Book Review: Strikers by Ann Christy
As an avid fan of dystopian novels, I was thrilled when I won a copy of all of Ann Christy’s published works through a contest back in February. Strikers sat beautifully on my shelf until March, when I packed it into my suitcase in the hopes of sneaking in a few pages while on a family vacation. I picked it up the first night and read half of it; I only put it away because I knew I’d be too sleep-deprived to deal with my kids the next day if I didn’t. I finished the novel the second night; that was three months ago and the book still stays with me. This is a must-read and if I could have given it more than 5 stars, I would have!
Strikers by Ann Christy
Category: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Dystopian
Publication: July 16th, 2014
One hundred and twelve years after the fall, the Republic of Texas is built on two foundations: total freedom and total responsibility. Every citizen is free to do what they like, when they like, but they must take responsibility for each action. With such an ideal to strive for, life should be good and for many, it is. But there are flaws in every system and some people will always fall through the cracks.
Karas Quick has fallen through almost every crack there is. Her mother is an abusive alcoholic. Her father is a long missing Striker with four strikes against him and a date with Justice should he ever be found. At sixteen, she just has to survive two more years until she reaches majority without getting five strikes. But it’s getting harder not to fight back and earn yet another strike tattoo on her neck.
Everything changes one ordinary day watching the latest catch of smugglers and Strikers being returned for justice. Within their ranks is the father Karas can’t even remember. And he has a message.
Spoiler-Free Review:[book rating=5.0/5.0]
I read Strikers while I was on vacation, and after I finished, I had a major book hangover for the rest of the trip. I couldn’t navigate myself out of the amazing dystopian world that Ann Christy created; a mix of old west and future bleakness, the Texas in the novel is a gritty, dusty, brutal police state. It is also home to Karas Quick, a teenage girl whose father has been missing for years and whose mother is an abusive alcoholic; thus, Karas must rely upon her own cunning and the help of her friends to survive.
A strict judicial system presides over Karas’ town; if someone breaks the law, they are tattooed with a strike upon their neck, hence the title of the book. Collect five strikes and you’re out of luck. The novel starts with Karas and her friends witnessing a group of Strikers being paraded through town toward their inevitable fates; as she watches, Karas is confronted with a surprise that will change her life and the lives of her friends, forcefully and irrevocably.
There are so many things that impressed me about this book. Firstly, Ann Christy builds worlds like nobody else I’ve read. I was immersed in the book, to the point where I felt coated with the same dust and heat with which the main characters struggled. Ms. Christy writes vividly and crisply; she is precise but not choppy. I had no trouble believing anything in the book. I can’t imagine the lengths she went to in terms of geographical and historical research to craft such a realistic world, from the vegetation to the communication, from topography to transportation.
Karas is a dimensional, nuanced character who withstands abuse, neglect, near-starvation, and the realization that most everything she has been told as fact is actually fiction. She is loyal and protective, qualities that are necessary in any well-crafted heroine; however, she is also flawed, as every good character must be.
The supporting cast of characters is fully realized. The relationships are powerful and poignant. I shed a few tears and may have cursed Ms. Christy occasionally.
The book ends with the opportunity for a sequel, for which I am desperate and for which I have bugged Ms. Christy shamelessly.
5/5 Stars. Loved it! Deep, beautiful, vivid, sad, haunting; in short, everything a perfect dystopian novel should be!