With every series that she writes, Marie Lu always delivers a satisfying ending for her readers and in Steelstriker she gave us that and more.
From the Blurb:
As a Striker, Talin was taught loyalty is life. Loyalty to the Shield who watches your back, to the Strikers who risk their lives on the battlefield, and most of all, to Mara, which was once the last nation free from the Karensa Federation’s tyranny.
But Mara has fallen. And its destruction has unleashed Talin’s worst nightmare.
With her friends scattered by combat and her mother held captive by the Premier, Talin is forced to betray her fellow Strikers and her adopted homeland. She has no choice but to become the Federation’s most deadly war machine as their newest Skyhunter.
Red is no stranger to the cruelty of the Federation or the torture within its Skyhunter labs, but he knows this isn’t the end for Mara – or Talin. The link between them may be weak, but it could be Talin and Red’s only hope to salvage their past and safeguard their future.
While the fate of a broken world hangs in the balance, Talin and Red must reunite the Strikers and find their way back to each other in this smoldering sequel to Marie Lu’s Skyhunter.
Steelstriker picks up right where Skyhunter left off. This time around we get a dual narrative of our two main characters: Talin and Red. The two of them find themselves where their story first began as enemies. They’re once again fighting on opposite sides of the war.
The way their paths are reversed, yet tell a similar story, is intriguing. Talin is now the one being forced to fight and protect her worst enemy, the Premier, who is the leader of the Federation. She has become the newest Skyhunter and his greatest weapon. Red finds himself with the Strikers who are left after the fall of Mara. He’s injured but alive, and he’s trying his best to keep them all together. The link that connects them grows weaker as Talin becomes stronger at the Premier’s side, and their hope to reconnect dwindles. Will they ever be fighting on the same side again?
Marie Lu’s writing is at her best in Steelstriker. There is a lot of action throughout the entire book and the plot twists are sure to keep readers on their toes. Underneath everything that is happening to these characters on the surface, I found that Lu dives deeper to explore their dark and twisted emotions in this story.
The war has become much more than it was in Skyhunter. All of the characters are hiding their own secrets and reasons why they are still fighting.
Red and the rest of the Strikers see Talin as unrecognizable. She’s finished her transformation into a Skyhunter and her metal wings and deathly stare scare them. What they don’t see is all of her anguish. The Premier has her mother as a hostage and uses her to control Talin. Every move Talin makes is analyzed by the Premier and if she makes one mistake her mother will suffer the consequences.
Despite feeling like he’s lost Talin forever, Red holds on to the love he has for her. The way Red cares for Talin is so romantic. If you’re a reader who was hoping to see more romance in this series then I promise that you won’t be disappointed with this book. They may be on separate sides right now but their journey to finding each other is beautiful.
It’s very rare when I cry while reading and it’s been a while since I’ve read such an emotional book. I wasn’t expecting Steelstriker to be so dark. The similarities between this world and ours are chilling. Lu’s writing will definitely have you questioning your own feelings.
Talin, Red, and the rest of the characters go through a lot of pain in this book. They continue to ask themselves if love is enough to keep fighting for a rebellion that they might lose.
The exploration of each character is fascinating; even with the villain. At one point Lu shows a glimpse into what made the Premier become so evil and even shows him mercy. Every character arc wraps up nicely and I really enjoyed reading about them.
If you’re a fan of Marie Lu’s other series then you are sure to love Steelstriker! There’s action, friendship, and love all wrapped in a fun adventure. She continues to explore what makes us human and this story is a reflection of our own world. I think many readers will be able to relate to these characters and their stunning stories.