Book Review: The Hit by Melvin Burgess

In Adam’s opinion, his life couldn’t get much worse. He’s living in poverty, his girlfriend can’t decide how she feels about him, and his brother has gone missing. Plus drug dealers and terrorists called the Zealots fight for control of Manchester as the city speeds towards revolution. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a brand new drug on the street: Death. Down one pill and live the most amazing week of your life. The catch? You die at the end of the week. Adam doesn’t know if one great week would make up for a dead-end life. But after taking a Death pill, he’s going to find out.

The premise of this book, specifically the Death pill, was really interesting to me. I still haven’t decided how I would react to a drug like that or how I would spend my week if I’d taken one. Add to that the ethical questions that could come from who have access to such a drug and should it even exist, and the topic promises to ignite debate. It’s a great hook to get readers to pick up the book.

Unfortunately, that was the only part of the book that I enjoyed. The biggest problem I had with The Hit was that the story of the main characters became overshadowed by the message that the book attempted to get across. I understand that encouraging the youth to take ownership of their country and government is an important message, but I would have liked to have seen that play more of a role in the primary plot. Maybe have Adam spend more time reflecting on the things that he won’t get to do because he took Death rather than include passages where characters kept promoting the importance of rising up against the government.

The second major issue I had with the book falls more into the category of personal preference. The story was told through a third person narration that never got too close to any of the characters. I typically read novels with first or close third person narrators, and I believe that I get a better connection with the characters when I can be close to their emotions. I never felt like I got all that close to Adam or any of the main characters because the narration always seemed to pull away just as the emotions were about to become intense.

This book wasn’t right for me, but it might work well for someone else who’s really interested in modern revolutions against the government. Just as a side note, it’s technically a Young Adult book.

Rating: 

The Hit by Melvin Burgess will be published by Chicken House on February 25, 2014 and will be available as a hardcover.

*I received an advanced copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.

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