Strike by Delilah S. Dawson


3 out of 5 stars.

I received an ARC of this work.

This is the second in the series. In the first book “Hit” we are introduced to a world in which, hidden in credit card statements, people have agreed to be murdered or become assassins if they are ever not able to immediately pay off their debt when asked. Patsy’s mother has wracked up a huge credit card bill to pay for her cancer meds and when Valor bank comes to collect, they make Patsy choose between her mother’s life or indentured servitude for a limited time as an assassin. Patsy takes the deal and sets off on a mission to kill or indenture 10 other people.

The first book was stark and interesting, with Patsy becoming darker and darker as her kill count mounts. She also falls in love with one of the children of her first victim, Wyatt, adopts a dog, and slowly realizes all of the kills she has been assigned have some sort of relationship to her. While not the best written novel, it was stupidly hard to put down.

The second novel starts right where the first one left off. Patsy has just finished her hit list and goes into hiding with Wyatt. They are prepared to fight Valor and its grip on the nation and the government, joining a Citizens for Freedom chapter in their hometown. It is soon clear, however, that CFF is run by a maniac who is almost as bad as Valor. Leaving is going to be a lot harder than joining.

The second book was not as enthralling as the second one. Patsy is already a jaded character by now and does not have the same moral struggle as more and more people die. We are now used to the neat world setup and premise and Patsy and her relationships. The book introduces more characters which is great, but this was definitely not as strong as the first. It did not have the sense of urgency that the first one did and that drew you in and dragged you along.

I am glad to meet a YA dystopian where the “good” guys are just as crazy as the “bad” guys. It makes the hero have to fight on two fronts and makes for a more realistic story. I cannot see a real life conflict where one side is all good and the other side is all bad so it is nice to see some moral relativism in books.

This is a good, but not brilliant follow-up to “Hit”. If you have read the first, you are going to want to read the second to find out what happens, but I did not find it quite as compelling.


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