The Extinction Trials by SM Wilson
|The Extinction Trials by SM Wilson|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A dystopian setting for this fantasy novel and a new twist with the incorporation of dinosaurs. A cross between The Hunger Games and Jurassic Park and a light but fun read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: December 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
Storm and Lincoln live on Earthasia, a continent ruined by overpopulation. Space is scarce and energy and food are rationed. Education is minimal and mostly focused around searching for new, efficient food sources. Storm's mother has died and she never knew her father, so she lives in one of Earthasia's overcrowded shelters, goes to school for one day per week and wrestles hay bales for a job. Lincoln's sister is dying from the blistering disease and he has no access to the healthcare that could save her. It's a mean, desperate existence for them both and so they are first to volunteer for the Stipulators' trials for a new mission to the neighbouring continent of Piloria. The aim is to retrieve dinosaur eggs so that a virus to kill them can be engineered and the citizens of Earthasia will have access to the space and abundant food sources Piloria offers...
... but could it ever be possible to survive a land full of vicious predators like the tyrannosaurus rex? And is the offer made by the Stipulators all that it seems?
I really thought that The Extinction Trials was a fun read. We see dinosaurs featured in a great many books for younger children but they rarely make an appearance in YA. In this story, we have The Hunger Games meeting Jurassic Park and, for the most part, it works out pretty well. You can believe in a fantasy world of two continents - on one, humans dominate and have destroyed the environment through over-population and over-exploitation; on the other, dinosaurs rule and the ecosystem is healthy.
Of course, the ruling elite on Earthasia can only see the dinosaur's continent of Piloria as a resource. They see the dinosaurs, not as part-and-parcel of a working ecosystem, but as a problem to be removed. And the citizens of Piloria - overcrowded and always hungry - go along with that view. But Storm knows there's something wrong with this mindset. At the outset, she can't quite put her finger on it but, as the book goes on, she can see how wrongheaded and counterproductive it is. But what choice does she have but to comply with the Stipulator programme? This first book in the series takes us through Storm's journey of understanding and sets us up for the possibility of her challenge to the status quo in coming volumes.
The writing is concise and clear and accessible. There are a lot of action sequences, which are well-paced and succeed at creating tension. But the worldbuilding is careful, credible and consistent, and the characters are well-rounded - even the ones we lose (and I'm not giving their identities away, so there). There's some romantic tension between Storm and Lincoln which adds an extra layer to the story, but it doesn't take it over. I appreciated this.
The Extinction Trials is a fun new addition to dystopian YA. There are a great many dinosaur fans out there and they are going to love it.
If The Extinction Trials appeals because of its underlying messages about climate change, you might also enjoy Dark Life by Kat Falls, in which humans are colonising the ocean bed. Middle grade readers who like the idea of a dinosaur theme might enjoy Z-Rex by Steve Cole
You can read more book reviews or buy The Extinction Trials by SM Wilson at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Extinction Trials by SM Wilson at Amazon.com.
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