My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As featured on Bloomberg.com!
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?
Woah, Woah, Woah!! All I can say is that this book was a thrill a minute!
The story takes place in New York City in the future after basically a post apocalypse of some sort. The city is sectioned out and walls put up but you can only stay in your specific section. Drayden lives in the lowest section called the dorms. Everyone is supposedly treated equal by receiving all the same pay for jobs, food and essentials, no matter which section they live in… but are they?
The story starts off when Drayden’s Mom is exiled outside the city walls. The government states that she has committed treason but Drayden doesn’t believe it. His Mom was the greatest and would never betray her people. He makes it his mission to find out why his Mom was sent away to her death by entering The Initiation.
The Initiation is a test of intellect & bravery. Drayden is one of the smartest kids in his school but does not fair so well on the brave part. Can he complete a test that no one has entered in 2 years? If he does, he gets to move himself and his family to the highest section called The Palace, where they could get better jobs and maybe find out what happened to his Mom.
I really liked Drayden and felt that he was written so well that I felt that I could see a change in him over the course of the testing. I saw him go in a kid and actually come out a man. The cast of characters was an interesting mix. I secretly adored Charlie because he was an absolute hoot and was quick with the one liners which gave a good mix of humor to the story.
Though I felt that the story did move a little slow at times, I still had a very hard time putting it down. The ending was a big shocker and I see another story *crosses fingers* in our future from Mr. Babu. I loved the world these characters were created in and can’t wait to see where they go from here!
“Bravery isn’t the absence of fear. It’s choosing to overcome it.”
Thank you to Netgalley & the publisher for this copy in exchange of an honest review.