So, the story picks off with Tucker being thrown right out of a plane after Retro soldiers attacked them during a battle in the Mojave Desert. Now in prison, unsure if anyone he loves is still alive and with a number rather than a name, things seem quite hopeless. Then, under the ruling of a so-evil-it-is-scary commander named Simon Bova, Kent Berringer is called up and Tucker sees hope as long as his friends and family are holding on. Can they hold on much longer with Ken Feit in the ring though, and the war for humanity's survival raging on?
The book opens up with Tucker waking up in somewhere odd with a few deceased friends. I suspect it was heaven, but D.J. MacHale never makes it clear why he put that in the book nor are there any reasons afterward. There is also a case involving character resurrection; something I had a mixed feeling with in the second instalment, Storm. In Storm, I was sort of happy that we got back some of these characters, but at the same time it was strangely ridiculous. The same was for this one, but there was one character resurrection that touched one of my logic bones. I felt that this resurrection could have as easily been Captain Granger instead of who it was and it made up a story around it and excuses for behaviour from the last two books that I just could not buy, as much as D.J. MacHale tried to get me to. This is the first time where bouncing through time is brought in, and like the Ruby Red Trilogy, it is very fascinating and original, if a little extra morbid here. There is a slight representation of the future that is actually even more alarming than the future predicted in the Legend trilogy that by some standards, is accurate and in all of the standards, horrifying. And let me tell you that just like Sylo and Storm, this was the sort of book that never had a dull moment, except here, it didn't have the major and unnecessary character arguments. And believe it or not, the major conflict the characters have on deciding the enemy were a bit easier to believe in this time around; against all odds, I gave some forgiveness like Tucker did.
However, it was when the domes of the Retros were attacked when things started to slide a little out of place. Perhaps I missed something, but I never really understood the motivations of the Retros, who apparently wiped out a big chunk of the population. Was it because of pollution and crime? This is actually a major point in the book that I think everybody can portionally, if that's a word, understand. It's never however, made fully clear. There is plenty of action, and I think my favourite part was certainly this amazing thermonuclear subway chase, and it is not even at the very end of the whole final battle. However, something seemed missing from the whole affair, and then after I finished, with a character contradicting what she says a page after and leaving me dizzy, the Ruby came up from the recesses of my brain, and I said Eureka! One of the great things I had with Sylo was the idea of the Ruby, like the Crystal X in The Rig. But here, it's almost entirely forgotten about, almost as if Sylo and its two sequels were different stories. And I felt the Ruby was a terrific ingredient for the series.
The feeling that I had finishing this book was in Riding Lessons after Annemarie finds out that her mother Mutti helped her sick husband commit suicide. She said in her head, "How can this be for the best? And yet, under the circumstances, how could it not be?" That's the exact feeling I had with the conclusion. It's creative, heart wrenching, unforgettable and I can't think of a single teenager who wouldn't shed a tear. Yet at the same time...if there was just one other thing, or maybe, a little less, then I would've cheered at the conclusion. At the end, Tucker says a few statements saying that fate shouldn't be tampered with in certain aspects. I disagree. And maybe D.J. MacHale should've thought the ending over more and given it ten or twelve more pages for better digestion.
Do I recommend you read the SYLO Chronicles? Yes. I also wish, perhaps even desire, another instalment that could rewind a bit, do some dimension studying to enhance the drama. Strike will entertain - and depress - readers of any age.