18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2013
I love YA (young adult) sci-fi and dystopian books and blaze through them on a regular basis. I'm always on the lookout for another great YA read along the lines of The Hunger Games, the Delirium series, Starters, etc.
Revolution 19 looked like a great new title (just look at that beautiful cover with the eye implant!) and the book description sounded intriguing and interesting enough for me, an adult, to want to pursue. I jumped at the chance to snag an ARC (advance reader copy) and promptly sat down to devour what promised to be such an interesting story. Instead I had to force myself to finish it (a rarity for me!). It's what my husband and I call a "Wesley Crusher" story (if you remember the young man on Star Trek Enterprise who would amazingly save the day when all the brilliant adults around him couldn't) where the dumb kids save the stupid grown-ups and everything is fluffy and unbelievable along the way. Maybe whomever wrote the book jacket should have written the story. All of the great writing ends there.
Before I eviscerate the book, let me say upfront that the 10 year old in me liked it. Although I think this book is marketed at the YA audience, after reading it, I'd throw it into the very lowest age range of that category, specifically tweens or younger. If I was a kid and I didn't pick apart books yet (or expect much from them) and just want a fast paced story where the kids win and nothing is really scary (although we'll pretend it is) and I wasn't going to notice inconsistencies...then this book is perfect. If I was ten I'd give this book 5 enthusiastic stars and would be itching for the movie to come out. In fact, if they ever do make a movie out of this, it's one of the rare cases where I think the movie would be much better than the book.
Now, with that out of the way, it's time to tear the book apart. The story centers around a group of teens varying in age: Nick 17, Kevin 13 (almost 14!) , Cass 15 and later Lexi and some others. Although we have some older teens featured, they all feel flat and much younger. Nick, his brother Keven and their adopted sister Cass live in the wilderness to hide from the robots who've apparently turned on humanity and are rumored to enslave people in the cities. The first problem I had is that the community seems fairly well established and somehow the robots don't discover them (even though they throw out small bits of tech called chaff that people might pick up and take back to their camps for the purpose of locating them). In a bit you find out that the wilderness area turns out to be within walking distance of a city filled with robots. The robots are smart enough to run a city, enslave humans (as the rumor goes) and yet they can't find these pockets of people living within 2-3 days walking distance. Hmm.
After an attack by the robots (well I guess they found them after all!) the 3 siblings are left to fend for themselves in the woods when their parents don't show up at a designated "safe" area. The kids decide that must be due to the fact that their parents must have been captured by the robots and so they make the next logical decision - they must go into the city to save them!
The very first part of the story wasn't so grating. It had an interesting premise and I was still in the mode of giving the characters time to be fleshed out. However, right after the robots attacked, it started falling apart with juvenile, magically perfect scenarios that will appeal to younger readers but not the teens I think it was intended for.
The teens end up in the city and things aren't as they expected them to be. Humans are living peacefully alongside the robots. Things don't seem right...Ah, here is an opportunity for the book to redeem itself, as this new development could have been eery and interesting. Sorry to disappoint. The kids end up in a cafeteria and since they were hungry, decided to order food, nevermind they've never been in a cafeteria or restaurant before.
"Oh my God," said Kevin, looking through the menu. "You can get anything you want here."...."Chicken or steak or pizza or hot dogs or French fries...."
Hold on a sec. Here you have kids raised in the wilds who have never known anything but living in the forest and somehow they know what steak, pizza, hot dogs and French fries are?
They meet a girl (Lexi) who basically saves their rears after realizing they are "freemen"...complete with providing a disguise of a hat and sunglasses! From there they have all sorts of adventures like learning about the reeducation centers (another chance at being interesting but nope), getting fake chip implants, going to school (for one day) and so on.
It's so amazing how they also run into their parents and how these country bumpkins manage to think up an amazing (I'm being sarcastic) tech solution to defeating the robots! Wow! With all the intelligent adults living in the city, you'd think someone would have thought of that before! I won't spoil what happens. It's not really all that exciting though. Unless your ten. ;-) It's certainly not the "REVOLUTION" I had envisioned.
In the meantime we have a very juvenile romance (well not quite that but...they do have to slip a kiss in there don't they?) where one kiss is exchanged but there is no real relationship or anything complex. It felt like it was thrown in there for the twelve year olds.
The robots themselves (Peteys....such a scary name) are basically floating boxes with slits in their faces and lasers that shoot people. At the reeducation center there are robots that look more human...and even seem to sound human at times (another glimmer of hope that things might get good but no...).
I hate to tear this book apart because there WERE moments that were interesting or had a huge amount of potential. However, as a whole it was predictable, juvenile and unbelievable. I think the best part of the book was the very end in the epilogue!! Now that was interesting and perked my interested up again. Too bad it was only a few pages long and it certainly wasn't worth wading through the rest for! I wish that last element had been developed more somewhere in the story.
So, if you are an adult looking for your next YA fix, I'd not recommend Revolution. However, if you have a younger child into sci-fi or dystopians, Revolution might be a winner (hence the 3 star compromise). It's fast paced and pretends at being scary which might appeal to a younger tween not ready for a darker or more involved read.
Having said that, I'll now give the "mom" part of my review and mention any potential items of concern. The first is the cussing. There are quite a few instances and variations of d*mn as well as hell, God's name taken in vain, & bastard. There is one instance of kissing with mention of a girl's body pressed into the boy's chest. One of the characters suggests Cass draw a nude (she is going to exchange artwork, which is illegal, for the insertion of fake chips that would allow them to integrate into some parts of society) and there is mention of "homebrew" and pretending to be drunk in order to draw the attention of the bots.
Compared to some of the YA drek out there right now (like Beta), Revolution 19 is quite tame by comparison. I would hand it over to my 14 year old son without much concern.
Quick summary: I was very disappointed with Revolution 19. I felt like the beautiful cover was misleading (there is a girl with an implant featured on the cover and that is not the case in the book) and the book description didn't convey how bubble-gummy the story was going to be. While I think it could be a hit with younger kids, I don't think it will resonate with older readers, even the ones in the intended age group. The ending was enough to tempt me to read a sequel, should one come out, but only because that's the only part of the book fleshed out a small glimmer of great sci-fi promise. The rest of the book was simply a kiddie-romp that didn't flesh out its beautiful grown-up package.
*I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review - and no, I don't always give out good ones, LOL...I always write up my opinion good or bad! :-)*
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2013
Sometimes I feel that the people who take the time to review books only do so to find flaws. For all of these poor reviewers of Revolution 19, I ask how long did it take you to read this book? I personally couldn't put it down as I found myself drawn into the characters and story. My only disappointment is that I knew I would have to wait for the next chapter in this fascinating story.
This is a great read for Young Adults and Adults alike. It brought me back to reading, but finding myself watching a movie play out in my head which is the essence of sci-fi. I can't wait for the next book in this series and the movies which are sure to follow.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2013
Revolution 19 kind of blew me away. Not to say it was epic or anything like that, but I really loved it. When I read a story line like this, I need a lot of action, a gripping set of characters, and the right amount of detail to pull the story along - and Revolution 19 had exactly that and more. The story was fast-paced, intriguing, and riveting. I loved the characters, the three siblings and the other few teens they meet along the way are definitely fun and it was cool getting inside each of their heads (the main characters, that is).
If you know me and my reading preferences, you'll know I easily get bored when there's just too much detail in a book. I'm all for vivid imagery, but sometimes, it's just too much. Thankfully, Revolution 19 had the right amount where I could easily visual the story unfold in front of me, yet didn't get bogged down by all the frivolous details. It's a very short read, coming in at less than 300 pages, and I think it was that and the fact that there was a great deal of action-packed scenes that had me breezing through the book. I easily finished this in one night and was thoroughly entertained the entire time. The book captures you right from the start with the robots hunting down the humans and then you slowly start to see how life is after that, as told through the eyes of these three siblings - Nick, Cass, and Kevin. I really enjoyed how the plot progressed, and every so often there would be an action scene to get me all excited, which I loved. I was always eager to know what would happen next.
An array of personalities makes up this cast of characters as you see Nick, the eldest of the three and my favorite. He's definitely the one I felt for the most, having to care of his siblings and basically be their leader while they searched for their loved ones. He's not much of a planner, but he's very logical and I easily related to him and felt for this character. Cass is the sister and is surprisingly an athlete. Things like sports and anything physical comes naturally to her and you'll see plenty of ways she'll one-up her siblings. She can easily stand out on her own and her skills play an integral part in the story. Kevin is the tech kid of the bunch. While not my favorite, he is the youngest and I know how they tend to think they can handle anything and they just wanted to be treated with respect instead of condescension, which comes up a lot with this character. He does have his good points. You'll also meet some other characters along the way with a few surprises, too.
I'm kind of hoping there will be another book following this one because there are definitely aspects that could be elaborated on and things are left pretty wide open in the end. Overall, I felt like this was a "bare bones" kind of book that sets up the scene of a world ruled by robots, where humans live in fear and hope to uprise one day. There wasn't a ton of the "meat" part where you get into the gritty details of how and why it came about, although it is explained. I'm sure a lot of readers would want more, and I'm guessing the author knows that and hopes for it, too.
Revolution 19 is a heart-stopping, action-packed thriller that will capture you from the very first page and leave you wanting so much more by the end. The characters make you feel, the robots make you angry, and the action gets you pumped. I loved every minute of it and if there will be more, I'll most definitely want to read it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
So in 2051 there's a robot revolution, with all the military robots turning against the humans who once controlled them. A robot apocalypse ensues, the surviving humans who are not held captive take refuge in the woods, and the story follows from that unoriginal premise. Fourteen years later, Kevin and Nick and Cass, along with their survivalist parents, are living in a Freepost, hiding from the bots. Their Freepost is the nineteenth either mistakenly or deliberately branded as revolutionary (hence the title), leading to a robot attack. The kids escape but their parents and some of their friends are captured.
The plot eventually follows the plucky kids as the sneak into the city to rescue their parents from the killer robots. The city is filled with forgotten technology like elevators and Segways (which is pretty much already a forgotten technology). They meet a plucky city kid named Lexi, who also happens to be pretty, and she decides to help them because Nick, having knocked down a surveillance bot in a David vs. Goliath moment, has become a rock star among city kids. Apart from the need to add a predictable romantic angle to the story, that's presumably why Lexi likes Nick so much (she clearly couldn't be attracted to his mind).
To be fair, Revolution 19 is less a robot apocalypse novel than it is a novel about the aftermath of the robot revolution. The robots have a benevolent purpose, so rather than enslaving humans, they give humans microchip implants and send them to reeducation classes where the humans learn to be peaceful and obedient -- sort of Nineteen Eighty-Four with robots playing the role of Big Brother. How benevolence squares with the slaughter of humans before reeducation began or with the execution of humans who don't respond to reeducation is never explained, probably because it can't be. You'd think robots would have a better sense of logic, but logic would just get in the way of the plot.
The kids are plucky but not very bright. Kevin's idiocy causes the robots to discover his Freehold, but he arguably didn't know what he was doing. Once in the city, Nick knowingly does some blindingly stupid things. Kevin and Cass decide that attending a bot-patrolled school would be better than hiding in a basement, despite the absence of any possible reward that would offset the risk of being caught. So are three monstrously stupid kids really smart enough to defeat an entire army of revolutionary robots? They don't actually save the world, but the story sets up a sequel in which they probably will.
Gregg Rosenblum deserves credit for dealing with technology intelligently, something that isn't always present in YA science fiction. Rosenblum deserves no credit for making life inside the city improbably easy for our intrepid heroes. They need chips to avoid capture, so -- happy fortune! -- Lexi knows a doctor who can implant chips that -- happy fortune! -- are supplied by a tech-wise kid whose reeducation apparently didn't work very well. Our heroes want to attend school so -- happy fortune! -- the tech-wise kid is able to hack into the school computer and fabricate school records for them. The bots are ridiculously easy to defeat in combat -- one of the kids even manages to beat up a bot -- which makes one wonder why humans couldn't successfully mount a counter-revolution before the three plucky kids give it a try.
To be fair, this is young adult fiction, so perhaps it is meant to be formulaic and unchallenging. It isn't the kind of high quality young adult fiction that Robert Heinlein used to write -- the kind that adults can still enjoy more than half a century after it first appeared -- but Rosenblum's writing style is fluid and the main characters are likable despite their density. While a young reader's reaction to Revolution 19 might therefore be more favorable than mine (I'm giving the novel a generous 3 with that in mind), I'd recommend that young readers with an interest in robots search out some old Asimov stories. They're easy reading but they're also about intelligent people (and intelligent robots) who behave in intelligent ways.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2014
There is a lot of action and drama. A very slight romance but it definitely isn’t the focus of the book and is only brought up a couple times. I actually have a feeling that it may be more pronounced in the second book. I loved the fact that this was based more on the problem at hand than establishing a romance. The fact that there is no love triangle is a bonus too.
I enjoyed the fact that robots were the controlling power and I could definitely see this as a thing that could really happen to us. People rely on machines way too much. When the kids make it to the city and realize that nothing is what they believed it to be, however it is still just as dangerous to them. Because they were constantly on the run there was always some suspense at what would happen next. Which kept me wanting to read. The robots were not as scary as I imagined they would be and it seems they are pretty easily destroyed. I’m hoping something new and exciting comes out in the next book.
There wasn’t a whole lot of world building in this book. We know the basic stuff like what was going on and what led to the robot take over but we really didn’t how they really came to be. It is just touched upon. I would like some more answers on that and I believe they will be answered in the next book. I also continually got confused between Kevin and Nick. There were no differences between them personality wise so I had to sometimes go back and make sure I was thinking of the correct person.
I didn’t see any problems with the writing style and I felt that it flowed smoothly. As I said with the robot situation, things seemed to happen easily when they needed to. Particularly in the last few scenes of the book. I have a feeling this will continue on in the rest of the series but hopefully I can look past that.
If you are looking for some super scary “Terminator” type story then this one is probably not for you. I still think it was a good quick read and I will definitely be reading the second book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2013
Revolution 19 is a futuristic dystopian novel that takes place after the robots took over the world. Kevin, Nick & Cass(the three main characters) live in a "free" community in the woods which the survivors from the revolution started to rebuild society. One day the robots suddenly invade the community and the three teens escape. They realize their parents must have been taken to the City, which they have always been told have horrible living conditions and humans are forced to do hard labor. When they arrive though... it's not what they expect.
The characters in Revolution 19 were just ok. There wasn't a whole lot of character development so at every moment that it felt like they may potentially die, I found I didn't really care if they did. Due to the lack of character development I wasn't able to become emotionally invested in any of them.
One of the things I also had a hard time with was that the city was supposed to be so awful. Honestly I didn't find that it seemed all that dangerous. You could still basically come and go as you pleased, you had families, went to school, had jobs. Robots basically just served as cops... and you got a bit of a warning if they wanted you to do something. I guess I could see why the citizens may want to leave because it seemed pretty strict with somethings but it really didn't seem as awful as I believe the author intended you to think it.
One of the reasons I may not have liked it as much as I could have perhaps is that I constantly compared it to Partials. I'm not a huge science fiction reader but I have read(and enjoyed!) Partials and the story is very similar. Unfortunately for this one... Partials is a great deal more action filled with a lot of character development. I thrive on well-rounded characters so without them I felt like it was missing a large part of the story.
Despite all of that, it was a fairly enjoyable read. It was quick paced and easy to get through. I was actually surprised on how quickly I finished. One of the perks is that ends in such a way(abruptly) that you basically need to read the sequel to find out how the story ends. I think the plot holds a lot of potential, I just hope the second novel betters the story.
Overall I gave it a 3. If it sounds interesting to you, pick it up ... you may enjoy it. And if this is your first science fiction type of read, I definitely think you may enjoy it because you'd have nothing to compare it to in the genre!
on October 28, 2014
Lexi. Despite her over use of the term rock star, Lexi is a fierce, independent, headstrong, and determined girl. She stands up for what she believes in, she takes risks for a greater cause than herself, she is compassionate, loving, funny. Lexi is a strong role model and a very positive female character.
The organization and implementation of robot laws and practices and how they deal with infractions, the whims of the new citizens, and education is really complex and notable addition to the story. The robots have their own system of government and extremely advanced technology that is really cool, and crazy to think about because our current technology is not that far off.
The fact that the focus is not on the love story but on a family's love for one another is refreshing.
The use of carrier pigeons is awesome and the juxtaposition of a world with and without technology is startling.
These characters make the most reckless, stupid decisions ever and then wonder why things always end badly. I was constantly infuriated by the fact that throughout the book they're concerned about safety and taking risks but when it matters they're too stubborn to follow their own advice. There were several instances where I wanted to strangle Nick. By the end, this urge did not go away, writing about it only continues to fuel my fury.
Infiltrating the system should not have been so simple, it's barely plausible.
It makes no sense that they would not be more concerned about robotic implantation, especially of organs.
It is also unclear why the robots changed heart. Why were they first presented as cold, killing at random but then they make a collective decision to be humankind's savior?
The secondary characters are so much more interesting than the main protagonists.
on June 16, 2013
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.
Quick & Dirty: A group of kids try to rescue their parents from robots. Perfect for the big screen. Not so much for a novel.
Opening Sentence: Somewhere nearby, a dog barked and whined.
After the vicious Robot Revolution, families around the country tried to escape the clutches of the ruthless robots. Two families reached the guarded gates, expecting to be killed on the spot for trying to escape, but one family and the second family's kids are allowed to leave. Fast-forward about 15 years and both families are living in a village far from any robot society: hunting for food, gathering broken tech and farming the scorched land. That is until one mistaken piece of tech betrays their position. Now the kids from those families are on the run and end up trying to save their captured parents. This fast-paced action book would be great as a movie (hence authors are movie directors and writers) but as a novel it was poorly written and executed.
Is a robot revolution a great idea for a book? Heck yes. Is this book a good example of how it should be written? Heck no. There are aspects of movies that you can't convey in books. The same goes vice versa. Unfortunately, the authors tried to incorporate aspects of movies into a book. For example: time in movies is different than time in a book. Where in movies it shows the action in real time, in books you must describe the event/action which takes longer to read than it does for the actual event to happen. In this book the authors skimmed over the details in order to make the actions fast paced, but after a while that gets old. Also, another key detail that made it apparent this book was made for the movies: they did not follow the rules of show don't tell. Like at all. I know I've explained it in a previous review, but for those who don't know: show don't tell is a piece of advise that all writers should use. Instead of telling a reader "this character is mad" show the reader the character is mad by having him turn beat red, turn over a table, slam his fist onto a table, etc. Anyway, this book's writing did not use this advice and thus the book was boring - not for lack of action - but for lack of good writing.
So now that the picking apart of the writing is done, let's move on to the characters. Cliche. Cliche. Cliche. Kevin: the younger brother that always gets picked on but really is brilliant. Nick: the headstrong oldest brother with a hero complex. Cass: the girl who can't really fight and is only there to persuade a guy to help them. Again these cliche characters might work in a movie, but this doesn't work for a book. They need to be developed and grow throughout the book. It seemed to be the characters were stagnant the entire time.
Moving on to the plot - it wasn't too shabby. The romance was cheesy and unnecessary, but still cute. There was action every other page. The actual development of the world was pretty good. Overall, a pretty interesting plot once it got going.
Really, I would not suggest this book to anyone unless they want to be bored out of their minds. The only reason I gave it two stars is because of the well-developed world. Otherwise, it's not worth your time.
FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Revolution 19. No goody bags, sponsorships, "material connections," or bribes were exchanged for my review.
on March 24, 2013
Revolution 19 by author Gregg Rosenblum was a novel that sounded like it would be the ultimate sci-fi dystopia. Have you seen that cover? Totally creepy, totally left me thinking about all the possible plot points that could take place in the novel and it left me wanting to read the novel more than anything. The description made me think that I was being promised Terminator meets I, Robot and that sounded totally awesome. That being said my expectations for this novel were fairly high.
Revolution 19 takes place in the third person and looks at the lives of main characters Nick, Kevin and Cass who were part of a village that existed with only humans. In the year 2071, the artificial intelligence that humans used to defend ourselves in war ended up becoming intelligent enough to understand not only our violence but also how to protect us: By saving the human race from itself and dictating the existence of human life. Humans that resisted the robots' new way of life were either killed... or worse and those who got away lived in secret villages just like the one that Nick, Kevin and Cass used to live in. When their village is detected by the robots they tried to protect themselves from, the village's entire population is decimated and leaves the three siblings in the woods pondering the idea that their parents are still alive. A robot-ruled city is discovered and when the fact that the siblings parents are living inside of a rehabilitation center, the group comes up with a dangerous plan: Enter the city ruled by machines and steal their parents back or die trying.
The novel starts off with a flashback taking place when Cass, Nick and Kevin's parents were fleeing from the robots. In that flashback, the novel immediately is given a fast pace and shows how menacing the robots can be. Three important things happen in the flashback 1) Nick and Kevin's parents manage to flee from the city 2) They bring Cass with them 3) Cass's parents are shot with the robots "lases" as a sort of payment for the others to escape. Not only was I staring at the next chapter thinking `Can anything top this?' but also wondering what else could possibly happen in the future of the novel's plot.
One thing that I really liked about Revolution 19 was the backstory behind the robot's coming to power. Since the robots ruling over most of the surviving population was entirely humanity's fault (too much violence = a bad time) I had a bit of a hard time understanding why the robots would be so angry or even concern themselves with helping us. They could easily just get rid of us all and repopulate the Earth with robots, but instead the novel gets into the ethics of the robots' way of thinking and how treating humans like animals inside of a zoo was the best possible idea they could come up with. However, don't go about thinking that the robots are the good guys in this story--stepping out of line means a painful rehabilitation system or execution.
I mentioned earlier that I had high expectations for the plot and that the flashback at the start of the novel set up a fast pace. Sadly, the novel didn't have a consistency with maintaining that fast pace, but what really got to me was the robots characteristics. I liked their brains, but I didn't like the way that they looked. I'll admit that in my head I believed that these super-intelligent AI machines that managed to enslave humanity would be similar to a Terminator (cyborgs are cool too) and the robots in Revolution 19 aren't as cool as those ones... one of the reasons being that they don't have legs. They have wheels. Think Marvel Comic's Ultron meets Wall-E.
I'd recommend Revolution 19 to readers who are looking for a sci-fi and any fans of dystopia that want to delve into a world ruled by creatures of our own making.
on March 8, 2013
Revolution 19 was pretty middle of the road for me. I enjoyed it for the most part, but there were definitely a few things that kept me from loving it.
Let's start with the good.
The idea of machines taking over the world has never really been one that held any particular interest for me, but there's certainly something about creepy about human-like robots. Most of the robots didn't do much for me. I mean, floating sphere robots are cool, but they don't particularly scare me. There were a few, however, that made me want to keep reading. If it weren't for the epilogue and the creepy I-want-to-understand-taste-so-I'll-chew-up-this-steak-and-spit-it-out robot I probably wouldn't have any intention of reading the sequel.
I always love learning about how the world works and Revolution 19 certainly isn't short on interesting details.
Revolution 19 is somewhere around 260 pages, so it's a quick read. A lot of stuff happens and it even manages to not feel rushed most of the time.
Things I didn't like:
I always feel a little heartless for criticizing characters thrust into crazy/new/scary situations, but I had some serious issues with Cass and Nick. They've both mastered the art of jumping to conclusions. "Guys, a bot just turned the corner five blocks away! We've been caught! They're gonna burn us alive! Make a break for it!" That's not a direct quote, if you're wondering, but it sure felt like that. About every other page they thought they were going to get caught and killed and I just wanted to slap them. I mean, I get being scared, but seriously, we have to draw the line somewhere.
And then there's just Nick. "I must sacrifice myself for the good of the cause!" Okay, buddy. Wanting to take care of your brother and sister and rescue your parents is admirable. Being an idiot about it, however, is not. Maybe it's just me, but I don't really see how throwing yourself in front of every robot that passes is helpful.
Yes, I did say that it was generally good, but not completely. When they're traveling in the woods it pretty much goes "they traveled for the day" and then "two days later" and I couldn't help thinking a little info on those lost days would have been nice.
The twist I saw coming a mile away.
Seriously, I suspected from the moment it happened which just happened to be in the first chapter. The twist itself isn't bad, just the fact that it wasn't a surprise to me AT ALL.
The Nutshell: I didn't hate Revolution 19, but it did leave much to be desired. I'm hoping for character growth, a twistier plotline, and more creepy robots in book two.