Sixteen-year-old Karas Quick has never had it easy. The daughter of a Striker and an alcoholic mother, she's gotten everything she has the hard way - even the strike on her neck. Yet try as Karas might to stay above-board with the authorities, there are some things you just can't plan for.
Like seeing the face of her long-lost father paraded through the town square in chains.
In the blink of an eye, Karas's life changes forever. Potential strikes be damned, she has to see her father one last time. What she discovers propels her upon an unimaginable journey, one she can only hope she'll survive.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A compelling journey to escape a strict regime, striking out on their own to find a better life! In a dystopian future, we meet teenagers on the cusp of adulthood, Karas and her friends Connor & Cassi. They live in the region of Bailar, Texas where their lives are strictly regimented by the government. Divided by class and the rank of privilege, your destiny is almost pre-ordained by your lot in life. The product of an alcoholic mother and a father who disappeared when she was one year old, Karas has already had a difficult life where her circumstances force her to grow up a lot faster than anyone could ever rightfully expect. Attending the town parade where prisoners are escorted down the road for all to see, both Connor and Karas see people they haven't seen in a long time and their lives are changed forever for it. These people in the parade are Strikers, people who attempted to leave Texas, which is an illegal act. And for that, the penalty is death within 24 hours. Pushed into taking action, they find some allies in their scheme to break them free and craft a plan. The plan goes terribly awry. On the run and being chased, Karas and her friends head out southeast to escape into another territory. But it's a long and dangerous journey, fraught with peril and terror as they try to escape those who would kill them. As she travels, her newfound companions tell her stories of the lands beyond her own and of the propaganda she's been fed since childhood. Told from a tight first person point of view, we see everything Karas sees and feel what she feels. We also learn more about her and her friends with all of their quirks and endearments that help us see them as real people with a rich history together. This dystopian landscape provides the imaginative background where the entire story plays itself out, giving us as readers the chance to really dive into Karas's head, see what motivates her and watch her grow as she struggles to survive. The author does a great job making us care for all of her characters, fear for them when they're in danger and be happy when a budding romance blossoms. We feel deep sadness at their losses and root for them as they try to overcome one troublesome obstacle after another. There is also much suspense as the Texans doggedly chase after them, with scenes alternating between the solitude of the wilderness they travel through punctuated by moments of sheer terror as their pursuers get too close and attempt to outsmart them at every turn. It's a skillful mix of tension as well as camaraderie as Karas explores the wonders of a world far from Bailar that she's never seen before. By the time we reach the explosive finale, all personal secrets are revealed and everything is put on the line in one final push to reach the salvation that only freedom can offer them. The authors first original novel outside of Hugh Howey's Silo Saga is a well-written and thoughtful tale brought to life featuring a memorable backdrop, original characters and a driving story! Please note that I was given an Advanced Reading Copy of this ebook. A favorable review was not asked for nor expected. No worries, as the story was highly enjoyable!
What a terrific read for young and old alike! In Strikers, we find ourselves transported to an unrecognizable Texas more than a century hence. The United States is no more, having sundered into regional confederations and alliances following internecine warfare. Texas is an oppressive, backward, militarized pariah encircled by hostile (and freer, more prosperous) neighbors. This is a society in which the wealthy few and the military run the show and ordinary citizens dare not step out of line for fear of earning a "strike." (Woe to those who rack up five strikes, which, thanks to capricious rules, is not hard to do.) And any attempt to leave Texas is branded treason. This is the setting in which we encounter sixteen-year-old Karas, who lives with her alcoholic mother and whose father disappeared over the border when she was small. Karas has never been more than a day's hike from her dusty hometown, already has one strike tattooed on her neck, and has few prospects. But when she and two friends attend a "parade," where the townsfolk are made to watch a procession of captured lawbreakers being marched to summary judgment, everything changes. Karas spies a familiar face among the prisoners, and she and her closest friends soon find themselves in a desperate run for freedom just ahead of a grim pursuer. I found it interesting how the author flips the script and turns the Texas of history and lore (the Alamo, cattle drives, the Texas Rangers, etc.) into a nasty police state that its neighbors feel impelled to contain, much as the West strove to contain the aggressive Soviet Union during the Cold War. Love is at the heart of Strikers: that of a father for his daughter, and the simmering passion between protagonist Karas and the well-born young man who will do anything to protect her during their flight from Texas. Author Ann Christy gets the awkwardness, poignancy, and humor of youthful love just right. Other commentators have pronounced this a fine example of young adult fiction. As a not-so-young adult myself, I can only say that I found Strikers a terrific read, one certain to be enjoyed by young and old alike.