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Everyone is equal. But no one is safe.
In a ruined world, Manhattan is now New America, a walled-in society based on equality. But the perfect facade hides a dark truth.
A timid math geek, sixteen-year-old Drayden watches his life crumble when his beloved mother is exiled. The mystery of her banishment leads him to a sinister secret: New America is in trouble, and every one of its citizens is in jeopardy.
With time running out, he enters the Initiation. It’s a test within the empty subway tunnels—a perilous journey of puzzles and deadly physical trials. Winners join the ruling Bureau and move to its safe haven. But failure means death. Can Drayden conquer the Initiation, or is salvation out of his grasp?
About the Author
Chris Babu grew up in North Haven, CT, playing soccer and the violin in his free time. After devouring The Shining under the covers with a flashlight when he was eight, Chris was hooked on fiction. He's always had a thing for young adult books. But he's also a major science and math nerd—physics being his favorite—and he has a math degree from MIT.
For nineteen years, he worked as a bond trader on Wall Street, riding the subway to and from work every day. He traded mortgage-backed securities for Bank of America and then Deutsche Bank, where he eventually ran the MBS trading desk. Now Chris writes full-time, always with his trusted assistant Buddy, a 130-pound Great Dane, who can usually be found on his lap. They split their time between New York City and the east end of Long Island. Their omnipresence at home drives his wife Michelle and daughter Lily crazy. He can be found at chrisbabu.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. If I were to describe this book in one word, I would say it is marvelous. I didn’t hesitate to give a 5-star rating because this was just so enthralling. The world building was great and the pacing was pretty fast, with the Initiation starting at 30% into the book, which I appreciated since I was in the mood for a fast-paced read. Also, the author created such wonderful characters! I instantly loved Drayden, our main character. He started out as a fearful yet intelligent boy who doesn’t have the courage to stand up for himself. But as the book progresses, as Drayden comes face-to-face with losses and challenges, his drive to succeed grew more and more. I saw how his character developed to someone who set aside all fears and hesitations to save his loved ones. He also has a strong sense of morality. But aside from Drayden, another character that I had absolutely loved was Tim, the boy with the heart of gold and the perfect best friend anyone could ever ask for. I adored the friendship between Drayden and Tim, how they rely on one another and fulfill each other’s shortcomings. The plot is fantastic and it kept me on edge. The challenges in the Initiation were ghastly yet exciting to read about. I liked how Drayden and Catrice explained in detail their solutions and strategies for the challenges, since not all of them in the group excel in intelligence. I also liked Drayden and Catrice’s chemistry from the start, though I’m glad that the romance wasn’t too much. I highly recommend this one to fans of dystopian books. I’m really excited for the next books in the series!
I got this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. In this book we meet a 16-year-old boy called Drayden. He lives in a dystopian world where Manhattan is called New America. Within it's walls, the society is divided into groups. When Drayden't mother gets banished from New America, Drayden is determined to find out why. And the only way to do so is to enter the Initiation, and by doing so also risk his own life. But if he wins, he'll get moved to the Bureau, the place where the rulers live, and maybe there he'll find the answers he's looking for. The premise of this book was great and I really enjoy myself a good dystopia. But already from the start, even the first page, this book threw me off, and I had this feeling that this would not be a book in my taste. Unfortunately, I can't really put my finger on exactly what it was about the story that I didn't like, but it felt like it was all tell and no show in the beginning. And the main character, Drayden just felt like a 10-year-old in the beginning. He was mostly whining about his mother being taken away, which I do understand kind of sucks and in real life one would probably be in bed crying for months. But this is a novel and things need to happen, characters need to be given a personality and the story needs to be interesting. It didn't really happen here, and it took about 20% of the book before things took off and I started getting into the story. But even then, I didn't really connect with the characters and I never had much love for Drayden. He was whiny and scared and not at all as good as he was supposed to be. I mean, he's supposed to be super smart, but how come we can't see this? He relies heavily on other contestants to complete his tasks when in reality it should probably be the other way around. It was as if the story was written about all the other people, and he's just one of the secondary characters. I would have loved to see this story from someone else POV. Although it may sound like I didn't like the book, it was still an enjoyable read. The book has a lot of good things too. Worldbuilding, suspense (when you reach the Initiation), twists. Overall this is a 3 star read, and even though it may not be a book I personally didn't love, I can see the value of this novel and know that a lot of people will love it. So, if you like dystopia and life & death challenges, give this book a try.
I loved this book and could not put it down! It's not your standard young adult dystopian adventure. The setting is terrifyingly realistic, as the events that lead to the apocalypse (inequality, cyberterrorism, superbugs, and overpopulation) exist - and some could argue are rampant - in our world today. It is further realistic because the world building is thorough and scientific (but is approachable to non-science people, such as myself). You never find yourself asking, "Wait, how do they have electricity?". In fact, I don't think that I found any item or technology in the book that doesn't currently exist. You get to know the main character, Drayden, well because you spend a good amount of time in his head, and see him changing throughout the story. The story really takes off after The Initiation begins, and by the last few pages you are sweating and holding your breath. Also, I liked trying to solve the challenges the characters face myself, which made the book kind of interactive. While reading this book you can imagine it as a movie. This was the first in a series, and I cannot wait for the sequel!