Review: Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum

Review: Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum
Revolution 19
Revolution 19 #1
by Gregg Rosenblum

Genres: Action, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publication date: January 8, 2013
by Harperteen

Format: eARC


Amazon | Book Depository

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.

Revolution 19 is a cinematic thriller unlike anything else. With a dynamic cast of characters, this surefire blockbuster has everything teen readers want—action, drama, mystery, and romance. Written by debut novelist Gregg Rosenblum, this gripping story shouldn’t be missed.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve had my fair share of post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories. There’s nothing better (aside from zombies, that is…) than reading heroes and heroines entangled in a messed-up system and society and their struggle to liberate themselves from it. But you know, after reading a lot of such books, you come to the realization that many of these novels almost always have the same elements, and it has become difficult to find something truly original and creative. And then comes Revolution-19. It has robots. Robots who freakin’ pushed the psycho button and turned agains their creators. The first time I read the blurb, I imagined hundreds of Terminator-like metal beings walking about and frigate and cruiser planes whooshing in the deep yellow-orange hue sky as it overshadowed the black, barren lands… yeah…

If you’re wondering, no, Revolution-19 isn’t like what I just described at all. I’d describe Revolution-19 as something “that could have been much more”. While it boasts creativity in its setting, the lack of world building and characterization made it hard for me to truly like this book. I think it’s a general rule that if you’re writing about a dystopian world, the book needs to have a reasonable amount of description attributed to the construction of the new world and society. To be honest, throughout the book, I found it hard to imagine what kind of environment the events were taking place. The world-building was so minimal that it felt as if it didn’t exist.

I mean, for starters, what did the Freepost look like? How about the City where remnants of a civilization still thrived? How come later in the book there’s a City 64 and then a City 73 in the same city? There are many questions and loopholes that can be found here, questions that should have been answered beforehand, questions that contribute nothing to the “mystery” the blurb claims, questions that would have been non-existent if the world-building was written better. There’s nothing wrong with the style per se, and I reckon it would work with particular kinds of stories, but not here. Not here, nope.

The characters – Nick, Kevin and Cass – lacked depth as well. The story, unfortunately, did not give me many chances to truly emphatize and relate with the three siblings. As a group, they were charming and an awesome bunch. They showed they cared for each other despite the petty arguments here and there, and they showed how teamwork can go a long, long way. But individually, they were plain, dull, and very one-tracked. I found it hard to relate to any of them due to the lack of internal narration. Sure, Kevin was a tech savvy, Nick was supposed to be the brawns, and Cass I guess somewhere in between x_x, but so what? What else? I didn’t get to know about any of them intimately. This saddens me a little bit because I know they could have been interesting characters if they were just given more depth, and a little more insight to what they really felt. The story would tell us that Cass was feeling like this and Kevin was feeling like that, but it would not show us how they were feeling it. Because of this, they appeared somewhat simple-minded, when I know for sure they could have been more complex than that.

I also found a lot of awkward scenes… like for example, a romance that suddenly sprung out of nowhere between Nick and another character. They hardly interacted intimately and only flirted a few times, but near the climax, the kissed like they were a couple never going to see each other again. The reactions of certain characters felt forced as well, and tensions were not executed properly. An example would be a certain female character telling her parents she was going to do something risky, and the dialogue that transpired from that felt uncomfortable to read because the pace just seemed unnatural.

Despite all of these, though, I did enjoy it somehow. There are no terminator-like beings strutting about, and the robots presented may be laughable, but it gets brownie points for being creative. I still stand by with what I said that it could have been much more, and I hope the next book will be better than this. Thankfully, the ending indicated of a more formidable foe than the ridiculous sphere bots, so I’m looking forward to how the next book will be continued. For now, however, 3 stars.

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A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena


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  1. says

    I love this kind of dystopian story but I hate when what could have been a great book turns out to be so so. When I read the blurb I was like “oh, yeah! I’m reading this” but after reading your review I’m not sure anymore.

    • says

      You may still like it, though. But if you’re into intricate world building and a lot of character depth, I recommend proceeding with caution. Otherwise, it’s fine. =))

  2. says

    I’m still deciding whether I should get this book. A lot of the bloggers I’m following (obviously, including you) have similar comments and complaints. But, about the cover, so the girl isn’t a robot? Is she the main character?

    • says

      I don’t think the cover is a girl at all. Haha. It looks like one, but it has a green eye, and Nick was the one who was given a green eye by the bots to replace his blind one. :/ So, yeah, I’m confused as well… it looks like a girl, but after reading the story, I’m not as sure now.