Thursday, September 5, 2013

REVIEW: REVOLUTION 19 (Revolution 19, #1) by Gregg Rosenblum

Title: Revolution 19
Series: Revolution 19, #1
Author: Gregg Rosenblum
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Genres: YA, Dystopian
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Purchased
My rating: 3/5


Twenty years ago, the robots designed to fight our wars abandoned the battlefields. Then they turned their weapons on us.

Only a few escaped the robot revolution of 2071. Kevin, Nick, and Cass are lucky —they live with their parents in a secret human community in the woods. Then their village is detected and wiped out. Hopeful that other survivors have been captured by bots, the teens risk everything to save the only people they have left in the world—by infiltrating a city controlled by their greatest enemies.

Revolution 19 is a cinematic thriller unlike anything else. With a dynamic cast of characters, this surefire blockbuster has everything teen readers want—action, drama, mystery, and romance. Written by debut novelist Gregg Rosenblum, this gripping story shouldn’t be missed.


For a while now, I have been complaining about dystopian novels not offering the reader anything new. The way I see it, if you’ve read one; you’ve pretty much read them all. My first dystopian experience was with The Hunger Games, and since then all the dystopian novels I’ve read seem to follow the same post-apocalyptic pattern. I was hoping to find something a little different with Revolution 19 as the synopsis created a picture in my mind of a futuristic America being ruled by robots; and it also has a very fascinating cover. Two chapters past the epilogue I abandoned any hope of finding something new. Here’s what I liked and didn’t like about this novel:

Revolution 19 mostly follows the same pattern as Matched and Divergent with the exception of the world in this story being controlled by bots. Looking at all the tech detail and the chapters where Nick was held in a facility to be “re-educated”, I was often reminded of Mila 2.0. The prologue got me hooked and the epilogue had me curious to know who, or what exactly, is controlling the bots and the mainframe structure. Unfortunately the chapters in between didn’t hold my interest as the three main characters, Nick, Kevin and Cass, weren’t very interesting. I found them rather dull, over confident and irresponsible. It annoyed me how they sometimes jumped head-first into dangerous situations without thinking it through and thus putting their siblings and friends lives’ at stake. On the other hand, they are teenagers and are supposed to do irresponsible, rebellious things without considering the consequences, but nevertheless, their actions didn’t always make sense to me and I thought it a miracle they actually made it to the epilogue. I felt there were no depth to these characters and they did nothing to endear themselves to me.

What made this book slightly different from others in the same genre is that the world didn’t end with a plague, virus, or some form of bio- or chemical warfare. Here the world has changed (after the war) and morphed into one where bots make and enforce the rules to guard the human race from wiping itself out. As annoying as it may be to the main characters, who were raised outside of The City in the so-called wilderness, to be controlled by bots, it seems that most citizens who live inside The City have accepted their way of life. Now, I personally, wouldn’t like to live my life as stipulated by robots, but if it means I can live in safety and carry on with my everyday doings in a stable economy and crime-free environment, I don’t see anything wrong with that. But here comes these three kids looking for their parents, and once they’ve found them and the family is back together, they decide they want to overthrow the system. No matter what the rest of the people who live inside The City thinks, these three siblings believe they should do what they think is best for everyone. I didn’t agree with their reasoning. It just seems silly. This attitude made them seem immature and self-absorbed because they had the opportunity to live a better life with their parents inside The City than the life they had outside The City. Sure, they would’ve had to live according to someone else’s rules, but hey, choose your battles, right? I just think the author should’ve given more concrete reasons for their rebellion and seeing as Lexi’s parents put their lives at risk for these lot, the author shouldn’t have given them the cold shoulder once their purpose was served. Or, maybe I’m annoyed because I’ve somehow unwittingly accumulated too many same-old, same-old dystopian books, with nothing new to offer, on my TBR list.

Another thing that bugged me is how Lexi, for instance, left home and abandoned her parents because Cass, Nick and Kevin running for their lives was one big adventure for her which she didn’t want to miss out on. I mean, seriously, you’re looking at a girl who has a safe home, parents who love her, a best friend, etc. Yet, out of the blue, she comes across three strangers in a diner and she decides she want to keep them safe because they’re different. Really, Lexi? She throws away her loving parents and all the privileges she has just to go on an adventure. I’m telling you now, if the world has to be saved by such irresponsible teenagers who view life-threatening situations as an adventure, we can all kiss our behinds goodbye. When Lexie left home to join the siblings in escaping from the bots, the dialogue between her and her father is a good example of the stilted dialogue which can be found throughout this book.

I enjoyed the idea behind the story. That’s what kept me reading as I was anticipating some sort of major twist. I expected there to be one as the bots sure didn’t create themselves and I was positive we would discover there to be a mastermind behind the man-versus-machine structure. There weren’t any twists or noteworthy revelations, and only in the epilogue is a hint given of what’s to come. Still, I don’t think I’ll be reading the rest of this series. I only recommend this to readers new to the dystopian genre who don’t have any expectations for something a little different in the dystopian genre. The only significant difference between Revolution 19 and most other dystopian novels, is that there’s not a developing or annoying love-triangle and next to no romance. I think this is going to be one of those instances where the movie ends up being better than the book.


Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum has 180 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



Gregg Rosenblum works at Harvard, where he wages epic battles against technology as an editor/webmaster/communications/quasi-IT guy. He graduated from UC San Diego and has an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. He lives in Boston with his wife and daughter.

Twitter    *    Goodreads    *    Amazon

No comments: