Friday, October 17, 2014

ARC Review: Blackbird by Anna Carey

Title: Blackbird
Series: Blackbird #1
Author: Anna Carey
Published: September 16th by Harper Teen
(Amazon / Goodreads)

 Synopsis: From the author of the Eve trilogy comes the breathless story of a girl racing to figure out who she is—and how to stay alive. When a nameless girl wakes up on the subway tracks, she knows only one thing for sure: people want her dead. Can she find them before they track her down? This pulse-pounding contemporary thriller is perfect for fans of The Maze Runner, The Darkest Minds, and Legend.

Things I know are true:
- I am in Los Angeles 
- I woke up on the train tracks at the Vermont/Sunset station 
- I am a teenage girl 
- I have long black hair 
- I have a bird tattoo on the inside of my right wrist (FNV02198) 
- People are trying to kill me 

*** I received a copy of this book free from the publisher at BEA for an honest review in return. This fact has not influenced my opinion***

Blackbird is one of the most unique books I have read in a long time. It's an entertaining Young Adult mystery full of thrilling action and intriguing characters but it is so much more.

Probably the first thing a person should talk about when they are reviewing this book is the writing style. If you are not aware, Blackbird is written in a second-person narrative. That means instead of I or she/he it says you did or said everything. This is not the first book I have read that is written in second-person but it definitely takes some getting used to. At the beginning it felt to me like I was reading one of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" novels. I was waiting for it to tell me to turn to page 157 if I wanted to explore the creepy basement (pro tip: never explore the creepy basement). But after I got used to it, I started to really like it. Second-person really seemed to work for this type of novel and is one of the reasons this book is so unique.

As a mystery and thriller the fact that the book is written in second-person really added dimension to the book. The plot of Blackbird is based around a teenage girl who wakes up without her memories and goes on an adventure to find out who she is, among other things. I don't want to give too much away but it was full of action and excitement that when you are told that it's happening to you, helps you become immersed in the story at a very different level. It really did feel like I was the one looking for clues and trying to solve the mystery. And while the mystery wasn't that complicated and a big part of it was kind of just told to us with very little proof, it still felt like I was a part of it. Like I said, "Choose Your Own Adventure." The mystery may have been pretty basic but the second-person narrative made it feel unique and engaging and while I wasn't on the edge of my seat, I was definitely hooked.

On top of allowing you to feel like you are part of the plot, the second-person narrative allowed you to better connect with the characters and place yourself directly in the story. Maybe because she didn't know her name either but I honestly kept forgetting what this poor girl was called. But I still really felt like I liked her. She was resourceful, tough, and smart. I wish I would respond in the way she did to those situations but I'd probably cripple under the pressure. It's like she was the ideal me. But on top of Sunny (not her real name) there was also tons of great secondary characters. They were the perfect kind of characters for this type of mystery, characters that make you suspicious of them and their motivations. I was so suspicious in fact that I didn't trust that anyone was genuinely trying to help. It was just another dimension to the book.

And while I thoroughly enjoyed it I can see that this book is definitely not for everyone. The second-person narrative is incredibly odd and makes this the kind of book that is not easily read in small doses (good thing it's not very long so you can read it in large chunks). It does also take a little while to get into. I'm not sure if that is on account of the writing style or the plot is a bit slow at the beginning. And it did suffer from First Book Syndrome (damn, I haven't mentioned this in a while). I felt like it barely scratched the surface of the real mystery here. It was definitely intentionally withholding information that it threw out to get me intrigued despite it's lack of connection to this book's plot. Blackbird is a duology and I'm interested to see how things developed and resolve. The last chapter kind of set things up for the next book, but it was a little frustrating and kind of a tease.

I give Blackbird by Anna Carey a 8 out of 10 

Buy, Borrow, Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If you are a fan of Young Adult mysteries and thrillers with action and adventure then pick this book up. Or if you are looking for something unique then give it a try. But maybe borrow it from the library or a friend to see if you can jive with the second-person narrative.


  1. I am glad you liked this one as I ended up DNFing it as I just couldn't get into the POV.

  2. I really, really want to read this and I love thrillers but... I just never could get into the second person POV. So I'm a little iffy about this one.

    Megan @ Books i View