I loved A Northern Light and The Tea Rose so I had high hopes for Revolution. However, I was quickly concerned due to the opening chapter which describes angsty, spoiled, "genius" kids who talk crap and even do drugs. I wonder if Donnelly was purposely trying to put so many things I cannot stand in one tiny chapter? Probably not but she succeeded anyway. Unlike the author's other YA novel, A Northern Light, the main character in this one is entirely unlikable and immature. Andi, despite being considered a genius, lacks common sense and maturity. The only area in which Andi seems to be "genius" is with music.
And therein lies another problem with the novel. The music aspects went completely overboard, to the point that only someone highly involved with music would even be interested in the concepts/features held in the book. In addition, the number of random bands mentioned, which were supposed to "highlight" the points Andi would be making, were largely obscure or at least unknown to me. Do I have to be some annoying angsty teen to understand the references? And not nearly as bad, but in the same vein, is Andi's father who goes on and on about DNA. Perhaps a leading scientist in this field would act this way but it is not enjoyable to read, and that is coming from someone who is a scientist at heart and has always loved genetics.
There were no characters I truly came to like, but I must say the characters in Paris were preferable to the ones in Brooklyn. But again, music overwhelms the plot, especially with the inclusion of the love interest and his incessant rapping.
Alex, the character during the French Revolution, is a step-up from Andi but I still did not connect with her. Her storyline is back and forth and with the inclusion of her talking to dead people it became slightly difficult to follow the timeline at times. Despite the drama surrounding the French Revolution I just could not come to care about anything Alex would detail. Another annoyance regarding Alex's parts were the lack of quotations, I HATE when authors choose to do this. Alex was just not believable for me.
Overall, the novel was much too long for what was accomplished. Had I never read Donnelly before I probably would not bother to read her again and I probably would have given up part way into the book. In addition to all the other problems the book also suffers from too many coincidences that are very obvious and leaves you rolling your eyes. And as for Andi, who we spend most of the time with, she is an intolerable lead character and I quite wanted her to walk off the Eiffel Tower.