Book Review,  Reviews

The Hit – Melvin Burgess

“With Jimmy, it was all about the fans. People often say a performer gave everything, but no one ever promised more for a show than he had tonight. 
Adam didn’t believe it, but he still felt part of something special. Jimmy Earle had been the big thing for years, his shows were legendary, but nothing before had ever been like this. People had flown from California and Beijing  to be here. This was going to be the concert to end all concerts, the one experience no one could ever repeat.”

The world has gone to pieces, the government are making to rich richer and the poor poorer, and a new drug is all anyone can talk about. The drug is called Death, it give you the best week of your life, for the cost of it. Exactly seven days after you take it, you die. The Zealots want to do something about all of it, they want to start a revolution. With the public death of music legend Jimmy Earle, riots break out and Adam is in the middle of it all. When he finds himself faced with the drug he is tempted, his girlfriends broken up with him, his brothers gone, his parents are at their wits end, what has he got to lose? Maybe a lot more than he ever considered. 

The Hit is a book I have been looking forward to for a quite a while now. The premise sounded incredible, some of the authors previous books worked for me and and the author has a reputation for going all out in his books. I’m not sure I can claim to have enjoyed The Hit due to its content and nature, its not the kind of book you can really enjoy, but I am glad I’ve read it and it definitely got me thinking. 
There are ethics linked to this book in a major way, would you take a drug that would give you the best days of your life then take that life away? Would you think about what it could do to your family if you did? Would a drug like that ever have a good purpose? With the country going down the pot is a revolution which involves death and destruction the only way forward? I don’t know what my answer to these questions would be with the exception being the good purpose of the drug, perhaps when it comes to terminal illness, but then that brings up all kinds of questions about euthanasia… There’s no end to the questions that are brought up in my mind just from reading this book and in all honesty that is what makes it a fantastic book. 
The story is hellish, there are gangsters, rape, violence and destruction (both self and otherwise), there is nothing nice about it… even when it comes to the ‘love’ that is shared between the characters. I was reminded of the Irvine Welsh books I have read and whilst The Hit was nowhere near as graphic as those, it was done in a similar vein and I would definitely not give it to a younger reader. 
The characters weren’t likeable… in fact I don’t think there was a single one I can say I would want to know in real life… Anna perhaps was the most likeable and I loved how strong she was for her cause, but the others came across and selfish, naive or just plain crazy. I think Adam was quite possibly the most selfish and I hated him at some points throughout the book, but he did redeem himself a little bit. 
There was so much going on in this book and I loved parts of it yet hated others. Melvin Burgess does a great job of creating a gritty, realistic portrayal of what life could be like if things don’t start changing but its hard to see things ever getting as bad as this. I loved that it was set in Manchester and not London or an unknown place as so many books are, Manchester is my nearest big city and I loved knowing exactly what was going on and where, but its not off putting if you don’t know the city. 
The Hit was something special and it got me thinking a lot, there were crazy bits, horrible bits and some really nice bits, it brought up the meaning of life and what it means to live, and got my clogs whirring. It was slightly mind blowing at times but I definitely do think that its worth a read. I really liked that the idea wasn’t Melvin Burgess’ own and that he shouted out to the people who gave him the idea and worked with him to develop it, if you do read this book be sure to check out the acknowledgements for some background to it. 
The Hit was published on April 4th by Chicken House. my copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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