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...
Received in exchange for an honest review from Usborne Publishing UK.
You know you have high expectations pinned on a book when it is pitched as Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park, and you know it's pretty much a recipe for disaster if at all anything goes wrong. Having read and loved both The Hunger Games AND Jurassic Park, I was both incredibly excited and extremely wary when picking this book up. Would it meet my expectations or would it end up as a disappointment? Most importantly...would it have enough dinosaurs?
The Extinction Trials is set in a world where humans and dinosaurs coexist, but in different continents. While humans live in the overpopulated Earthasia, the beautiful hub of nature, Piloria, is where the dinosaurs reign. Earthasia is under the control of a strict government that has rationed all resources such as food, water, housing and energy in order to meet demands, and one day the government decides to take over Piloria for themselves so colonies could be developed there. The catch? Dinosaurs. It is decided on that dinosaurs would be exterminated from Piloria and it is in pursuit of this that the Extinction Trials was born. Volunteers are sent to Piloria in order to find information about the dinosaurs on what is practically a suicide mission, and this book follows their journey to Piloria and how they survive there...or do they?
What I loved most about the book was the world-building. Be it the crowded, bleak Earthasia or the wonderfully lush, green Piloria, the author has built up a very vivid world and you'd no doubt find yourself conjuring up everything as you read it. And dinosaurs, yes. From relatively harmless herbivores to the ruthless, blood-thirsty predators, the author makes it clear that a lot of research has gone into creating this world.
The writing was rich, the pace was very consistent and there's not much I have to complain in this department. However, it was when it came to the characters and relationships that I felt less than satisfied and this is largely due to the fact that the author spent more time in worldbuilding than in us getting to know the characters. Perhaps a lttle more showing rather than telling would have done the trick?
I liked the characters individually, and while Stormchaser was my favourite (I loved how secure she was being on her own), I couldn't help but feel we could have gotten to know everyone else better- not even the deaths were impactful and that shows how little we were attached to the characters. Lincoln and Dell both sufficed as the love interest (and a main character) and friend respectively, but the question certainly rises as to whether the romance angle was entirely necessary in this book. I hope the sequel offers more in the way of romance and relationships, including the familial ones which really could have done with some exploring here. It certainly doesn't help that they were rushing around with dinosaurs at their feet for most part of the latter half of the book.
That brings me to my other concern- there weren't enough dinosaurs! Or at least, not enough action involving dinosaurs. What was done was done pretty well, but I would have definitely appreciated a bit more adrenaline-pumping action scenes. This could have been fixed had the characters spent more time in Piloria, or had the twists come more frequently, but the book ultimately fell short on the suspense factor and that sometimes took away from the pleasure of reading an otherwise very engaging book.
All in all, I'd say The Extinction Trials was a thrilling read that set itself pretty high standards to live up to...which it didn't quite. I loved the ending though I don't really see why Storm did what she did (nope, no spoilers), and I'm still very much looking forward to see how the story progresses, so bring on the sequel already! Just make sure we have more of dinosaurs, action and meaningful relationships, yes?
Enjoy factor: 3/5