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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, thought-provoking -- a must-read
Sam Mills' latest novel for young adults is set in a terrifying dystopian future -- terrifying because, though we are not told exactly when it takes place, it's clear that it is not very many years on from our present. Kids still have game-boys, watch TV, read books. But -- and its a big but -- the books they read have all been "rewritten" to purge them of potentially...
Published on 30 Mar. 2010 by Harriet Devine

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a pretender
Mills starts failing in delivering an acceptable novel in the prologue - quite an accomplishment when you think about it - when he copies a certain motive from the excellent Mel Gibson/Julia Roberts movie"Conspiracy Theory"; everybody who has seen it will know what happens over two hundered pages later (in a 290 pages novel). Killing thrills has never been done any more...
Published on 28 Feb. 2012 by F. Paul Koontz


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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, thought-provoking -- a must-read, 30 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Blackout (Paperback)
Sam Mills' latest novel for young adults is set in a terrifying dystopian future -- terrifying because, though we are not told exactly when it takes place, it's clear that it is not very many years on from our present. Kids still have game-boys, watch TV, read books. But -- and its a big but -- the books they read have all been "rewritten" to purge them of potentially radical thinking. The originals -- and they include 1984, Of Mice and Men, the Harry Potter books and The Catcher in the Rye -- are banned, and anyone caught reading them will be punished. For this is a harsh world, with public hangings in Trafalgar Square, an Institution for rebellious kids to be brainwashed into obedience, "Good Behaviour Pills" to keep pupils on the straight and narrow, and prison ships offshore for suspected terrorists. Young Stefan, the narrator, gets thrown into the midst of all this when his father, a bookshop owner, is taken away by the police after he is found to be hiding a subversive Muslim writer in their house. Stefan's life becomes a nightmare, first because he has been so brainwashed that he believes his father is wicked and later because he comes to realise the truth of what is really going on.
This is a truly thought-provoking book, which is not afraid to raise difficult issues and to admit that nothing is entirely black and white. Exciting and unputdownable -- highly recommended.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book!, 1 April 2011
By 
J. Evans (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blackout (Paperback)
This book is an exciting and thought-provoking read, making you really think about where our society is heading. Terrorism, mind-control and censorship are combined in a thrilling storyline which has parallels with Orwell's 1984 (particularly when the author alludes to the rewriting of books, including 1984).

This book came joint first in our school library reading club's vote on their favourite books from this year's Carnegie Medal longlist, together with Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness. Ness is deservedly in this year's shortlist, but Black Out is not - a reflection on the judges rather than the book, I feel.

Can't wait for the next one.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a pretender, 28 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Blackout (Paperback)
Mills starts failing in delivering an acceptable novel in the prologue - quite an accomplishment when you think about it - when he copies a certain motive from the excellent Mel Gibson/Julia Roberts movie"Conspiracy Theory"; everybody who has seen it will know what happens over two hundered pages later (in a 290 pages novel). Killing thrills has never been done any more brilliantly! The rest of the novel is blatantly unoriginal (terrorist attack, Big Brother dystopia...) and the protagonist often behaves so utterly stupid and unbelievably that you want to scream in frustration. There is little suspense, no action and the epilogue is the most arrogant I-am-such-an-awesome-author-shoulderpatting that you can only shake your head. There are so many talented YA authors out there that you should definitely not waste your money on that Orwell wannabe.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant and highly original book, 9 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Blackout (Paperback)
Sam Mills is one of the most exciting writers we have today and 'Black Out' is a stunning and totally absorbing story that grabs you on page one and doesn't let you go. I instantly connected with Stefan and loved the relationship between him and his father, and I'm still having nightmares about the scene in Trafalgar Square!

If you want to read something totally unique, buy this book. It's a fabulous addition to my Sam Mills collection (don't forget the equally brilliant and thought-provoking 'The Boys Who Saved the World' and 'A Nicer Way to Die').

Thanks for a great read, Sam. I'm already looking forward to the next one!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Black out - Gritty, hard hitting, honest., 10 Dec. 2012
By 
g (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blackout (Paperback)
Read if: you want some YA fiction thats a bit meatier and hard hitting than the usual

Don't read if: you want a fluffy read

Blackout is the first book by Sam Mills I've read, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm not a YA but tend to read a lot of YA books as I tend to like the themes better. However I'd been through a few `duds' in the genre lately and was apprehensive about this one.

Blackout is the story of a boy, Stefan who lives in a future London where many books are banned, the penalty for being in possession of a banned book is severe. His father owns a bookshop and tried to pass his love for books onto his son, but that's a far more of a difficult task when the books that are currently allowed are dull, safe and don't promote emotions like books should. The reason books are banned is all related to terrorism and rings very true in the current climate, Mills has picked a subject and run with a very good and thought provoking `what could happen'..

I don't like to give away the plots and twists of books I review, but the general story arc surrounds Stefan's discovery that his father is hiding a writer of a banned book, one related to terror no less.

Despite my reservations, Mills proves there is still live in the YA genre, and her gritty, troubling and touching story, with characters that are not always likeable, but definitely human, it is a must read. There are few negatives, I felt the core of the story took a while to get going, and it could of gone longer and further.

I'm looking forward to sampling Mills other offerings and I didn't want the book to end, always a good sign!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A downhill journey, 14 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Blackout (Paperback)
I did read this from start to end which at times was quite difficult. I enjoyed the prologue, but from there on forward things took a turn for the worse! The characters where in the main rather poorly drawn with the main protagonists seemingly all suffering from wild character swings and most had moments of unbelievable stupidity (as indeed did many of the incidental characters who drifted in and out of the chapters). The main complaint is perhaps the overly simplistic and unrealistic nature of the tale then add an ending that was a total non-event, almost as though there was a chapter missing, a completely unsatisfying book in many ways. Probably the first and last book I'll try from this author.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars black out, 11 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Blackout (Paperback)
this book was really good fun, It took me for a while to think of the main character as a boy rather than as a girl, but other than that it was a good adventure - a modern 1984.
Sam keeps you guessing, no stereotype story lines - you never know if the heroes win or all end up dead - I loved it!
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Blackout by Sam Mills (Paperback - 4 Feb. 2010)
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