“Hope was a curious thing—both the remedy to misfortune and the cause of complacency.”
Set in an isolated Manhattan after a deadly plague ravaged the earth, the city changes its name to New America. The citizens are told no one survived outside the walls and the Bureau instilled an organized system of society to ensure the remaining population can live. It’s a little bit Maze Runner and a little bit Divergent wrapped in a plot line all its own.
Before we go one, there may be mild spoilers for the first two books, The Initiation and The Expedition. Although I will be keeping my review short because it is the final in the series, spoilers can’t be avoided. BE WARNED!
Okay! Here we go!
As with the previous two books, we are once again on a journey told through Drayden. This first person narration keeps us close to the action, allowing for the twists and turns to take us as much by surprise as they do Drayden and his friends. And there are plenty of surprises held within these pages.
Babu continues to ensure that the journey forward with Drayden makes sense within the world of New America. The world has expanded for both the reader and Drayden, and as with any dystopian society, the secrets and corruption continue to unravel in unexpected ways.
One of the things I really enjoyed in this series is how relatable to teens it is. I think this is a YA series that is entirely intended to be read by teens. That’s not to say adults won’t enjoy it, it’s more that the emotional growth and maturation Drayden faces will be much more prevalent and relevant to actual teens going through similar struggles in their lives.
Because outside of a dystopian setting with life or death situations happening, this series is really about friendship, first love, and finding who you are in the world. Charlie, Drayden, Catrice, and Sydney all have to struggle with who they think they are, both to themselves and each other. And beyond that, they then have to figure out where they belong in the greater world.
We reunite with familiar friends and confront old foes, all while discovering that who or what we thought was going on from the first two books may not have been entirely accurate. All of which leaves the ending to the book, and the series, emotionally satisfying and filled with hope. Given that hope is one of the main themes in all three books, I really liked how Babu made sure to incorporate that feeling into the end.
I really think this is a series teens will devour. It’s action packed but full of surprising emotional development told in a subtle way. There’s a ton of healthy themes packed in the story, from how to decide who your friends are, dealing with jealousy, the multi-faceted layers of grief, and how to engage in self-examination. In all, I think it’s a fast-paced ride balanced with slower mental reflection, making it a fantastic series for teens to read.
Thank you TLC Book Tours for sending me a copy and including me on this tour.
They are protected by lies. He is armed with the truth.
Having survived the Initiation and expedition, one battle remains: the fight for the heart and soul of New America.
Drayden and his friends, enlisting the help of Professor Worth, must find a way back to New America before the Guardians imperil their return. But for these teens, their problems are only beginning. The Bureau, which never expected them to survive the expedition, will do everything in their power to prevent New America’s darkest secrets from getting out.
Drayden’s only hope is the insurrection led by ally Kim Craig. The David versus Goliath battle between good and evil, between truth and lies, will push Drayden to his breaking point and require bravery, self-acceptance, and above all, belief in himself. Backed by the will of the citizens, he’ll need to engineer an ingenious strategy to defeat the all-powerful authoritarians. The question is, will it be enough?
About Chris Babu
Chris Babu is a lifelong math and science geek, with a math degree from MIT. For nineteen years, he worked as a bond trader on Wall Street. Now he writes full-time, indulging his love of young adult books. He splits his time between New York City and the east end of Long Island, where he lives with his wife Michelle, daughter Lily, and Great Dane Buddy. He’s the author of The Initiation and The Expedition, and can be found at chrisbabu.com.