Book Review: Blackbird by Anna Carey

Posted September 10, 2014 by Stormy in Books / 6 Comments


by Anna Carey


Expected Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Length: 304 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins

Obtained Via: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via Edelweiss from the publisher. I was not compensated for this review, and this is no way affects my opinion of the book.
Format Read In: E-ARC
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the story morning glory

This twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.

A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her.

On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined.

The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists.


If you read the blurb for this book, I want you to scrub the phrase “The Maze Runner meets Code Name Verity” from your mind. Go ahead, do it. I have no idea who came up with that comparison, but there’s nary a bit of Code Name Verity in Blackbird. A better description would include the short story “The Most Dangerous Game”. If you never had to read this short story in high school, it’s the story of a man who finds himself on an island with a hunter–of humans. This hunter has gotten bored with just hunting big game and wants to hunt game that can think for itself and be smart–aka, other humans. The setting might be slightly different–LA instead of a remote island–but the plot is more or less the same.

Blackbird is pure thriller. It gets off to an awkward start in the middle of the action. The main character finds herself lying on the train tracks, a train speeding at her. She manages to survives and realizes she can’t remember anything. She doesn’t know her name or why she’s in the city. She realizes, though, that she’s resourceful and smart. Things like covering her tracks and breaking locks come naturally to her. As she tries to piece together the story of her life, she realizes she’s a pawn in a much larger game.

Blackbird is told entirely in second person, which made me nervous. My experience with second person is limited to the first few chapters of Half Bad, a book that didn’t work for me at all, and creative writing exercises from previous classmates. The second person was jarring at first, but it didn’t take me as long to adjust to it as I thought it would. It’s one of the few times I can see second person going right, because I really did feel like I was being put at the center of the action.

It can be really annoying to read about characters who don’t remember things and then the book drags out, purposely keeping the reader in the dark. There’s a special talent between keeping up the suspense and making sure the reader doesn’t get too frustrated with the secrets being drawn out. For the most part, Blackbird succeeds at this. There are a few scenes that take place outside of LA that are present mostly in flashback. The purposes of most of these is still a mystery at the end of the book, despite a few answers. Out of all the information revealed in Blackbird, I think a little more about that could have been in the story. Obviously with a duology not everything will be answered in the first book but I felt I really needed more to go on for that aspect. Other than that, the information-withholding never seemed purposefully drawn out for the sake of suspense. The pace was quick and the plot well-executed, and again, thrilling. I don’t remember the last book that left me holding my breath.



If you like fast-paced thrillers, I recommend giving Blackbird a shot. While not without a few flaws, it was an exciting read and one of the few examples of second person done right. 4/5 cupcakes.




4 Stars

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6 responses to “Book Review: Blackbird by Anna Carey

    • Stormy

      It was definitely an interesting thriller! The 2nd person was a little tricky to get used to but I actually adjusted to it faster than I thought I would.

  1. I haven’t thought about that short story ‘The Most Dangerous Game’ in years…but I remember reading it in high school. You’re right about second person being a very tricky narrative. I find it a bit off-putting, but I’m thinking I might give it a chance with this book. It sounds like a fun, fast-paced read. (Which is kind of what I’m in the mood for.) Great review!

    • Stormy

      It’s one of the short stories that has really stuck with me–I think about it every time there’s a plot that involves people hunting people(though I’m sure that’s not always where the inspiration comes from).

  2. Second person narration is SO interesting! Outside of epistolary books, I don’t think I’ve ever really read it. I did somewhat enjoy Carey’s Eve trilogy also, though that was a much different genre, etc. I’ve really been getting into thrillers a lot lately, too, so this might work for me!

    • Stormy

      I’ve only read a few short stories written in actual second person(and quite a few that break the fourth wall, but not to the extent of it being a POV). I know this one didn’t work for some people, but I’m glad I gave it a shot just because of the unique narration.

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