Series: Blackbird Duology #1
Release Date: 16th September, 2014
Add it: Goodreads
This twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.
A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her.
On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined.
The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists.
Blackbird is told from the POV of a teenage girl who, for reasons she doesn’t know, is being pursued by people who want to kill her. She has no memories of who she is, just one identifying marker in the form of a blackbird tattoo on her wrist with letters and numbers printed below it. The story incorporates the use of second person narrative (‘you’ do this, ‘you’ feel like this), presumably to illustrate the dissociation/disorientation our main character feels. It’s almost definitely not there to annoy me, although it did. Second person narrative isn’t widely used for a reason, dudes.
So yes, our main character realises pretty quickly she needs to be on the move in order to avoid being murdered to death, and realises that she’s pretty good at defending herself, blending in and surviving. Before we can get to her figuring shit out though, the obligatory love interest shows up to suck the momentum right out of the plot. I mean, really. Just at the point where the story should be building up toward the climax, our protagonist meets up with a dude and it’s like instalove everywhere. Ignoring the fact that she is likely to be killed by anyone, she chooses to shack up with Boring McBoring Dude and they have sex. Which, okay? A girl’s gotta vent her stress somehow, right? But what a terrible point for the story to lose focus.
I will say this though, the final twist in the story is very good, although this was my exact reaction:
Me at the start of this book: I’m pretty sure I’ve watched a Criminal Minds episode about this.
Me at the end of this book: I have DEFINITELY watched at least one Criminal Minds episode about this.
I just wish more of the plot had been about building up to that point; that final plot reveal elevates the book from a standard YA attempt at thriller to a story with genuine potential to be great.
I don’t have a whole lot to say about the characters – as you can tell I can’t even remember their names and don’t care enough to look them up. The main character, who’s nameless for obvious reasons, is actually not that bad. Her situation is potentially intriguing and I liked the attempt at showing how someone like her behaves in a dangerous situation. She has to rely on her instincts and it gets her through a lot tbh. In that way you start to see that there’s a lot more going on underneath the surface of this confused, scared girl. The main dude is boring, and then becomes even more boring in the final pages of the book. There are other characters but they aren’t fleshed out – the villain shows up late in the game, which seems silly to me considering the final reveal. The presence of the villain should have been felt throughout the novel, but that just doesn’t happen. I enjoyed…Izzy? Let’s call her Izzy. She’s Boring’s Dude’s friend/neighbour and has a lot of tattoos, is fond of casual sex and strikes up an unconventional friendship with our main lady. More of that please in every novel ever.
Overall this really isn’t a book that lives up to the promises made in the blurb – similar to Code Name Verity? I don’t bloody think so. It has potential, and this is a two book series there is always the chance that the next book will be better. I won’t hold my breath though, and probably won’t be reading it.