Author: Gregg Rosenblum
Genre: YA, sci-fi, dystopia, killer robots, urban fantasy
Publication Date: January 8, 2013 (HarperTeen – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided ARC/Edelweiss review copy
Summary: Twenty years ago, the robots designed to fight our wars abandoned the battlefields. Then they turned their weapons on us.
Only a few escaped the robot revolution of 2071. Kevin, Nick, and Cass are lucky —they live with their parents in a secret human community in the woods. Then their village is detected and wiped out. Hopeful that other survivors have been captured by bots, the teens risk everything to save the only people they have left in the world—by infiltrating a city controlled by their greatest enemies.
☆: 1/5 stars – a very disappointing semi-copycat of “Terminator” for the YA set.
Review: Oh boy. Where to start? This was a pretty big disappointment me for me, guys. In pretty much all areas. If you know me, you’ll know that not only am I a huge “Terminator” fan, I’m also a huge “Homeland” fan. And considering this was concocted by not only the author and the creator of “Homeland”, it makes this a double disappointment. Yet, somehow, I’m not surprised this is a packaged TV deal, and I can easily see it doing well in a YA TV-aimed market. However, what I found inside was not only a bad “Terminator”-esque story, but a whole lot of other things that I feel like sci-fi, regardless if it’s YA or adult, have been dead horses beaten even deader than they were before. If you’re looking for something new or original with “Revolution 19”, you may want to look elsewhere. The only really positive thing I can say about this book is that it might get young YA into sci-fi, which is always a good thing.
Let’s start with the worldbuilding: anyone familiar with the “Terminator” franchise will know the robots turn against their creators trope of sci-fi is one that’s now kind of a standard thanks to James Cameron. Unforuntately, “Revolution 19” also uses this concept, with the “terrifying” addition of cities where humans are taken to be “re-educated” and if that doesn’t work, death. There are also ships that fly that are curiously like the Hunter/Killers from the “Terminator” franchise that kill humans from the sky if they get too close for comfort. So much of this is ripped from one of my favorite sci-fi works of all time that it’s painful. But here’s the best part: there are no terrifying, flesh-melting and oh my god they’re metal inside androids. The robots trying to destroy the rest of the human race if they can’t pacify them are closer to Wall-E (yes, you heard me right, that adorable little dude).
What? Yes, you heard me. Giant Wall-Es, cuddly as can be, trying to destroy the rest of humanity.
Aside from that, there’s a journey aspect, very Tolkien-esque, to go get their parents back from a city that, if they don’t submit to, will pretty much eat them alive. I thought by that part of the book I’d be pretty fascinated. But I wasn’t.
From the jump, the writing was incredibly flat. No sense of sensory imagery and language, only a vague framing of a hidey-hole where one of the last bastions of free humanity (though we don’t know how many of those are left). There wasn’t even a Resistance-like area set up! Humanity is literally hanging on by its fingernails. I was actually kind of disgusted at how tame they’d become. I was actually starting to root for the robots on this one.
There was no kind of characterization or definite worldbuilding, and all of the characters felt very 1D, not even 2D. It all felt very colorless, very flat, and I got bored, fast.
So, guys, I can honestly say that there was nothing that really caught my eye here. I can’t really recommend “Revolution 19”, but that’s just me. “Revolution 19” will be out from HarperTeen on January 8, 2013 in North America, so check it out then, and let me know what you think.