Posted in review, young adult

The Extinction Trials: Exile – S.M.Wilson

“That was the thing about this place. Blink. And you missed it. Blink. And you could be dead.”

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Blurb: “After surviving on Piloria once, Storm and Lincoln are the obvious candidates to return to the dinosaur continent to test the new virus that should clear the way for human settlement. But they have their own priorities – finding a cure for the plague that’s sweeping Earthasia, and keeping themselves alive.”

I picked up The Extinction Trials on a whim after seeing a mixture of the buzz online and that it was pitched as “The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park.” It only took a couple of pages for me to fall completely in love and try shoving it into the faces of anyone who would care to listen. It felt new, original and filled my need for dinosaurs eating people; yes, you read that last part right. My review of the first book can be found here.

The Extinction Trials:Exile shows straight off how history is destined to keep repeating itself. When barely any of the participants return from the dinosaur continent, Piloria, the government is still very much set on its plans to get rid of the dinosaurs by administering a virus to their water supply. A good majority of this book is set on Earthasia with both Lincoln and Storm being promoted to roles within Parliament. It can feel like a bit of a lull at times and I found myself just wanting to get to the dinosaurs, but it was important to flesh out the human continent and give a horrid reminder of just how bad the conditions are. A lot of the seemingly minor bits of information littered at the reader’s feet become quite important later on.

I love the two protagonists, Lincoln and Storm, in the sense that they really don’t like each other. They have returned home after surviving dinosaur attacks and it isn’t until they are forced back onto the island together that the duo is actually reunited; quite simply, they have no reason to. I can’t quite place it but this just made their “relationship” feel more real because they both want extremely different things and had nothing really tying them to each other. Lincoln cares only about saving his sister in whatever way he can, while Storm can’t stop thinking about the idealistic nature of Piloria. Storm gets to spend more time with her father, Reban, and it was interesting to actually see his side of things as he was pitched more so as the villain in the previous book. This mix of narratives did a wonderful job of giving a more rounded view of the important factors at play.

I also liked seeing Blaine again, the stipulator left behind by the government and seeing how he has continued to adapt to his new surroundings with very little help for Piloria. It fuelled that seed growing in Storm’s mind about the possibility of living alongside the dinosaurs without human interference, and showed just how adaptable humans can be.

Once again, S.M.Wilson does a fantastic job of building the tension when the characters, along with some new faces, finally land on the dinosaur continent. The descriptions were so lush and vibrant that I could picture it so clearly while venturing through the narrative. There were many moments when I held my breath; waiting in anticipation for a dinosaur to jump out of the bushes at the last minute.

Another brilliant addition to the series and I simply cannot wait for the next one!

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Posted in review, young adult

The Extinction Trials – S.M.Wilson

“She’d come for the food, but it wasn’t the rewards that called to her now. It was a chance to see a different land and its awe-inspiring creatures.”

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Blurb: “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.”

It’s not often that I pick up a book knowing very little about it. It’s also rare that publicity pitches such as “if you liked this then you’ll like this” really grip me because I feel it’s setting yourself for disappointment. But The Extinction Trials blasted these feelings out of the water: all I needed to hear was “The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park” for me to know that I had to read this book.

The Extinction Trials is set in a world of two continents: Earthasia inhabited by humans and Piloria inhabited by Dinosaurs. Overpopulation is an issue the human race is struggling to deal with. There’s a lack of basic needs for survival such as health care and laws in place to discourage reproduction. Every year, trials take place where applicants are sent to the dinosaur continent for various reasons such as finding sustainable food sources. In a last ditch attempt, the government is looking to possibly make Piloria their new home.

The story is told through dual perspectives, Stormchaser and Lincoln which initially threw me, but as the plot progressed made a lot of sense. The Extinction Trials tackles the idea of how far an individual is willing to go for the ones they love; what lengths will you go to when you’re truly desperate to survive? It’s for that reason that having multiple perspectives was a perfect choice because it showed the different character motivations and their reasons for choosing to sign up to the trials. Stormchaser has nothing to lose and just wants decent food, while Lincoln would do anything to get his sister the health care she needs.

Everything about this book is seemless and each plot element just flows so perfectly into the next that almost forgot that I was just reading a combination of letters on a page. The world that S.M.Wilson has created is so vivid that I could picture every snippet of information she provided. It’s the kind of creation that I would love to see in a visual format.

The Extinction Trials is an adrenaline filled thrill ride with an ending that left me begging for more.

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Posted in children's fiction, review

The Christmasaurus -Tom Fletcher

“This story starts like all good stories do, a long time ago. Not just a long time ago, but a very, very, very long time ago.”

 

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Blurb: “Forget everything you thought you knew about the North Pole, pop a crumpet in the toaster and get ready to meet: a boy called William Trundle, Santa Claus, an elf named Snozzletrump, Brenda Payne; the meanest girl in school (possibly the world), a nasty piece of work called Hunter and a most unusual dinosaur…”

The Christmasaurus is the first full length children’s novel from Tom Fletcher, known for his best-selling picture book series The dinosaur pooped…

It’s now a new year and if you’re missing Christmas then this book is the perfect read to keep the festivities alive for just a little while longer.

The story follows a boy called William Trundle who loves Christmas but nowhere near as much as his dad who has a decorated Christmas tree in his cupboard and wears Christmas jumpers all year round. William also loves dinosaurs and wants a real one for Christmas and it just so happens that the elves at the North Pole have dug up a dinosaur egg.

It’s rare that I find a book where I can’t uncover any faults but The Christmasaurus is one of those books.  William Trundle is in a wheelchair which is so important to have represented, especially in a book aimed for children, as it shows that anyone can have an adventure. The Christmasaurus struggles to cope with the fact he is the only dinosaur left and through a series of magical events, he ends up in William’s house on Christmas Eve.

This book is definitely written in a way where it’s meant to be read aloud (there are some words in bold, big font or italics for emphasis).  There are lots of rhymes too as that’s the way the elves speak which provides opportunities for Tom to showcase his song writing abilities. This book also features the most beautiful illustrations I have ever seen. Shane Devries does a fantastic job of bringing the story to life with an extra bit of magic. I somehow felt closer to the characters by seeing the scenes depicted in drawings alongside the story.

The Christmas song from the announcement video for this book also makes a relevant appearance in the book along with sneaky references to one of Tom’s previous books.

The Christmasaurus is a testament to the fact that you can enjoy any books at any age.

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