because of the second person POV, I am supposed to be her so the details are missing. I was fine with this, I guess, but I would have liked the rest of the characters to stand out then, and they just didn’t. I feel like this book would have been better without a love interest. Do we need a love interest in everything YA? Guys and girls can just be friends. I just don’t feel it added anything to the story. Let a thriller be a thriller, please.
The book starts off with a bang with this nameless girl waking up on the subway train tracks in Los Angeles. For the record, I didn’t even know LA HAD a subway. From there there’s a lot of running, hiding, and Sunny trying to figure our who she is and why people are chasing her. Supposedly there is this experimental drug that makes her forget who she is, and that part of the story I didn’t buy at all because there was no research, no depth, and it was just tossed out there with no explanation and we were just expected to believe it.
SO why three stars? Because I loved the first half of the book. Honestly I think this would have been better as a standalone instead of a duology because this felt like half of a book. I know YA books are supposed to be a certain length and all (according to publishers) but I don’t always agree with that decision and Blackbird was one of those cases. I just need some answers at the end. You don’t have to give me ALL of them but I need some, and this book just felt unfinished. It wasn’t even really a cliffhanger per se; I have no idea how to explain it. You’ll have to see for yourself if you choose to read it.
But I can assuredly say one thing: wait until both books are out in stores before you start this.