Another Hunger Games–wannabe latecomer.
In this toxic Surface settlement, everyone is an under-20 manual laborer (and yet also half of the population receives intensive formal educations that cover chemical formulas and Yates’ correction). The only way to avoid being worked to death or executed (“replaced”) at age 20 is to be picked for Extraction to the planet’s rich, underground Core sector. Every year, the 16-year-olds undergo a mysterious test that measures their Promise. The top scorers in each of the outer sectors (which are work camps established after the Core put down unsuccessful rebellions) are Extracted to the Core. Heroine Clementine is, of course, Extracted, even though this means leaving behind her boyfriend; she vows to find a way to convince those in power that Logan is worthy of a late Extraction. Once in the core, the Extractions undergo training and more testing in order to be assimilated. Clementine so excels that she draws the ire of the Commander’s favorite, a violent bully with a penchant for sexual assault. Unsurprisingly, Clementine discovers that the government running this system has dark secrets. The setting is undeveloped not just logistically and culturally, but also in physical description. Some of the training sequences are cool, though, and the ending sets up a more promising plot for the obligatory second novel.
Half-baked, confusing and highly derivative. (Science fiction. 12-17)