I received an early proof copy of 'The extinction trials' from Usborne, and I was very excited to read it! I didn't know much about it at all, so I entered the book empty handed. It gripped me from the beginning, and I entered the character's world, and don't think I will come out of it for some time.
The novel was based in a different world to our own. The characters lived in a place called 'Earthasia', where it is so crowded, no one has any space. They lived on rations and they have very strict rules. There was also another place called 'Piloria', which was inhabited by dinosaurs and sea creatures that you would not like to come across. However, the government of Earthasia decide that they needed Piloria for their people to inhabit. To do that, they wanted to get rid of all the creatures living on it. Their new idea was to collect the dinosaurs DNA to find a way to extinct all the dinosaurs. They wanted to do this by sending one hundred people to go to Piloria, for seven days, and to try and retrieve Dinosaurs eggs. The winner would receive specialized health care, power privileges, preferred housing and no rations. But, being on the island was dangerous and the competitors soon realise they can trust no one.
Getting through to the competition meant horrendous and dangerous trials, where a colossal amount of applicants entered, but only one hundred succeeded. The two main characters of the book were two people named 'Stormchaser' and 'Lincoln.' They both entered the competition with completely different intentions. Storm chaser was just wanting to get through the trials and get some food, whereas Lincoln was determined to get to Piloria, and win the competition so he could cure his sister's deadly illness. However, both characters got through and become allies with each other. They teamed up in Piloria and fight to survive together.
The chapters rotate on either Stormchaser, or Lincoln, and each alternate chapter focuses on one character more than the other. However, they are still written in the third person. I thought this was original but personally would have preferred if it was written in 1st person as I think it would have made more sense so you can really feel you are in the characters thoughts, and it would have made the difference between them more obvious. Having said that, the author portrayed both the characters brilliantly and I really felt I got to know them. I thought it was clever how Lincoln had such reason for being there, whereas Stormchaser didn't really understand why she was and it was unplanned.
Both characters had different skills which were important in both the trials and actually surviving on the island: Stormchaser could hold her breath for four minutes, and she was a very experienced swimmer, and Lincoln had a great skill in climbing. The two characters were in a team of five, and the other three are great friends, but soon they learn all five of them need to trust each other with their lives, even if they're all holding secrets. As the novel goes on, the characters learn more about the place Piloria and the creatures that live on it. Their job is to collect eggs and to do this they had to fight a lot of dinosaurs or other creatures.
The only thing I would say about this book was it is quite similar to Hunger games. However, this is not necessarily a negative thing as fans of Hunger games would absolutely love this, and also it had a huge unique twist which made the book highly original as there was nothing similar in any book I have read before. This was that there were dinosaurs in the book, so it multiplied the threat of being killed in the competition. There were horrible competitors where nothing would stand in their way, and there were also intelligent dinosaurs that would hunt for days just to find you. This also gave the characters something to relate to each other and in a way unite. As they were all under the same threat, they also had to help each other in order to survive. This was a really positive effect on the novel as it created friendships which gave the book more depth and it made betrayal even more dramatic.
The book has a great ending which I was not disappointed with. It had a perfect balance of happiness and sadness, and it created thoughts to carry on circling my brain about the plot. It definitely leaves room for the second 'Extinction trials', which I am already so excited to read. The ending created cliffhangers for all the characters you got to know of the book, which I thought was a really clever way to end this gripping novel.
Overall, this was an immensely gripping book which I will really recommend to get your hands on a copy when it comes out in January, it is imperative! It is thrilling, scary and touching all of the same time and it gives a taste of a world where dinosaurs existed. A fabulous young adult read, which I think adults would enjoy as much as teenagers! I recommend it to ages 12+
(buy it in January)
(Not official cover, picture only proof copy cover!)