By: Chris Babu
Genre: Dystopian Fiction, YA Fiction, Drama, Adventure
Rating: 3 stars
Publisher: Permuted Press
Release Date: December 4, 2018
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 out into the unexplored world outside 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 real 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.
As this is a part of a series, I thought it best to separate my personal pros and cons in a generic way because some of my notes directly relate to the open-ended plots of the series. In addition to a few of the plot twists that happen in the last few chapters of this book in particular.
Overall, The Expedition offers way more character development, action and suspense scenes than book one. It also gives the reader more in details on the secrets the Bureau wants to keep hidden from the people of New America and even a (very) few details about the main character, Drayden, mother’s exile. Drayden shows that the Initiation has given him more of a backbone and a willingness to assert himself in a position of power when going up against a few Bureau members and Guardians, even if the odds are stacked against him.
His character showing and taking initiative during their journey outside of the wall towards Boston made him more likable (in my opinion) compared to book one because he doubted himself too much and was really reserved. This, I feel was a combination of Drayden having to process what happened to his mother, best friend and the Initiation one after another. So, I thought to see him actually acknowledge this a bit in the book while going to Boston was pretty fundamental.
Of the other three who made it through the Initiation with him, I didn’t really feel there was a major shift in their characters between the two books; more like Drayden seemed more comfortable with them as a team and people he could trust. In book one, because Drayden was smart, everyone kind of leaned on him as a default. In this book, his leadership has been earned and I actually agreed that he deserved the leadership and respect that he was fighting for.
Moreover, I really liked the strength and bond present in this book among Charlie, Sydney, Drayden, and Catrice because it was something I could bank on growing even stronger facing the dangers outside of the wall. Both with the strangers they encountered along the way as well as with the group of Guardians assigned to go with them.
In order to get to the core of this book, I was gifted book one to read also. I think that out of the two, I preferred The Expedition over The Initiation because the story has Drayden placed in the middle of an active, narrative plot that shows his character in more progressively/active manner. He is a deeply flawed character that struggles to grasp the people and situations around him. I appreciate a flawed protagonist and find it interesting when the secondary characters draw attention to the same flaws or begin to dislike the main character the same way that I do.
However, what put a strain on my reading experience of this book was how unfocused and off topic the story would get the further out Drayden and his group ventured. If I had to order the genres present in this book, teenage angst and romantic interest would come before adventure and dystopian fiction.
It was something I noticed in book one as well, but to its credit, it was one that had a much duller presence in the narrative. It isn’t an area that I mind but when it takes priority over the primary synopsis, it tends to have an awkward and unfocused feel to the story as a whole. On top of that, it began to make me lose interest in the journey Drayden and his friends were facing–which was actual life or death.
Subsequently, Drayden’s character replaces his obsession with his mother with an obsession over Catrice. To the point where it read as if he was too concerned about there being a woman in his life to look after him. BUT I give his character credit for semi-recognizing this self-flaw and the pressure he was putting on her and the future of their relationship–for however briefly before bouncing back.
Overall, I am curious to see how Drayden and the others handle being in unfamiliar territory while in Boston and (finally) discovering the truth about the Bureau and the society they grew up in. And I am also curious about a lot of questions that have yet been answered since book one: The Initiation.
Noting that Drayden’s mother was Korean-American with a really killer backstory as noted by him book one, I also would LOVE (and am hopping for) more diversity among the main characters in the book three and PLEASE more about his mom and the people from her inner circle. Those little bread crumbs were really just left out there in the dust and as a new reader, I just want to know more about those details.
Finally, what I hope the next book in this series gives to the readers would be along the lines of more action as the conspiracies unravel and the rebellion takes form and LESS teen drama among the four heroes of the story.
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.
Thank you all for coming on over to check out my post for The Expedition today ^_^.
Until the next post,