Thursday, January 15, 2015

Book Review: Blackout (Annum Guard, #2)

Author| Meredith McCardle
Edition| Kindle eBook, ARC (courtesy of Netgalley in return for an honest review)
Genre| YA Fantasy/Time Travel
Rating| 4.5 Stars
Other Reviews| Eighth Guardian

This review is SPOILER FREE.  I received a copy of Blackout early as an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you Netgalley!

This book picks up soon after the events of the first book.  The basic premise of time traveling to "fix" the past continues, but this time with a much more direct plot.  Rather than jumping around willy-nilly both the author and the Annum Guard have gotten themselves together.  In fact, every single issue I had with the first book has been resolved wonderfully.  This one had me looking forward to what was coming next at the turn of each page and the end even left me out of breath.

The action is more intense and it makes more sense.  The first book seems to have just showcased what Amanda could do rather than give her a reason to do things.  I wasn't really sure she was a competent spy beyond the fact that she kept assuring us, the readers, that she was.  In Blackout, Amanda actually gets to do some infiltration, some undercover work, and pretty much be bad-ass the whole entire time.  Plus, McCardle actually has some fun with her time travel elements (finally!).

My favorite thing about this book (and my least favorite thing about the first) were the characters.  In The Eighth Guardian they were two dimensional and plain.  Even the romance fell dry.  Here we have fully fleshed out characters that I fell in love with.  Red, who gets maybe two lines in the first, is a major character here, and he's now one of my favorites.  Similarly, Orange and Green get their own turns as actual people.  The romance between Abe and Amanda started to make sense and had me actually fawning over them.  This book showed me what Annum Guard is supposed to look like when the whole generation is working together- and I absolutely loved it.

I did have a few problems, but they were brief.  The writing, while much better, still isn't the greatest.  It's, shall I say, lackluster.  The fact that between books one and two so much changed leaves me believing that won't stand for very long.  Additionally, there were some minor side characters I didn't think were necessary.  I like to see characters provide something to move the plot forward.  However, with the way things were left (yes, it is a cliffhanger) they could still end up playing important roles.

Waiting for the next one will be a little more difficult than I thought, but I'm very glad that I continued onto this book.  If you have any doubts, I promise that this one will quell them.

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