Book Review: The Initiation

9781682615935.jpgBook-cation Location: Abandoned Undergrounds

Book: The Initiation by Chris Babu
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Print Date: February 2018
Goodreads Score: 4 stars
Giveaway: Print Copy of The Initiation
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Short Review: If you like books like Hunger Games and The Maze Runner you will love this one!

Book Summary

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?

Long Review: I love a good sci-fi/dystopian style novel! The reason that Drayden’s New America exists is all thanks to a super bug and what I liked about that is it’s such a plausible reason for the world to descend into chaos. This new world that is a giant quarantined area is divided into sections and Drayden just happens to live in the worst of them, the Dorms. The other sections include the Lab, Precinct, and Palace. While they are constantly telling you that all sections are equal, I immediately have my doubts and want to know what The Palace zone looks like. The start of the book you find out a little bit about New America and the family life of our hero, and then he enters the Initiation and everything gets real from that point on. I could not stop reading after it began. You have adventure, back stabbing, plots of murder, and so much more!

My favorite part about the Initiation was the challenges as I was trying to solve them right along with all the other pledges…I didn’t even come close to figuring most of them out though. I would not have even made it past the first one! When the book started I wasn’t sure how I felt about Drayden, but as the book went on I began to really cheer for him. He starts out so unsure of himself with the weight of the world on his shoulders after his mother is exiled and he ends with him realizing he can do more than he ever realized. I do wish that there would have been a little bit more character development, especially for some of the other pledges. I want to know more about Catrice than what I was given in the book. I also would have liked more backstory on why Alex is the way he is before entering the Initiation.

I don’t want to spoil anything else so I will just say that overall this is a great read and I can’t wait for the sequel!

Chris Babu Author Photo.jpgAbout 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. The Initiation is his first novel.   WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

BOOK-CATION IDEAS!

As I mentioned above the Book-cation location for The Initiation is Abandoned Undergrounds! The actual location of that the book spends a lot of time in does exist, however it’s still filled to the brim with people. To feel like you are a pledge in the Initiation I recommend taking a few of these tours!

  • Beijing’s Underground City. This abandoned city is from the 1970’s and was built as a bomb shelter. It’s made up of approximately 33 square miles with various tunnels and includes places such as a roller skating rink, warehouses, schools, and restaurants.
  • Seattle Underground.  Due to a fire and repeat floods happening it was during the mid-19th century that Seattle decided to build up their streets leaving the old city underground. The buildings at one point in time were used for a variety of things such as gambling halls and speakeasies. Portions have now been restored for tours.
  • The Speakeasy Tunnels of Moose Jaw, Canada. Originally built so workers did not have to endure the harsh winter weather when going from building to building. During the prohibition the town became a hub for rum running and gambling and filled the underground tunnels and hideouts with all sorts of characters.

To enter the giveaway Click Here!

“You have five minutes to solve the riddle…”
you force heaven to be empty
5:00…4:59…4:58…4:57…

YA Bound Tour Button (1)

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Book Review: The Selection

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Book-cation Location: Castles & Gardens!

Book: The Selection by Kiera Cass
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Dystopian
Print Date: April 2012
Goodreads Score: 4 stars

Short Review: It’s a dystopian version of the Bachelor only better!

 

 

Book Summary 

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Long Review: Okay, I am very behind the game on this one!  I’ve had several people recommend this book to me and I am so glad I finally had time to read it! Overall I love the story. It reminded me of Hunger Games where it has a sort of reality show display of something to make the people of the lower caste groups feel like they have a chance. It really is a dystopian version of the bachelor tho as 35 women are chosen to take part in the Selection to try and win the Prince’s heart/the crown. On the first day they meet the prince they all take turns talking to him and then he chooses which women he wants to keep to move forward in the competition. You have all the typical characters too, the mean girl, the over dramatic types, the little miss goodie good, and of course the jealousy! Add in a little bit of war and politics and you have the Selection. I’m going to be honest here, I don’t like the Bachelor. (Cue the gasps of horror as what woman doesn’t love it) However, I did like this version of it in the book which I admit, surprised me. I enjoyed meeting all of the characters and I look forward to seeing how they all work together throughout the series.

Prince Maxon, so far, has surprised me. He wasn’t as much of a pompous jerk as I expected him to be. I actually really liked him by the end! As for the other man in America’s life, Aspen, I both loved and hated him throughout the book. He just wants to be good enough for her and he is so dedicated to his family. This of course has me torn between which man is best for America, but you will have to make up your own mind about that.

I really enjoyed the world that Kiera Cass has created here. The idea of your status in life never changing based solely on your ancestors abilities and being assigned a number one through eight. Our main character America is a 5 which makes her leap into the Selection all the more exciting. I very much enjoyed the history that was provided in the book and the way it was done. Rather than reading a boring chapter in the beginning of how Illea came to be, we learn it through a history lesson that the Selected are receiving.

Based on the reviews I’ve read, you either love or hate this book. While it has not sky rocketed to the top of my best book ever list I did enjoy it. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

BOOK-CATION IDEAS!

As I mentioned above the Book-cation location for The Selection is Castles & Gardens! The actual location of Illéa doesn’t exist, and hopefully a place like it never does, but I think by visiting the castles and gardens you will feel like you have stepped into the palace as a Selected.

  • Borthwick Castle. This castle is toward the top of my list of places that I would like to stay while traveling through Scotland. This beautiful 600 year old castle was once home to Mary, Queen of Scots!  https://www.borthwickcastle.com/
  • Olissippo Lapa Palace Hotel.  This hotel is located in Lisbon, Portugal and was built during the 1800’s. There is a palace wing, villa lapa, and a garden wing. I bet America would recommend the Garden wing! http://www.olissippohotels.com
  • Sheffield Park & Garden. This is what I envision when I picture Prince Maxon and Lady America walking the grounds together. Just beautiful!   https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk
  • Longwood Gardens. Located in Kennett Square, PA and has over 1,000 acres of garden to explore. America loved the outdoors, and especially the garden, so I imagine this is a perfect place to visit to channel her character.  https://longwoodgardens.org/
“I don’t think any girl in all of Illéa could have been smiling more than me.” 
~America – Kiera Cass, The Selection