I need to preface this review with this: A great many reviewers, whose opinions I highly respect, loved this book, but this was one of those times where I completely disagree with them. This is a perfect example of the old saying, "You can't please everybody all the time." Not everyone is going to have the same experience with the books they read. I pretty much hated this book, and, now, I will try to explain why.
My distaste for this book began around the time I realized that Curran's favorite adverb is "very". Everything is very scary or very cold or very dark. Verily. I noted this, and even went as far as highlighting every instance of the word. There were two places where "very" was used three times... in one paragraph. Mind you, I missed a great many before I started tallying, but I still ended up with 15 by the 32% mark. This is a novella, so I'm guessing this was about page 40 or so. That's around the time I gave up the count. Then, at the 62% mark, Curran found another crutch word with which to bloat his text. This gem was "just". "Something we were all just fine with..." "we just pretended not to notice..." "it was just an optical illusion..." "just waiting for something..." I "just" did a search on my Kindle app for the word "just" and came back with too many instances to count. Try it yourself, and when you're done, try searching for "very". It ruined the book for me.
On top of all the word repetition, Curran has a problem with vague antecedents and passive writing. I refuse to count how many times sentences began with "It was..." or "There was..." Oddly enough, I do not blame Curran for this. I blame his editing team. They let him down. It seemed there was no effort taken to provide a flow for the book. BLACKOUT reads like something turned in to a creative writing course. Or perhaps "just" a "very" clean first draft.
Then we have silly foibles like: That's exactly what I thought as I jogged up the steps to get inside myself. I do wonder what he'll do once he's inside himself (wink, wink, snicker, snicker). A simple rearrangement of one word could have fixed this goofy-sounding sentence. Example: That's exactly what I thought myself as I jogged up the steps to get inside. See? All better.
The story itself does nothing new or worth mentioning, but I will say it reminded me of a hybrid built from the bones of King's THE MIST and the flesh of Brian Keene's THE DARKNESS AT THE EDGE OF TOWN. Maybe throw in a bit of INDEPENDENCE DAY and, more recently, SKYLINE. The characters are unremarkable, even the MC, Jon, is just an Every Man. His name might as well have been Jon Smith. The only character we get more than a passing feel for is Bonnie, who seemed to have some deep-seated issues involving sex.
In summation: I truly wanted to like this book. The cover art is fantastic, and I'd heard so many good things about Curran that I decided to request this one from NetGalley. Unfortunately, based on what I found here, it will be some time before I give him another chance.
*I received this book in return for my unbiased review, which you have just read. Thank you to DarkFuse and NetGalley for the chance to read this book.*