Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum

Revolution 19Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum
Published by: HarperTeen on January 8, 2013
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Pages: 272
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on AmazonBook Details

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.

Revolution 19 is so far my biggest disappointment of winter 2013 releases. I thought it was going to be AMAZING! With a great cover and a great blurb, I envisioned a crazy world thrown into war and chaos, with Terminator Transformers whooping ass left and right and a group of brave teens standing up for FREEDOM and THE FREE WORLD and THE RIGHT TO LIVE! What did I get? A book that reads very much like a lame cartoon with 12-year-old “save the world!” kids as the main characters.

Let’s start with the world building: that’s easy because there was none. I read the blurb about how robots were designed to fight human wars and then turned their weapons against the humans. I thought OMG THIS IS AWESOME! I’ll get to learn all about this war, why and how humans created robots, what went wrong, maybe they got too intelligent or there was a glitch in the software, and how the robots decided to take over the world, and what steps they took, and what their end-game was….. nope. None of that. The ONLY piece of world building information we get is in one tiny paragraph in the beginning that basically reiterates the synopsis.

At first we called it system-wide malfunctions when the robots stopped fighting at exactly 2:15 P.M. Greenwich mean time, August 17, 2051. They had been designed by humans to fight our wars, but for twenty-two hours the battlefields were silent. We called it a blessing and the beginning of a new peace. Then when the robots began killing again, now targeting their human commanders, we shook our heads and called it fatal programming errors. When, a day later, the skies over cities on six continents grew dark with warships, we began to understand. And when the bombs rained down and then legions of bot footsoldiers marched into the burning ruins, killing any humans who resisted and dragged away the rest of us, we finally called it what it was: revolution.
Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum

That was the end of the world building. After that, we just know the robots are there and accept it. No more questions answered. No more world developed. That’s it.

If you’re going to write a scary robots-take-over-the-world sci-fi book—the kind that people love to imagine might happen—why would you make the robots lame? This is the stuff people love to fantasize about! They love imagining extremely high-tech humanoid robots with fierce intelligence and crazy weaponry. So please explain to me why you would choose to load up your book with robots that just sound… lame?

Nervous WALL-E
Please don’t hurt me

[The robot] was roughly the shape of a man, but broader, taller, more boxlike, and rolling rather than stepping.

Their faces were the same dull metal as the rest of their bodies, flat and featureless except for two rectangular openings where eyes would be.

Robots that are boxlike? They have WHEELS? Their faces are flat and featureless? Are we talking about WALL-E? Is that what we’re so afraid of? When I imagine robots—especially ones that take over the world—I imagine looking into their HUMAN-LIKE eyes and seeing fierce, scary intelligence. I imagine them being scary and metallic, but also molded in the human image—not boxlike. The more similar they are to humans, the scarier the story. But instead of going that route, Revolution 19 loaded up its book with robots that are essentially big boxes on wheels.

Okay, onto the characters. I didn’t care about any single character in the book. First, apparently they’re teenagers:

“How old are you?” asked Mrs. Tanner.
“I’m seventeen,” said Nick. “My sister is fifteen, and my brother is thirteen.”
Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum

But ALL of them act like 12-year-olds. They’re all immature, make stupid decisions, and bicker over ridiculous things. Oh and Lexi “flirts” the way a girl might flirt in 6th grade.

“[Kevin] hated when Nick called him ‘Kid.’ Like Nick was so grown up and Kevin was just a useless little child.”
Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum

The character development was non-existent. Each character is given a very specific personality at the beginning of the book, and they maintain it from start to finish. They don’t grow, they don’t change, they don’t get better. Kevin is the tech geek who is miraculously some kind of computer/tech genius, despite living in the forest all his life. Anytime he seems a comm or a TV or any piece of technology he goes “OMG I HAVE TO LEARN EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS!” Cass is the sporty girl. That’s about it. She’s athletic, she runs fast, and any time there’s any kind of sports or movement-related thing, she just dominates at it. And then there’s Nick. Since Nick is the oldest, he’s the “brave” one who’s all self-sacrificing and has to leap into all danger (stupidly) in order to “protect his family.” This results in him making loads of stupid decisions that oftentimes compromise their goal. One example:

Lexi takes Nick & Co. to the re-education center, where they think maybe their parents are being held. Lexi gives them one simple instruction: don’t get too close. The area is surrounded with CPs and if they get too close, the robots will spot them and apprehend them immediately.

“Can we get closer?” says Nick. [..]
“No,” said Amanda[..]. “Come on, let’s go back.”
“Amanda’s right,” said Lexi. “Not safe.”
“Come on, just a few blocks closer,” said Nick. He knew it wasn’t smart, that he was pressing his luck, but they were here now, and he had to get a closer look.
“I need to get closer.” [Nick] took a step toward the checkpoint.
Lexi grabbed his arm. “No, you idiot!” she hissed.
“I need to look!” Nick said, too loudly, yanking his arm away.
The robot, with a graceful burst of speed, glided over the kids’ heads and then hovered in front of them on the sidewalk. “YOU WILL HALT AND RECEIVE YOUR INFRACTION, OR YOU WILL BE DETAI—” The robot cut itself off mid-word and began pulsing a bright red. “YOU ARE LACKING IDENTIFICATION IMPLANTS. REMAIN HERE AND YOU WILL BE PEACEFULLY DETAINED.”
Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum

So Lexi says “Don’t go closer, you’ll get caught” about 8 times, Nick doesn’t listen all 8 times, Nick gets caught and almost captured, Lexi (smartly) runs away, then when Nick sees her next, he thinks to himself:

He grinned back at her, feeling his cheeks flush, but then reminded himself, as he broke into a jog toward the door, that Lexi and Amanda had abandoned them back at the re-education center.
Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum

Yeah, she abandoned you because YOU didn’t listen to her and YOU got yourself caught. Did you seriously expect her to stick around and risk her life for your stupidity? [/rage] Kevin made countless stupid decisions like this that ultimately didn’t help anyone. It was extremely frustrating for me to see him make bad move after bad move, and it’s not like they were stupid decisions that happened to have a good outcome.. most of them were just really pointless and if anything, they jeopardized their goal.

Finally, the plot. The reason I compared Revolution 19 to a cartoon, is because it has that “kids have all the power” vibe. Robots take over the world, the poor helpless parents get captured, and only the kids can SAVE THE WORLD! Sounds like a cartoon, does it not?

And like a cartoon, this book is also riddled with happy coincidences. Any time something goes wrong, someone shows up to save the day. The kids are lost in the forest, and a random dude stumbles out who they get directions from. The kids go into a restaurant, order their food, realize they have no money and don’t know how to pay, and they meet Lexi, a girl who decides to help them because she’s bored. The kids are being chased by robots and have nowhere to hide, and they run into a sympathetic storeowner who lets them hide in their basement. The kids can’t go around town because they don’t have identity chips, and Lexi happens to know someone who can make fake ones… etc.

And before anyone gets excited, there is no romance in Revolution 19, even though it was promised in the blurb. There is a 17-year-old boy (or a 12-year-old in a 17-year-old body), and a similarly aged girl, but that’s it. They kiss ONCE, randomly. But there is no romance. There is no flirting (unless you count the girl calling Nick a “rock star” a million times), there is no sexual tension, there is no love, there is no lust; there is only one silly kiss.

“You broke out?” said Lexi. “And made it across town again?” She smiled. “Now you’re just trying to impress me.”
Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum

At the end of the day, Revolution 19 might be a book geared towards kids.. Like 12-year-olds. It has that vibe; it has characters who feel really young, it has a somewhat ridiculous plot that may appeal to daydreaming young’uns, and maybe to a 12-year-old that boy-girl relationship might seem romantic. But for your average young adult, Revolution 19 sums up to being very sub-par on all levels. If you’re looking for something dangerous, dark, intense, and full of frightening robots and mind-blowing action, don’t read this book. Go read Partials by Dan Wells instead. Now THAT’S a book about creepy, intelligent robots taking over the world. And it’s epic.

The Verdict


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  1. Yikes! This sounds like a disaster! I’m very glad I didn’t request the book when I saw it on Edelweiss.
    The lack of world-building, the bland characters and the lack of romance would put me off as well.
    I hate it when a dystopian has no world-building because that’s the most important part. And those robots do not sound scary at all.
    The characters would probably make me want to bang my head against the wall.
    Anyways, I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you, Ashley! Hopefully, your next robot book will live up to your expectations.
    Thank you for the honest and fabulous review! 🙂

    Nick @ Nick's Book Blog recently posted: Review : Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
    1. I completely agree. Dystopians should be all about the world building. For me, that’s by far the most important part! And to be honest, it seemed like the robots just wanted to live peacefully with human.. maybe be in charge, but still live peacefully. So the whole “they want to destroy us” thing… didn’t happen!

  2. As much as I wish you didn’t have to endure this, I’m thankful you read it first so I don’t have to. Ridiculous. I get so flustered with characters making dumb decisions and still the hero at the end of the day anyway. And writers who can’t seem to get their characters ages to match their personalities. And lack of world building. And lame robots claimed to be all menacing. Yeah, this clearly isn’t the book for me. Thanks for writing this review (and so honestly) so I know not to get giddy about it.

    1. Ugh I totally agree. Stupid characters just annoy me! I want characters I admire and can look up to—not ones I roll my eyes at all the time!!

    1. I really hope you like it Bree! There have been a couple 4 star reviews, so not all hope is lost! 😛 Good luck!

  3. I don’t think I have seen a single positive review for this book. I am grateful to all of you bloggers who got an Edelweiss copy and reviewed it so that I know not to waste my money on this one! There are too many other good books out there to buy instead. Plus, sci-fi really is not my thing anyway, unless it is written by Beth Revis!

    1. Ahhh, Beth Revis. That woman is amazing. I CANNOT FREAKING WAIT FOR SHADES OF EARTH!!!!!!! *ahem*

    1. Thank you Brittany! If you’re looking for a (GOOD) book like this to read, I highly recommend Partials! It’s a very similar story (humans make robots then they take over), but it’s an AMAZING book!!! And book two comes out in like February I think?

  4. Oh gosh. I probably will hate it. It´s probably not even worth reading my e-ARC . Don´t you just hate it when the blurb is the best part? It’s like, here, I cared enough about my book to spend more than 5 minutes writing a synopsis so you´lo actually- maybe- care about reading this. Great review sis! You totally pulled off the hate and annoyance smoothly. 😉

    xoxo, Inky

    1. If you don’t like dystopians then you really won’t like this book. It’s dystopian and it’s bad. If you want to give dystopian a try, read a good one!! 😀

  5. Oh I feel so disappointed on so many levels. You’re the second person that I follow that rated it 1 star. Like you, by the sound of the blurb I was excited and expected humanized robots (like the ones from Partials) and an epic story. No world building and bland characters will bore the pants off me. Now I’m not sure I’ll even bother with this one. There are so many great books out that I haven’t read yet that I’ll read before I bother with this one.
    Thanks for the awesome review. =)

    1. That’s a good idea Sabina! Life is too short to read books that aren’t great 😉 I mean, there’s always a chance you might like it more than I did, but give the “generally accepted to be really good” books priority!

    1. Yeah.. I almost made a cartoon comic strip to describe the plot.. but then I realized it wasn’t worth my time LOL.

  6. I love wall-E! Although, I prefer to watch the movie.

    Interesting and informative review.

  7. OMG. I thought that this book sounded so fantastic– and I’m not going to lie. It still kind of does. But I’m a bit turned off of it, because, seriously? I hate when books don’t deliver. I hate it when the characters just aren’t mature enough for YA books– it makes it seem like the author just didn’t think that the kids would notice. Or care. And honestly, some may not. And you’re so right! When I think of scary robots with an epic story surrounding them, I do think of PARTIALS. Because it was completely amazing– and had a tad bit of romance. 😉

    Anywho, I didn’t mean to rant or anything, but I’m sorry that you didn’t like it. 🙁 I might try it, though– just to see if I feel the same way. Fab review, Ashley! (:

    1. I’m glad you liked Partials too!! I LOVED that book! I’m bummed that Revolution 19 wasn’t more like it, because I thought this book would be SOOO good! You should still give it a chance, because you never know when you might feel differently! I hope you enjoy it more than I did. 🙂

    1. You should totally read Partials!! It’s amaaaazing! And the second book comes out in a few weeks I think. 🙂

    1. LOL! For your sake, I hope you enjoy this more than I did. Or you might be clawing your eyes out. GOOD LUCK!!

  8. It’s too bad this didn’t live up to your expectations, it seems like it has the potential to be really great. I liked your review!

    1. Thank you Taylor!! Apparently it is being made into a movie too. I’m curious to see how that pans out. Hopefully they make the characters more interesting, act their age, and make the robots epic. Usually I trust Hollywood to make good action movies lol!

  9. This is now the second negative review I’ve read on Revolution 19 (and I’m pretty sure my grand total of reviews read on it is also 2). It does sound like something is off about this book, which is unfortunate. As you said, it has a really cool premise and it sounds like the delivery just isn’t there. But maybe the issue is in the marketing then, if it seems better suited for younger kids. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this!

    And I really want to read Partials! I am watching Battlestar Galactica now though, so I want to finish the show the book is inspired by before reading the book. But it will happen.

    Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books recently posted: In My Mailbox #10
  10. Haven’t been hearing great things about this one at all. I am definitely skipping it since this is like the 4th really critical review I have seen. Which is a shame because I really wanted to read this one. But I’m not wasting my time. I am ridiculously picky these days. Great review.

  11. I’m so not reading this one. It sounds horrible. And usually, I don’t mind negative reviews much, but there are even quotes in yours to prove your point, and the quotes really make me not want to read it. Thank you for informing me and saving me from possibly wasting my time on a book that I won’t enjoy.

  12. WOW. You totally stated everything I couldn’t stand about this book in a way I couldn’t. YES YES AND YES. Many of the times I felt irritated with the story I couldn’t put it into words, or pinpoint the exact why.
    FABULOUS job, Ashley!

    Oh, and by the way, your new design is AMAZING. I love it! It’s so simple and clean! Maybe some day I can make the big switch over to WordPress…

    1. Thank you so much Jessi!! I agree with your thoughts 100%. I thought it was going to be very Partials-esque. But the two aren’t on the same playing fields AT ALL.

      And you should totally switch to WordPress! Not that I’m biased or anything…. 😉

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