Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're playing host to a stop along the TLC Book Tours promotion starring the latest release from an author you need to know. It's the second in a planned trilogy/series that falls squarely in the YA Dystopian genre, but has plenty of appeal for the older set as well. Don't believe me? Well, I never said to simply take my word for it, hence we shall commence with the reviews! Yes, that's right. I used a plural. What? Hey, just because I'm in a funk does not mean I can resist checking out BOTH titles in a series when offered. So, if you're ready, here's a quick peek at where it all began....
Once upon a time...is SO not that right beginning for this story, but we're gonna utilize it just the same. *ahem* Once upon a time, Drayden's life in New America (formerly Manhattan) was ideal. Okay, well it wasn't ideal ideal, but it was better than it could be, yet not as good as it should be (exiled for seemingly no reason at all? *gulp*). Sounds like something to strive to change, right? Yes and no.
In this new world, everyone is equal. Everyone makes the same pay, receives the same rations, and has the same advantages as the next person, so where's the incentive to move up? Enter...the Initiation. I liken it to a hunger games-esque contest with more closed circuit viewing, deadly to a new level consequences, and a bigger emphasis on teamwork. Oh, and you're not offered up to participate, you enter yourself. The prize? Life for you and yours in the protective "arms" of the Bureau, the ruling body of their day and age...but is the price worth the gain especially when the "tests" seem more like ways to pick them off one at a time versus reveal the best candidate? Oh, and some of them are totally cringe worthy... *-*
This is where we meet Drayden, Tim, Alex, Charlie, Catrice, and Sidney...up close and personal. This is where we learn their strengths and weaknesses. Their minds will be tested, their bodies pushed to the limits, their fears laid bare for all to see, and bonds forged for better or worse. Success or failure, life or death, the outcome is in their hands...or is it?
...okay, we've built intrigue, time for the star of today's post, BOOK TWO....
About the book...
They survived the Initiation. Now the real test begins.
Drayden and his friends thought nothing could be harder than the Initiation. Little did they know it had only been a warmup for the challenge that lay ahead.
With New America’s situation dire, Drayden and the pledges venture into the unexplored world beyond the walls, escorted by a team of elite Guardians. The group seeks to contact another civilization in what remains of Boston, but Drayden has secret goals of his own.
Dangers abound in the outside world, including Aeru, the deadly superbug that wiped out humanity. While they battle the elements of a desolate landscape, a power struggle emerges within their ranks. The Guardians seem to be carrying out a covert mission themselves, and the quest turns everything they thought they knew about New America upside down.
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We pick up just after the first book ends (and what an ending it was!), and ready for a life in the lap of...wait, luxury? I thought everyone was equal? What gives? Yeah, well surprise surprise, some DO get to have their cake and eat it too.
Drayden wants to uncover the truth behind his mother's exile (but can he handle the truth?), Sidney is ready to welcome her sister with open arms, Charlie wants to join the Guardians asap, and Catrice is sorting through her feelings at having reached her goal while making some friends along the way. Oh, and that love triangle of sorts from book one, totally carries over to book two, just with a new player in the mix. Anywho, they should be living the dream now...only this Initiation wasn't just to get them into the Bureau. The powers that be used it as a means to find the newest members of their special team set to solve New America's energy and food problems with an outreach program into the outside world. A noble cause to save them all...and if you believe that, I've got some swampland to sell you too.
Needless to say, after the trials and tribulations (and losses!) they faced in book one, this is going to be anything but a walk in the park. In fact, it's gonna be a walk through a landmine filled he** with secret agendas, dangerous forces, and revelations you won't see coming. The bonds they forged will be put to the test, while you're kept guessing as who exactly is safe to put your trust in. Then. just when you think everything is settling down, one of their own may be delivered a death sentence....but I shan't say whom, or why, or how; that's for readers to know, and you to discover!
All in all, I really got into BOTH novels heart and soul. Book one did well to set the stage, build the world, and turn your stomach (I'm sorry, but some of those tests...UGH!), leaving you chomping at the bit for more. Book two leaves you with much more knowledge than you had initially, and an uncertain future on the horizon...which of course means book three will have a spot on the old wish list whenever it reaches publication because really, WHAT WILL HAPPEN? My only low point for the second title lays with Drayden and his wishy-washy infatuation for the two love interests in his life. OMG boy, you survived ALL THAT CRAP, but you can't stop whining about the girls and your feelings? Decide, or internalize, or SOMETHING. Being sensitive is awesome, but you've got A LOT more going on right now that has to rate a little higher on the demands of your attention.
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
Special thanks to Trish at TLC Book Tours and Devon at Permuted Press for the chance to bring this tour to you as well as the copies for review. (THANKS!) For more information on the titles, the author, the publisher, or this tour, feel free to click through the links provided above. BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE TOUR IN THE BLOGOSPHERE AND OVER ON INSTAGRAM!
Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!