Book Title: Strikers: Outlands – Book Three of the Strikers Trilogy
Author: Ann Christy
Publication Date: October 6, 2019
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
A few months after making it to Washington DC at the end of Strikers: Eastlands, the second novel in the trilogy, Karas and her friends endure difficult training in preparation for their long-awaited mission. They must infiltrate Texas and destroy its bioweapons program once and for all. This is for the good of all the different territories in this dystopian land, as all of them are suspicious of one another. However, no one knows Texas like Karas, her boyfriend Jovan, her best friend Cassi and brothers Maddix and Connor.
The group eventually heads east towards Texas and encounter numerous obstacles along the way. As they travel, they make some new allies and find out the latest heinous germ warfare from Texas is devastating the eastern territories! Knowing that timing is crucial to their plan to save millions of lives, will Karas and her team accomplish their mission?
This novel is full of suspense, as the stakes are high and these teens who once escaped Texas are now young adults who grew up facing adversity at every turn. Toughened up by circumstances and hardship, it’s time for them to fight back. Not only for themselves or for those they love but for the benefit of the more benevolent territories who are trying to make a brighter future for everyone.
Armed with supplies, technology, soldiers and weapons, their plan is constantly changing to adapt to whatever obstacles they face. Whether its Mother Nature, the potential for hidden spies, unknown viruses devastating villages in their path or a lack of solid intelligence, this highly trained group must work fast and think on their feet when things don’t go their way. There’s so much that can go wrong on a mission like this and no plan survives contact with the enemy.
The constant twists and turns they face over the course of the novel make for a cloud of dread hanging over our group. This also creates a lot of intrigue as they gauge each new situation to see if they can problem-solve their way out of it. There are so many variables at play in each dilemma that making the wrong choice can be fatal. Their ingenuity, intelligence, and fortitude continued to impress me and made me wonder whether they would succeed, especially while the odds continued to be stacked against them.
The final third of the novel wraps up all the plot threads even as their daring plan is put in motion and all their lives are on the line. This is the most thrilling section of the novel and the author delivers a captivating finale where you never know what is going to happen next and danger lies around every corner. The finale of their mission made this an unputdownable roller coaster ride.
Science also plays a strong role in this novel, which is one of the author’s signature strengths. From new technology to their inoculation serums, the use of germ warfare and ingenious weapons, it grounds this dystopian landscape in realism. As a result, it only enhances the authenticity of this potential future and highlights how the author can immerse me in her stories so beautifully and with such glorious worldbuilding.
Of course, Karas, Jovan, Cassi, Maddix, and Connor also get many moments to shine. Their teamwork and dedication to their cause are one of the strengths of this novel as well. Their characterization, their natural dialogue, and camaraderie with one another feel like I’m a member of their family and have known them forever. This is very true, especially after investing myself in their fates over the course of the entire Strikers trilogy.
We also meet some new characters along the way, like Duck and Chili. Each one of them is fleshed out with traits that endeared themselves to me while also making them stand out from one another. Their personalities and skills made them come alive on the page and their contributions are important to the larger plot.
While I last read Strikers: Eastlands over three years ago, there’s plenty of connective tissue here to weave all three novels in the trilogy together into one cohesive saga. Occasionally, the author seamlessly reminded me about this whenever it occurred, integrating it deftly into the story without any boring exposition or slowing the pace of the novel down.
Knowing that this is the final novel in the trilogy means all bets are off. Not everyone makes it out of this one alive. Their situation constantly shifted, from the ominous threat of detection while moving through enemy territory and the uncertainty of whether their immunity would hold up in the face of exposure to an unknown virus. This makes for a page-turner of the highest caliber and an excellent final novel of this dystopian trilogy.
I’ve read many of this author’s stories and novels before and this one ranks as one of her best novels to date. I think she should be called the Queen of the Apocalypse, given her writing skills and expertise in penning many enthralling stories around this theme.
This is a long-awaited novel, as it has been over three years since she last published Strikers: Eastlands, so I looked forward to this one with great anticipation. I was not disappointed in the slightest and it was completely worth the wait, as I was mesmerized with what I read here.
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Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews about stories by Ann Christy include “The Ways We End: Six Tales of Doom“, “And Then Begin Again: Six Tales of Hope“, “Girard The Guardian – A True Vampire Novel” and “Bridge Across the Stars – A Sci-Fi Bridge Original Anthology.”