The Extinction Trials has to be one of my favourite reads of this year & my gratitude to Usborne Publishing for sending me an ARC of the book is endless; I loved everything about this book, from the start to the very end & I wish I could read it all over again (alas, I have far too many other books to get through to do that right now)!
This book contains mild gore.
The Extinction Trials is about a world where humans live on one continent, & dinosaurs live on another… as is to be expected of our ridiculous species, the humans have procreated so much that there is hardly any space left for anyone on Earthasia; they have mistreated the soil meaning they cannot grow food, buildings are built as high as they can go & accommodation is shared by far too many people. The humans on Earthasia need more space, more food, more energy, more resources, & their one solution is to take Piloria from the dinosaurs.
Sounds like a good book, right? RIGHT. From the very first chapter to the very last page I loved this book; I loved the originality (seriously, how many YA books have dinosaurs in them?!), the world-building, the plot & the characters. Whilst I’m bigging up the book, I really should point out that some of the plot points were a little predictable & there isn’t much diversity among the cast; but, just because this book has a few minor creases that could do with being ironed out, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad read. Like I said in my intro, this is one of my favourite reads of this year & I cannot wait for it to be released.
The story follows two characters whose background stories are very different, but which have led them both to compete to be part of the 100 people sent to Piloria on a mission to help save the human race. First we have Stormchaser – Storm hasn’t had an easy life; she lives on her own in a small room inside the Shelters & spends her time swimming & lugging hay bales around. Storm doesn’t need to enter the trials, but she does anyway & her determination & competitiveness is what helps her to achieve. Lincoln, on the other hand, hasn’t suffered quite as much as Storm, but his family haven’t had things easy either – his sister is sick & living in the Caves isn’t helping her to get any better… Lincoln’s family are edging on desperate & their only way out is through the mission to Piloria.
I really liked Storm; on the outside she acted as if she didn’t care for anyone or anything (other than her best friend Dell), but when it comes down to it, Storm feels a lot deeper than the other characters, & shows the most compassion & emotion out of all of the other people in the story. I also think she’s the most intelligent character, but that could just be favouritism on my part. Storm spends a lot of time questioning the world around her & this is what made me really like her; she’s a strong female lead who is full of courage, intelligence & solicitude. I think the fact that Storm doesn’t have any family allows her to direct more emotion toward the dinosaurs; her emotions aren’t being tugged on by the need to protect anyone else so she’s able to think about & see things in a different way to the others.
Lincoln was the opposite to Storm in a lot of ways; on the outside he seemed caring & honest toward his team, but underneath he’s a lot harder than he seems… but, this is only because of his love for his family. Lincoln is beyond determined to save his sister’s life & he really will do anything to attain medical help for her. In some ways I think Lincoln is blinded by his devotion to his family; his attention is so focused on his sister that he doesn’t think deeply about what the mission to Piloria really means for the creatures living there – it isn’t until Storm starts to voice some of her concerns that Lincoln starts to see things a little differently & in that way I think she’s very good for him.
The other main characters in this story really are the dinosaurs; I don’t know much about dinosaurs or their speculated behavioural habits, but it seems like S.M. Wilson has done quite a bit of research into how the types of dinosaurs included may have once behaved. A lot of thought was put into how the dinosaurs moved & how this would affect their surroundings & it was just so great to experience something totally different from other books. Not all of the dinosaurs were portrayed as being terrifying beasts either, & I really liked that. Plus, some had feathers!
Additionally, I really liked that we got to see the dinosaurs from two different perspectives; Storm feels compassion for the creatures & doesn’t necessarily see them all as the brainless predators that she’s been taught they are; whilst Lincoln starts off totally indifferent to the fact that the dinosaurs are living beings – Lincoln is on Piloria to get a job done, & he is determined to do just that. As the adventure on Piloria plays out both Storm & Lincoln question their opinions & beliefs for a multitude of reasons & I loved how deeply the characters started to think about what they were doing on Piloria. There was a lot of character development included in The Extinction Trials & that was really great to experience.
The whole time the characters were on Piloria, I was left on edge & constantly worrying about what was going to happen next; just as things would settle down something else would endanger our beloved main characters & at times my heart really was racing far too fast. Some of the character deaths were very sudden as well, which helped to keep me (& the characters) on my/their toes. The ending of their time on Piloria was one of the most dramatic parts of the whole book, & was only topped by the actual ending (which was wild). There were a lot of plot-plants planted during the first book that I’m sure will flourish in the sequel & I cannot wait to see the consequences of the events of the last chapter.
Seriously, I loved The Extinction Trials – I really felt like I was in a totally unique world whilst reading this book & although I guessed a couple of plot points, that didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story. I love the passion that has gone into creating this book & I never wanted to put the story down. The book comes out on December 28th so get your preorders in now:
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