by Gregg Rosenblum
To be published by HarperTeen
on January 8, 2013
Source: e-ARC via Edelweiss
Summary (adapted from Goodreads blurb): 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.
My take: One of the happiest parts of the holiday season is that my home is filled with family. Relatives that include YA-aged readers on vacation. Kids who can, in return, actually help me write up some reviews. Here's what happened when I gave Revolution 19 to a fifteen year old who was loitering in my house for days on end.
Me: Haven't you played enough video games? Here, try this book. It's about robots. Extends Kindle.
15 year old boy: Skeptical look. Deep sigh. Fine.
Me: You liked the last book I gave you. The zombie one?
Boy 15: Yeah. That was pretty good. Takes Kindle and disappears for several hours. Returns holding out Kindle. Where's the rest of it?
Me: Takes Kindle and looks at it. Oh. Right. That's a cliffhanger ending. It's this new thing in young adult books. Like in the Hunger Games?
Boy 15: At least those books had some kind of ending. It's like this one got chopped off in the middle.
Me: What did you think?
Boy 15: Uh, it could have been better.
Me: Can you be more specific? Could you write something up for me? Just a few paragraphs about what you thought?
Boy 15: Look of disbelief. I'm on vacation.
Me: Fine. Just tell me what you thought and I'll write it down.
Boy 15: It seemed like it was meant for someone younger than me. I mean, the main plot is that the adults get kidnapped by robots and the kids go off looking for them.
Me: You wouldn't come find me if I got abducted by a robot?
Boy 15: Would you want me to?
Me: Fine. What else?
Boy 15: Shrugs. Then one of the kids gets sent to a re-education camp. There's a poop joke. He escapes. That's about it.
Me: Okay, so what could have been better?
Boy 15: The dialogue wasn't great.
Me: Can you give me an example?
Boy 15: I'm doing all your work for you?
Me: Clicks around a little on Kindle. Reads: "You idiot. You may have just gotten us all killed." So that's a robot talking? Silence. Oh.
Boy 15: But there were some interesting ideas that could have been developed, like there was the chance to talk about whether it's better to live in danger and have freedom or be content and subservient. And it was pretty cool that the robots were trying to make the humans more like robots.
Me: Scribbles furiously in reviewing notebook. Interesting.
Boy 15: And the book mentions that the robots banned art, you know? Like when the Nazis banned art for being deviant? But whenever an interesting idea came up, it got dropped.
Me: Any other parts you liked?
Boy 15: Uh .... one of the kids gets a robo-eye.
Me: Keeps scribbling. Cool. So the futuristic technology stuff was good?
Boy 15: Nah. People travel around on scooters. The robots disable humans with flashes of light. It's all pretty vague.
Me: No laser beams? I have one simple request: sharks with frickin' lasers attached to their heads. Pause. Dr. Evil? Uncomfortable silence.
Boy 15: And there's a lot of deus ex machina.
Me: You only know the phrase Deus Ex because it's a video game.
Boy 15: Funny. In the book, they need access to the mainframe computer that runs the whole entire city. Shakes head. And they just happen to be hanging out with the daughter of the guy who works with the mainframe. Or this random girl they meet in a coffee shop just happens to know a guy who can help them. Deus ex machina.
Me: I'm so glad you're paying attention in school.
Boy 15: Actually, I learned that from video games. Can I go back to my vacation now?
Me: Okay. Thanks. Hey, can we do this again? Maybe over February break? Sound of door slamming. Hello?