Today we’re talking dinosaurs! The first page of the book is a map everyone loves a map. This might be a little bit of a love letter review sorry guys. Also spoiler warning!
The cover sticker that’s actually not a sticker promises The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park and it wasn't far off the mark, we live in a world where the dinosaurs exist on their own continent called Piloria. Piloria is where trees and all kind of vegetations grow, dinosaurs’ rule and the ecosystem is healthy. Then we have Earthasia which is overpopulated, births are controlled by the government, dystopian world our protagonists begin in. Space is scarce and mankind has built up as much as possible and people live in caves, energy and food are rationed. Education is minimal ( a couple of days a week) and is mostly focused around searching for new, efficient food sources.
The plot moves quickly, surprisingly political and is set in a world that is similar to ours however their world is lacking basic necessities. I am in a love-hate relationship with the concept; living in a world that’s so deprived and overpopulated that the human race wants to wipe out the dinosaur continent of Piloria in able to survive which brings ethical themes that focus on our attitude towards the environment. Storm's stance is firm that mankind has no right to wipe out all the dinosaurs because we have ruined our own continent. I am with Storm on this one! We shouldn’t be killing whole species for more space guys, especially a world that we know little about think of ecosystems and other implications.
The trials have been created to wean down competitors down from all over Earthasia to a mere 100 to see who can travel and survive Piloria. This year the task is to find the eggs of three of the most “dangerous” species; the T-rex, velociraptor and the pterosaurs. The winner will be granted a luxurious life gaining accesses to unlimited food, medical care, better accommodation and money. The book was also quite gory in sections but not in a bad way but it did take me by surprise (SPOILER) the bit with the Megalodon I was cheering for the giant shark sorry humans I love the shark more.
The story is told from two different points of view: Lincoln and Stormchaser (Storm) both want to win but for very different reasons. I really enjoyed reading the different points of views and reading about their different intakes on everything regarding the story-line and its development. Lincoln will do anything and risk his own life to protect his family, while Storm has no family and is developing a relationship with dinosaurs. Storm and Lincoln are both well-developed and make an interesting pair of characters, who are contrasting and yet they manage to complement each other. I loved the steady build-up of trust and friendship between Storm and Lincoln, and how the start of a romantic relationship wasn't overshadowing the story and seemed genuine.
Storm and Lincoln form a team with some other finalists during the trial to increase their chances of success when they are sent to Piloria. Each member of the team has their own motives for being a part of this group and even though they form a great team, no one is to be trusted with so much at stake. The journey we take with Storm, Lincoln and their friends is emotional and action-packed, and never once felt boring. I loved all the characters, apart from Galen of course but if you read it you know why, although I love the way he was portrayed and he actually made me curse him out loud a couple of times.
The dinosaurs were awesome, I did find myself Googling a few of the dinosaurs as I was a little rusty and had been labelling dinosaurs wrong. It also made me realise the amount of research that Susan has done like the feather argument on certain species and other details.
The writing is rich and vivid, with the story being so intense and twisting yet the scenes were so detailed and well written. I usually find some books try this tactic and fail. The Extinction Trials keeps such an intense pace but wasn't choppy. I couldn't help but rush through this book I was gripped by the story and the action. I think the way the book is split into six parts, and the alternating points of view really help you fly through the book.