Confession: I’ve never seen The Terminator. You guys, I was raised in a household where we weren’t allowed to watch PG-13 movies until we were like 12 nor was I allowed to watch movies that were rated R. Like I did not see an R-rated movie until I was in 8th grade. I KNOW. So, while all the comparisons to The Terminator were floating around for Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum, I was like hmmm sounds interesting based on my pop culture second hand knowledge of the film. But to be frank with you, I will read anything with revolution in the title aimed at young adults — especially if it is short and has robots. Unfortunately, Revolution 19 kind of failed to meet my expectations.
Revolution 19 opens with a prologue where robots kill everyone. So basically, it starts off on a cool note. We come to a group of refugees and a dog, and the robots are like only this many people can come into our camp, and so they kill these two parents leaving a baby, and the baby is adopted into the refugee group. THEN the book flashes forward a few years. The refugee group has assimilated with other survivors to form a community called a Freepost, which is hidden from the bots. Nick, Kevin, and Cass were the three children in the group of refugees mentioned at the beginning — they are basically a family even though Cass’s parents died. ANYWAYS. So, Kevin is 13 and really into technology and super annoying. So, he picks this piece of technology off the ground and ends up bringing the bots down on everyone. Nick, Kevin and Cass run away and discover they must go to the mysterious City to save those they love.
I’m clearly having brain block right now, so I’m sorry that my review isn’t the most well written, but hey at least you’re getting information about the book and my opinions, hurrah! Okay, so Nick is the leader of the trio because he is the oldest. He’s old enough to sit in on adult councils. OH and he is rational. AND it turns out he is the City’s Most Wanted and apparently good looking? Then there’s Kevin who loves taking machines apart to see how they work and doesn’t give a crap about plants or surviving or anything. Kevin is pretty stubborn and always has to be right and usually puts the group at risk instead of following the plan. He is incredibly irritating, as I mentioned above. As the only girl, Cass is very coordinated — like she’s athletic and she’s also artistic. And that’s honestly the most I got out of the characters – they had one defining trait and we didn’t get to go very much below the surface.
Robots rising against their human overlords is SUCH a cool concept, however, I need a reason why. And I want to know why near the beginning, not 50 pages from the end. Unfortunately, Revolution 19 is a poor execution of that idea. Legit, these kids run away from their Freepost after all hell breaks loose and they make a journey of three days to the City. You guys, those three days are barely given any attention. I wish the book would have expanded more on the teens survival, maybe even put some stakes in where I could feel invested in and worried about them as they are making the trek to the city. It was over in a flash, thus missing out on an opportunity to add excitement.
Typically I like short books, because I know there won’t be a lot of BS to cut through. However, I kind of thought that Revolution 19 should have been longer to allow for some character development. I thought with three main characters, we barely got to scratch the surface with them. The writing is very basic, I mean that’s not awful. Like, we don’t have purple prose or anything. But it also wasn’t the sort of writing where I am picking out my favorite quotes or dog earring the pages. It’s pretty much straight forward – you know this happened, character X though this, then they went here. That kind of thing, and for some readers that style works, but for me, I want something more.
So, I basically read Revolution 19 to cleanse my palate after the emotional roller coaster that is Boundless by Cynthia Hand because it was so different. I’ll admit, it served it’s purpose. It was entertaining and I thought the concepts involved were interesting. However, the execution was totally lacking and I just was kind of bored by the characters. I wish there had been higher stakes and more excitement — also more bad stuff, you know so I could feel something besides let’s get on with the story. Ah well, there’s an audience out there for Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum, but I am not among that number.
Disclosure: Received for Review
Other reviews of Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum:
WTF Are You Reading – “another case of a great premise lost in translation”
Once Upon A Twilight – “it just didn’t blow my mind like I had thought it would”
Panda Reads – “I thought it was a great post-apocalyptic robot read.”