This is the first book I´ve ever read by the author. I was bored, wanted something to read and went to my library, where I found this first part of a Sci-Fi trilogy. It sounded very interesting, so I took it home. Usually, I am not that much of a fan when it comes to Sci-Fi books. I don´t actually know why that is in particular but I guess it got something to do with the fact that I am no tech girl. But the cover caught my attention and the back text sounded some kind of promising, so why not read it?

Black Out*
by Andreas Eschbach
Out Series #1
Publisher Arena on May 1, 2010
Genre Thriller
Pages 461
Format Hardcover
Source Library

A World in which no one is alone. A 17-year-old, who has unique skills. And a hunt, that will stay unprecedented. Christopher is on the run. Together with the peers Serenity he is on the road in the desert of Nevada. Somewhere out there must live Serenity´s father, the visionary Jeremiah Jones, who has forsworn all technique, after he had seen which danger the worldwide connection could bring.
But an elopement from the technique – is that today even possible? Serenity soon senses, on what and especially to whom she got involved with. ´Cause the inscrutable Christopher is not just somebody. Christopher has once done the most famous hack in history. And now he is in the possessing of a secret, that couldn´t be any more dramatic: The days of humankind, as we know her, are numbered.
What if, the knowledge and the thoughts of an individual are now available for an entire group? Wouldn´t then freedom and unity rule on earth? Would the human being finally no more be so horrendous alone? Or could thereby a power arise that would become the world´s biggest thread? 
Christopher is the Computer Kid and infamous for a hack, that brought the worldwide banking system down within a few days. For him, it was the only way to save his mother and family from another catastrophe: their complete financial ruin. But as always, one disaster doesn´t come alone. And Christopher finds himself within no time in another debacle; one with an epic extent. A former friend of his family forces his father to implant a tiny chip into Christopher´s head and all of a sudden he is part of something called coherence. But from the beginning Christopher is again special because he can do something, the rest can´t. And that puts him into an even more dangerous position as before and his life at stake.

Andreas Eschbach wrote with Black Out, the first part of his Out Trilogy, a wonderful Young Adult thriller. You can feel from the very first page, that Christopher is more but only a normal 17-year-old. Okay, I have to admit that the first few chapters were a bit confusing, ´cause the author jumps back and forth between Christopher´s past and the present of the story itself where Serenity becomes involved. But after a few pages, it becomes clear, that this is the way how Andreas Eschbach introduces his two main figures to the reader.

Written in the personal point of view from Christopher and Serenity, the reader is thrown into a well-written plot and gets to know what the two main figures think, consider and why they act the way they do. But not anything is revealed to the reader immediately. Bit by bit shows the author the beginning war between those few human beings, which are devoted to living without as much technology as possible, and the ones, who call themselves “The Upgrader” and which build the coherence. Which by the way kind of reminded me somehow of “The Borg” from Star Trek.

The language is clear, simple and even those pages, where the author brings in some technical stuff, are easy to understand – even for those ones who aren´t so firm when technique gets involved. The author describes a beautiful landscape so great and with only a few words, I could actually see the sea, where Serenity and Madonna where having their bath and fun. There are wonderful scenes, interesting characters and some really fun dialogues to find in this thriller.

The author is no man of big words when it comes to its characters. He is more the kind of author who lets the figures show how they tick and why they do what they do by their actions. It is very amusing to see how Christopher feels and that everything he does has a certain reason. And when the others find out, that he is right about a few things and that he has a very unique if not the only way to deal with the problem, the Upgraders seem to be, it becomes soon very clear to the reader, that as a teenager he has a very unusual life behind him and an even more unusual right ahead.

Yes, Andreas Eschbach has a nice way to entertain the reader without risking that his reader would get bored on one page or the other. And I am really looking forward to reading the next book of this series: Hide Out. So, yes, I can really recommend this book to others – at least to those ones, who like to read thrillers with a bit of a scientific touch in it.

Happy reading

*This book is currently / at the time this review was written, only available in the German language.

Andreas Eschbach

Andreas Eschbach, born in Ulm, Germany, studied Aerodynamics at the Technical University of Stuttgart. With his books he climbed definitive into squad of the German Top-Thriller authors. His books for young readers are published at Arena Verlag. In 1996 he won one of the highest awards of German science fiction, the SFCD-Literature Award. And he is prize winner of the great German science fiction award, the Kurd Laßwitz Award, too. Today he is considered to be one of the most successful German SF writers ever. He lives as a freelance writer with his family at the French Atlantic coast.


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