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The Expedition

Review

The Expedition

After surviving the Initiation in Chris Babu’s THE INITIATION, Drayden and the others thought that they could live a happy life in a better place --- yet that could not be further from the truth. With New America’s systems failing, Drayden and his team must venture outside the walls of New America in an Expedition looking for other groups like them. Yet outside those walls are unimaginable dangers, including the superbug that destroyed the population of the whole world years prior.

On top of all that, Austin --- one of the young Guardians who is charming, funny and smart --- appears to be winning over Catrice, the one person Drayden cares about after Tim died. But Drayden has more on his mind, such as figuring out what happened to his exiled mother. He isn’t the only one that is looking for more than simply survivors in Boston as the Guardians appear to have a secret mission of their own. Together, they will journey into the unexplored world outside of the walls of New America to try to save humanity as they know it.

"While in THE INITIATION his characters’ main goal was simply surviving, THE EXPEDITION goes beyond that and into the politics of New America, adding a whole new aspect of the world into his story."

As Drayden, Catrice, Sidney, Charlie and the team of Guardians explore the uncharted world around them, they discover more and more about the world around them as well as the world they left behind. As they go further and further, they realize that nothing they thought they knew about their home in New America is as it seems. 

After reading THE INITIATION, I was pretty excited to get my hands on the second book, if only to know what happened next. THE EXPEDITION surely delivered in that regard. One thing Babu always does well is his plotting. As the events occur with the story, I am always intrigued and on the edge of my seat. He consistently has unique challenges and creations for the characters to face. While in THE INITIATION his characters’ main goal was simply surviving, THE EXPEDITION goes beyond that and into the politics of New America, adding a whole new aspect of the world into his story. On top of that, I love all the science-y aspects. Maybe it’s because I am a huge math and science nerd but I love the various inventions and innovations he discusses as well as the plausibility of the various horrors in this new world. They make this future appear simultaneously terrifyingly realistic and fascinating to behold.

Although I did like these various things, the delivery of the story was just not fulfilling. One of the golden rules of good storytelling is “show not tell.” Yet it seems like Babu is just writing a list of the things that happened. He fails to infuse emotions in the storytelling, which ripped away any connection I had to the characters from the first book. The characters don’t feel real because all their emotions are so cliched and spelled out. He writes much like a screenplay. The dialogue and plot is there --- but there is little to no context for who the characters are. I can imagine an actor delivering the words he writes in a compelling way, but I missed that same depth in his prose.

Reviewed by Caitlyn K., Teen Board Member on January 29, 2019

The Expedition
by Chris Babu