Blackout, Marc Elsberg

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One night, the lights go out across Europe. The electrical grids collapse on an epic scale and unleash a devastating chaos in the total blackout. And unbeknownst to the general population, nuclear reactors are starting to overheat…
When a former hacker and activist who knows a thing or two about infiltrating networks starts investigating the cause of this disaster, he soon becomes a prime suspect. As threats to the United States start to emerge, he goes on the run with a young American reporter based in Paris, racing desperately to turn the lights back on. Because if they stay off, tomorrow may be too late.

What a thrilling journey Blackout was! This novel kept me on tender hooks the whole way through and to the very end and I was completely immersed in this frightening, terrifying but brilliant world. I read a lot of thrillers but I do tend to avoid thrillers which involve financial crime or hacking crime. This novel is about a hacker/terrorist attack and normally I would avoid this kind of novel but it has been praised all over the world so finally I picked it up I could not put it down; it was thrilling, intense and kept my heart racing the whole way through.

When the power suddenly wipes out across Europe people are confused and worried. However people have experienced power cuts before and just assume that this is a temporary anomaly and that electricity will soon be restored although I am sure you lovely readers by now can gather that it wont be anytime soon! This part of the novel was a real eye opener for me; to read just how reliant our modern day society’s infrastructure relies on power was fascinating. The seeds of unrest soon start to show when hours and then days past with still no electricity and people are sadly dying due to starvation and the coldness and whats worse is that power stations begin to post a great danger amidst other grave concerns. The story shifts from country to country including Germany, France, UK, Netherlands and Austria and this shows how grave the problem is.

At this point in the novel we are introduced to Manzano; a former hacker who has been tasked with officials to restore the power and unravel the mystery and web of secrets that engulf this case and ultimately find out who is responsible. However because of his criminal past as a hacker the government soon start placing him under suspicion so this unfortunately forces him to go on the run with Paris based American journalist – Shannon. Manzano and Shannon together must team up and find out who is behind this atrocious terrorism attack to clear his name but to also prevent a global catastrophe.


The premise of this book is wildly cleaver and brilliant. I thought the terrorism attack was very telling of the time we live in today and how as humans we are desperately dependant and reliant on electricity for our lives to function. Without it we would be lost. There would be no water from the tap, no way to cook food, no way to fill up your gas tank, no way to pay for items unless you have cash, the world would struggle massively if this ever happened so lets just pray that it never does! I do think that our dependence on technology is sad because I personally love the natural way of life. Me and my family try to live a life without much technology, and instead of shopping for eggs and milk etc we have cows and chickens as well as other farm animals to help us!

Blackout is a fast paced thriller that forensically examines our reliance of power as the darkness begins to take hold. One of the best things about this novel beside the chilling plot is how it captures the unravelling of a contemporary society facing a tidal wave of incidents and tragedies accumulating and outlines just how vulnerable this world is with regard to its dependence on power.

Elsbery’s writing is fantastic and immediately I got the impression that he is incredibly smart and has researched the matters in this novel at great length. There is a lot of technical terminology mentioned in this book but it is done in a way that ensures the reader understands it, which is very important – especially for somebody like me who does not understand all those technical words! When it does get a bit complicated it is normally explained by a character that doesn’t have much knowledge of computers also which means it very easy to follow!

I have to say that I really liked our two main characters Manzano & Shannon. They have a brilliant partnership and you cant help but really love seeing them work together and decode all the events with their analytical minds. At first I almost felt that they were looking out for their own interests as so many people do but you soon realise when they are working together that this is not the case and in turn they make a wonderful partnership.

As a reader reading this book you will go through a range of emotions, because this is so much more than a fast paced thriller. There will be huge highs when something great happens but there will also be scenes which are poignant and heartbreaking at the worst points of the blackout and some of these scenes will end up staying with you for a long time.

To summarise my thoughts on Blackout I would say that if you are looking for a poignant, fast paced, thought-provoking thriller then this is the book for you! This wonderful book gets Four Stars from me!

Thank you so much as ever for reading book lovers! I appreciate it so much. Do let me know whether the premise of this novel fascinates you and whether you could see yourself reading it. I would love to know! Also if you have the time please check out my updated review of Gone Girl! Please comment below and I will get back to you, thank you so much again!

Goodbye for now book lovers,

P.S. Please see attached a preview of this wonderful novel! If you like what you have read then if you click buy me it will take you straight to Amazon U.K. and if you are international then look at the Book Depository link underneath it! Thank you so much again!

Book Depository

Publisher; Penguin – Black Swan



75 thoughts on “Blackout, Marc Elsberg

  1. Still on the same wavelength, you and me! Haha! I know I read a book called “Blackout” – I’m just not sure if it was *this* one or not! lol – often there is more than one book with the same title. (For example, my son-in-law’s book Necropolis, which just came out… I saw that there were other books on Amazon with the same title. Good thing, though, many of them have subtitles. I was glad to see that Shane – my son-in-law – added one to his book’s title too: Necromancer Thanatography Book One. There’s already enough confusion in this world! 😀 ) Anyway, re Blackout, reason I can’t remember is that I’ve read SO MANY of these apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic tales in the past couple of years – I was on a roll, what can I tell you, haha! the point is they’re sort of all mushed together in my addled brain, at this point. I’m sure it was as good as you’re describing, it’s just that it kind of blended in with all the others, as I say. Ay yi. Well now I’m delving back into USA Inc, by Larry Kahaner, which seems to be very good so far! TTYL! xo

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re being way too hard in yourself. Anyway you’re a pretty busy person right now already, with a bunch of kiddies including twins!!! You can always branch out from reviews later on if you want. 😸

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review. The novel sounds interesting.
    It’s so true how you take for granted modern technology and electricity until they are taken away. I went through two hurricanes where the electricity was out for weeks to a month. Society didn’t devolve. Most people were helpful, kind and went out of there way to help others. But, I guess that wouldn’t make for an interesting novel.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh, I love dystopian, thrillers, mystery, historical romances and YA. Actually, I enjoy adventure fiction and fantasy, too. So, basically half the genres in the world, hehe. I’m not partial to the likes of Jeffrey Deaver or James Patterson, you know the typical whodunnits in the adults section?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes that is exactly what I think! I think it can be a little insulting when they write books that fast because some writers wait years and years to finish their book because it is art and they want it to be remembered for centuries not months you know ? (:

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw this one and thought the cover looked awesome, then read the blurb and decided to pass. It looked too frighteningly close to home. Last year we were subjected to a series of power cuts, some lasting up to 3 or 4 hours long and very miserable it was, too. You suddenly realise just how very reliant you are on electricity when you don’t have any… So, I’ll take your word for it that it is a great read:). Thank you for a cracking review.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes – and that is the joy of talking to other readers:)). Given it is such a solitary pastime, unless we share and discuss our reactions we have no idea of how other people respond.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the recommendation, Aimee – there are a number of authors who I know are amazing, but I won’t go near. The current fashion for dark family-based psychological thrillers is a sub-genre I avoid at all costs.

        Liked by 1 person

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