On My Bookshelf: The Initiation by Chris Babu

January 06, 2020

In The Initiation by Chris Babu, Drayden enters the Initiation, a grueling set of trials that require both intelligence and strength, and if successfully completed, will guarantee a better life for him and his family. Drayden is joined by his crush, his best friend, his worst enemy, and two of his other classmates, and the six must work together as their brains and brawn are tested. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: 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?

In The Initiation by Chris Babu, Drayden enters the Initiation, a grueling set of trials that require both intelligence and strength, and if successfully completed, will guarantee a better life for him and his family. Drayden is joined by his crush, his best friend, his worst enemy, and two of his other classmates, and the six must work together as their brains and brawn are tested. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
Why I liked it: The Initiation is action packed and perfect for anyone who loves dystopian series like the Hunger Games series or the Lunar Chronicles. After his mother is exiled, the main character, Drayden, enters the Initiation, a grueling set of trials that require both intelligence and strength, and if successfully completed, will guarantee a better life for him and his family. Drayden is joined by his crush, his best friend, his worst enemy, and two of his other classmates, and the six must work together as their brains and brawn are tested.

My favorite parts were the logic puzzles and riddles that Drayden worked out, often with the help of his crush Catrice. My least favorite parts were Drayden's constant self-doubt and some of the awkward dialogue, which likely could have been avoided if some of the characters were a little more fleshed out and a little less stereotypical.

Classroom application: I would recommend this one for middle school and up. There's no concerning language, the romance is PG, and the violence/drug references are mild. You can find more dystopian recommendations for your students here and here.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of The Initiation for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

In The Initiation by Chris Babu, Drayden enters the Initiation, a grueling set of trials that require both intelligence and strength, and if successfully completed, will guarantee a better life for him and his family. Drayden is joined by his crush, his best friend, his worst enemy, and two of his other classmates, and the six must work together as their brains and brawn are tested. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

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