Why have I spent every free minute of the last four days reading the same book twice? Because it's a sci-fi / horror / political thriller / love story / action movie novel all rolled into one, and it is intense.
Okay, thing one about this review--spoilers. I'm not going to put them in individual spoiler tags, I'm going to spoil-code everything after thing two and if you keep reading, on your head be it.
Thing two--you need to read these books in order. If you haven't read Feed and Deadline, stop reading this review, get your butt to the library or bookstore and read them. Come back here in a week, when you've read both books and then had a meal, a shower and some sleep. Trust me, you will only take time away from these books with great reluctance.
Spoilers ahoy! First of all, as good as both Feed and Deadline were, Blackout surpasses them. Almost all of the characters are fully realized human beings, whether they're natually born or cloned. I cried when Maggie left her dogs, when Georgia and Shaun were reunited, when Becks died, when Mahir held his daughter.
Second, the action was adrenaline-inducing, top-notch and perfectly paced. The moments of calm throughout the novel gave me a chance to catch my breath, which I needed almost as much as the characters.
Third, Ms. Grant's science is completely believable, clearly well-researched and yet does not wind up being either dry or dumbed-down.
Fourth, there are delicate little love notes to geekery scattered throughout the book.
Fifth, the humor in this book is intensely funny, just as black and twisted as I was raised to enjoy, and it rang true to the characters and the situations.
Sixth, the surprises, oh my dog, the surprises! I had no idea about Shaun and George being a couple. They hid it from the world and Ms. Grant hid it from the reader for two and a half books! On my second reading of Blackout, I found a clue or two, but I sure didn't notice them the first time. And the fact that the CDC managed to take the President's wife and children hostage was another shocker.
Seventh, the number of quotable lines is driving me crazy. I need someone else to read this so I can share quotes. If I say "No more Mr. Nice, Heavily Armed, Pissed-Off Journalist" here in my blog, it doesn't mean a thing. Or "Listen to the dead girl." I could go on and on and on and on...
Eighth and finally, the language is impeccable. Yes, I found a whole six typographical errors, I can't help it, I have a typesetter's brain. However, I found nothing wrong in the entire book in terms of word choice, order or rhythm. Ms. Grant wrote 632 pages full of lightning rather than lightning bugs, and I am thankful that she was willing to share them with us, and thankful that Orbit helped her do so.
P.S. I bought an inscribed copy from www.borderlandsbooks.com and Ms. Grant drew a chainsaw after her name--how cool is that?