Blackout

Connie_Willis-Blackout_2010

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     I found this book frustrating. It had a very interesting premise (time traveling to observe the past), but had too many plot holes, and was too long.

     The first of the plot holes is this: There is a person who supervises all the time travel, and he supposedly cares about them (the characters talk about his overprotectiveness frequently), but then he reschedules all their times, and essentially forces them go back in time relatively unprepared.

    Then these time travelers, who are said to be very capable and resourceful, are unable to figure out simple things. One says can’t get a black skirt that all shop girls have to have (and buy), because she can’t get to her drop (portal back to the future). Somehow, even though she was sent back with money, and is said to be smart, can’t figure out what to do. Hmmm……. Another can’t get out past an old gardener right before the house she was at is quarantined. Another is terrified about having changed the future, even though it is impossible. I fear with that one that is what will have happen, but that is a flaw on the author in considering time travel paradoxes, not in character development.

     Speaking of what will happen, the book is part of a series, but is not marked on the cover. This is one of my biggest pet peeves with book. Another is when a book is too stretched out, and has a sequel. This book is both. When you follow the perspectives of multiple people, and it takes 300 pages for them all to figure out the same thing (broken drops) that the reader figured out with the first, something is wrong.

     The last thing that bugged me is that the historians, that went into the past, to study the past, know what is going to happen, and even though their premises are looking for how people behaved or felt, don’t keep any observations. Maybe if you are looking for what makes people heroes, send back a sociologist, or for the effect of war on peoples lives, a psychologist?

   The book wasn’t horrible, it did have some positive points, it showed that past people were people too, and history is more than dates and times.

     Overall, it wasn’t great. If you are looking for good World War II historical fiction, read The Book Thief.

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