Can also be read on The Social Potato
Thank you Edelweiss and Harper Teen for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review or opinion in any way.
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.