The Extinction Trials Review

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Rating: 5/5
By: S.M. Wilson
Source: Waterstones

Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival.
Welcome to the Extinction Trials.

In Stormchaser and Lincoln's ruined world, the only way to survive is to risk everything. To face a contest more dangerous than anyone can imagine. And they will do anything to win.

But in a land full of monsters - human and reptilian - they can't afford to trust anyone. Perhaps not even each other...

This has been my most anticipated book since summer this year when I started to see all the hype around it. A book about dinosaurs? That bares resemblance to The Hunger Games? The only way this book could be more perfect for me is if it had some weird Harry Potter crossover going on. 

I genuinely preferred this book to The Hunger Games, there I said it. This book was suspenseful, gory and magical -not a combination of words I use often.

First of all, Earthasia. This is the world where the characters live in a time where almost every patch of usable land has been over-farmed and built on. There's so many people that night shift workers share a bed and alternate a sleeping schedule with day shift workers. Healthcare is virtually existent, education prepares you for your assigned job and every year they send 100 Trialists to Piloria in search of anything that can make life better.

Piloria is the neighbouring continent that's home to dinosaurs. It's a dense, tropical island with food growing from the trees, trees that can be used to make warmer shelters and enough resources in general to sustain human life. SM Wilson did an amazing job of creating both of these worlds, I felt mystified by Piloria and I believe that anything would be better than living on Earthaisia from the way she describes it -even if you have to live next door to a T Rex if you moved to Piloria.

This years Trials aren't about finding food or resources. This year the Stipulators want Trialists to steal and bring back dinosaur eggs in order to harvest DNA that can be used to wipe out entire species and make the continent safe for human life. Everyone seemed okay with this except for Storm, who doesn't believe all dinosaurs are mindless killers. I'm with Storm. It raises a lot of real ethical issues, about forcefully taking the home of creatures who have lived just as long without destroying their continent. It really makes you wonder where we as a species will go when we ruin the world.

I liked that Storm was a character who was driven by her own curiosity. Going to the dinosaur continent is basically a suicide mission, but there isn't much to live for on Earthasia. As an orphan, Storm has very few ties to her home, aside from best friend, Dell. 'Home' for her and many others is rife with disease, over crowding and tasteless food, so why not experience something spectacular? Even if it is only for a week.

Lincoln is the opposite to Storm. He doesn't care about the wonders of Piloria, he just wants to get there, steal the eggs and get home to save his dying sister. Family motivates his actions, and while that's very noble, it leads him to make some questionable choices later in the book -no spoilers. Storm and Lincoln argue about the ethics behind stealing the eggs, but don't come out of them seeing eye to eye. I kinda loved that. Lincoln kept his secrets and Storm stayed true to herself, making the climax of the book even more exciting.

Arguments are not the height of tension in this book. It's YA but if you've read or seen Jurassic Park, you know coming face to face with a T-Rex is never going to end well and there are a few other gory moments in the book -which I loved. This wasn't a picture perfect adventure novel, though the descriptions of Piloria were amazing. This was a dark and emotional story that left me reeling and in desperate need of the second book. There isn't long to wait and I'm already planning a re-read of this book in preparation.

I couldn't recommend this book more, had I read it just a few weeks earlier it would have been at the top of my 2017 rec list. This is easily one of the best books I've read all year and it might even be my favourite. So I've ended the year on a high, and if you'd like to read this book too -head over to Taken Moons on Twitter or Instagram where I will be giving away a copy on each along with a Jurassic Park themed bookish candle.

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