*I was given this book courtesy of TLC Book Tours and the author in exchange for an honest review*
I am going to start off saying that I have read very, very little dystopian in my day. Not because I don’t like it, but just because I am not drawn to it. I consider myself to be a slightly paranoid person, so reading about a future that could potentially happen can give me the creeps. This one, however, didn’t scare me, and I liked that about it. I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.
This book picks up right off where The Initiation left off, with the new members of the bureau headed on a mission to see if there is life outside of “New America”. Four 16 year old kids are expected to lead themselves and several armed guards on a mission from the old New York City to Boston. Fearing that they will catch the superbug that wiped out most of humanity, fighting for their lives takes on a whole new meaning as they struggle to make it to Boston alive.
The characters in this book are really well fleshed out, and I felt like I connected with them more in this sequel than I did in the first book. I found myself holding my breath when one of my favorite characters was in jeopardy and sighing relief when they turned out to be okay. I could identify with different characteristics in most of them, and also find characteristics in them that I aspire to be.
The storyline itself is relatively strong, keeping me engaged and guessing. I actually found some aspects of this book keeping me more on edge than a few thrillers I have read lately but without the spooky vibes that a thriller can bring. I enjoyed the imagery in this book; I felt like I could see the wreckage that America would be a few decades after civilization crumbled apart.
I took off one star because the dialogue in the book was incredibly cheesy, to the point where it was distracting at times. The characters use a variety of their own curse words, calling each other “flunks” and saying “oh shkat.” While I definitely appreciate an author that cleans up the language for a YA novel, I found these variations irritating.
I took one other star because the of the pacing of the book. When the storyline picked up and started going, it REALLY went quickly. I read 150 pages one day because I couldn’t put it down. But I found myself dragging through and skimming on the days where it went slowly as I was reading about the awkward romance between two of the main characters, the descriptions of the maps the characters were reading, etc.
Overall, I recommend this series to anyone who likes YA dystopian. I also think it would be great for younger readers that are just starting to read dystopian because of the clean language and the easy to follow storyline.