Monday, January 29, 2018

The Extinction Trials

The Extinction Trials (The Extinction Trials, #1)

Guys... this book. I need the sequel so bad. You have a world where environmental devastation and overpopulation have ruined the continent of Earthasia, most people live in squalor or have very limited resources, and across the sea is a continent called Piloria, full of natural resources. The problem is it's full of dinosaurs too. Every year the rulers of Earthasia send a team to Piloria to find new sources of food, and very few come back. But this year is different- this year it's been decided that the dinosaurs need to go, so that humanity can claim Piloria for its own.  

Stormchaser and Lincoln both make the team heading to Piloria, but for vastly different reasons. Storm is doing it on a lark, at the urging of her friend, mainly to get more rations as the tryouts get better food- she doesn't really care initially about Piloria- whereas Lincoln is going to save his sister, who is dying of a wasting disease. Those who go to Piloria and return successfully get better health care for their family, among other perks. So Lincoln is deadly serious about winning, but he and Storm (and a few others) are thrown together and need to find a way to survive. The trials referred to in the book title are the obstacles the tryouts must face to make the team. 

Once they get to Piloria of course things get crazy, with dinosaurs running around and well- laid plans going out the window. The mission this time is to retrieve dinosaur eggs so that they can be analyzed back home, with the goal being to extract DNA and develop a virus or something to kill the dinosaurs. After all, they're just mindless beasts, right? But as the mission goes on Storm and Lincoln start to realize that these creatures, or at least some of them, are intelligent, perhaps even compassionate. Is it right to steal their eggs and maybe consign them to death? 

It's kind of like The Hunger Games where a few live in luxury while the rest suffer, and while I'm not saying this is as good as The Hunger Games, it did work for me. It is also very much a YA novel, so if that's an issue for you just a heads- up. The POV shifts between Storm and Lincoln and we get to see their take on things, including their feelings towards the dinosaurs. 

The pace really picks up when they hit Piloria, with lots of dinosaur action and a pretty high body count. I loved it. I need more Piloria. I was actually hooked when I saw the map- yes, there's a map, with dinosaur locations and everything- and while some of the world building is iffy (why is Earthasia devoid of resources? Why are humans on one continent and dinosaurs on another?) I was able to easily overlook that, as the story was so compelling. This was a totally fun read and when the sequel arrives in June I'll be dropping everything to grab it.  


FURTHER DISCUSSION

This might be mildly spoilery but I won't give away anything major. I just wanted to discuss a bit more without dragging the review out forever. I'm intrigued by Storm's connection with the plesiosaur in the loch- this happens in the first chapter so I don't think it's a spoiler- and I thought it would play more of a role. There's definitely something going on there.  

One thing I really liked was the disconnect between Storm and Lincoln- she's kind of going along for the ride, while he is focused like a laser on winning the eggs and helping his sister. Who wouldn't do the same under similar circumstances? But it does force him to make decisions that might run counter to what is best for Storm and their companions, and that was a great part of the story. They make a good team, but of course working at cross purposes can take a toll. 

As I said above the biggest issue here is the world building. We learn almost nothing about Earthasia and why it is the way it is- is it Earth in the future, and why hasn't Piloria been settled at all? But maybe this is all for future books. And there are some interesting themes here about how we treat other species, our assumptions about their intelligence, and that was a winning element for me also. 

48 comments:

  1. You know I got curious the first time you shared this book and I couldn't wait to hear your thoughts, and now I think I'll just have to give it a go! I have to admit it makes me a bit sad to know about the world-building part, but I still think it sounds original and I love that you are impatiently waiting for the second instalment :D

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    1. You should! The world building is a bit lacking, but it's good YA read other than that.

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  2. OOh interesting! I don't think I remember hearing about this one, but a world with dinosaurs? Definitely sounds intriguing! Hope you enjoy the sequel! Nice review!

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  3. The YA aspect is my concern in case there are all the tropes that I really hate. I have already downloaded a sample and will at least look at that.

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    1. Hope you like the sample. It is YA-ish, I have to say.

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    2. I'm not a huge YA fan either but this sounds so intriguing. I'll have to see if I can find an audio.

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  4. I confess that I didn't know about this one but the cover is intriguing and what you're saying about it makes me curious too

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  5. I haven't heard of this one, sounds interesting

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  6. I was sort of on the fence about this one even though I was pretty much sure I wanted to read it. Well, you sealed the deal. I don't know that I've read a book with dinosaurs. Awesome review!

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    1. It's fun, and the dinosaurs are pretty awesome. I think you'd like it :)

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  7. Great concept! There aren't a lot of dinosaur-centric stories out there. Too bad it's YA, though.

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    1. True! And it's good in spite of being YA. After a few chapters I was really into it. The YA- ness is mostly the writing style, I think.

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  8. I haven't heard of this at all. Sounds super interesting!!

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    1. It actually surprised me how much I enjoyed!

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  9. This has a great cover! I would have picked it up for that alone! Wonderful review. I definitely need this in my life now. ;)

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    1. It looks great in person too! I had to have a physical copy just for that cover :)

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  10. Oh, this sounds really cool! I would want more world-building, too, but like you said, maybe that's being saved for future books.

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    1. Yeah I think so. There's enough there to get you going, but I have lots of questions. :)

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  11. Well, hmmm. I can’t decide if I’d like this one. Something tells me the lack of world building and details will drive me nuts but it does sound fun.

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    1. It is fun, but I did want a bit more world building. It seemed a little lacking in that regard, but otherwise...

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  12. Sounds a bit like THG and Honor Among Thieves (comes out this month). But dinosaurs!!! How cool is that??!!

    I was already feeling bad for the dinosaurs right when you mentioned them lol, so I'm kind of glad that's where the narrative goes.

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    1. It was really cool, I loved the dinosaur encounters. And I like the angle, where they're not just mindless beasts but actually turn out to be pretty smart, and some maybe even *gasp* compassionate?

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  13. You had me at dinosaurs Greg. I'm going to see about ordering this one after pay day it sounds so good!

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  14. Oh my goodness, this book sounds awesome! Great review!

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  15. Dinosaurs, sold I need this now! I am going to track down a copy.

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  16. I've heard that this is Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park and I had no idea how that could be done but I get it now! This sounds crazy good and like one I'd enjoy. That's too bad about the world building but hopefully it's something that'll be fixed later.

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    1. Yeah it actually sort of lives up to that- not that it's as good as either of those necessarily, but theme- wise... it's definitely a thrill ride!

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  17. Wow, the cover of that book is really creepy!

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  18. This sounds so good! Great review! :)

    Lauren @ Always Me

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  19. This one definitely sounds like one I would like. Great review and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. I think you should give it a try. :)

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  20. Dinosaurs! I wasn't expecting that lol. That's a unique addition to the dystopian genre. And it sounds thought-provoking with the whole, should we really be killing out the dinosaurs thing.

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    1. Right? It's funny I wasn't thinking of this as a dystopian, but you're right- it is! And I did like the should-we-kill-the-dinosaurs angle...

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  21. You have my curiosity piqued, Greg! I love the premise but it's too bad the world building wasn't up to snuff. Hopefully the sequel will flesh that out a bit since the characters and the plot seem well done. Great review!

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  22. GAH I cannot read the part that might be spoilery even though I reaaaallly want to, because I ordered this a few days ago because apparently I have no self control. But I am SO glad that you ended up liking it!

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  23. I saw this in the bookstore last week but I am still hesitant about it. I mean like the Hunger Games puts me off as I didn't like those that much. I'm glad you like it though. Dinosaurs does sound good. :D

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  24. wow how interesting! I would have expected the world-building to be the best part of this book! The premise does sound good!

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  25. I am so glad you enjoyed this one, Greg. Ever since you brought it to my attention, I have been dying to hear your thoughts on it. This does sound like a lot of fun!

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  26. I actually wasn't interested in reading this one until I saw your review but this sounds amazing! I mean, what an interesting read a question of what lengths is acceptable to go to survive and the impact that actions can have on the environment. I can totally see the appeal of this one now.

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  27. Dinosaurs! Sounds like Jurassic Park mashed up with Hunger Games! :D

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  28. This sounds SO FUN. Omg. Dinosaurs. Multiple POV. I must have it. That cover is gorgeous, too!

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  29. It's fab to find a great book so early in the year. That civer is gorgeous, too.

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