Five out of Five Stars
The Summary: For 16-year-old Skyler, fear is a way of life. For three years, since the Wall split the UK in two, her survival as an illegal Northern refugee in the South has been a perilous balancing act between staying in the shadows and clinging to her reputation as the South’s best hacker.
Fellow refugee Mackenzie is a ghost from her past she’d rather ignore. But when their paths collide unexpectedly, Skyler sees an opportunity to exact revenge on the brutal regime that destroyed her home and family – even if it means she goes down with them.
Forced, with extreme reluctance, on the run together, Skyler and Mackenzie, along with enigmatic contract killer Angel, must find a way to outrun not only the Board and the South’s most sadistic crime lord, but their own personal demons. If they can manage to not end up murdering each other in the process, that’ll be a bonus.
But more is at stake than any of them realise. And Skyler, who has long believed she has nothing left to lose, is about to discover just how wrong she is.
Blackout by Kit Mallory is a post-apocalyptic story of survival, fighting for what is right and friendship. Skyler is an illegal Northern refugee who has been living in the South as a hacker. She’s been living in the cellar of one of the most ruthless of men in the North in order to continue living on the inhabitable side of the wall. When the opportunity comes knocking with the possibility of taking down the people who destroyed the North, how can she pass it by? Even if she goes down with them?
She can’t help but steal the extra drive off of Mackenzie. She gets far more than she ever thought she was end up with. She’s on the run from both the Board and Daniel Redruth’s men as she tries to find enough electricity, someone to fix her gear and a safe place to extract all the information that she can in order to make a move.
During the process Skyler ends up with a group of people who are just as dedicated to taking the Board down as she is. There’s Angel who is a contract killer and a healer, the twins, Mackenzie and others on the seedier side of the law who all aim to help. They each have their own history and reason for wanting to take down Redruth and the Board.
What I enjoyed about Blackout was the fact that I was able to get lost in the story. I was there with Skyler, Angel and Mackenzie. I could feel the tension, the anxiety and the fear that each of these characters felt throughout the book. The further along in their plans, the more and more I could see the attraction between Skyler and Angel. It was a subtle undercurrent. They cared about each other from the first meeting, developed a friendship and it ultimately culminated in a romantic attraction.
There are time jumps throughout that told as memories. These scenes are situated in a way that reads fluidly and helped push the story along. Usually I’m not a fan of this kind of writing but it helped me understand the motivations and how these teenagers grew to who they are.
And that ending?! Wow.
The romantic relationship isn’t the shining star in this novel but don’t let that stop you from reading this. I really enjoyed every page of this book.
Bonus, questions with the author, Kit Mallory!
Where did your inspiration for Blackout come from? I see parallels to events today and in the past but I wonder what sparked this for you?
I started writing Blackout back in 2012, and the original concept for the setting grew out of a few things. One was a long-standing fascination with the Berlin Wall and what that must have been like for the people who lived through it – it seems like such an outlandish concept, and yet it happened so recently – the Wall didn’t come down until after I was born.
The other big influence was the North/South divide in the UK, which is a thing that’s often talked about here – I spent a long time living in Yorkshire and it’s very clear that in many ways London and the south-east have access to a lot of finances and resources that are more limited in other areas. And finally, of course, there’s been an awareness for a long time that fossil fuels are a finite resource and that we over-rely on them, and ever since I was a kid I’ve wondered about what the eventual consequences of that might be.
Several people have commented on how the setup in Blackout seems increasingly plausible, and one of the most unsettling things for me is that although what happens in Blackout seems very extreme, we know that governments absolutely do do terrible things to their own people (Syria being an obvious current example, but there are dozens more, of course) and the political landscape in the UK and the US has changed so dramatically since I started writing Blackout in ways I would never have imagined were possible. It makes me think anything is possible, and not in a good way.
Are you working on or planning any future projects?
I’m working on the sequel to Blackout right now! I couldn’t possibly leave the gang there, haha. I am TERRIBLE with giving away spoilers so I won’t say too much about it, but it’s definitely coming! I’m aiming to have that out in the next 12 months. I’m also working on a YA contemporary fantasy series and another standalone book that’s technically YA fantasy but is turning out much darker and more of a psychological thriller. All of them are f/f.
Blackout is due out May 8, 2018 and is available for pre-order here !!