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Review: Extraction by Stephanie Diaz

Friday, July 4, 2014

Stephanie Diaz

Series: Extraction #1
Genre: YA DystopianSci-fi fantasy
Hardback: 416 Pages
Publication: July 22, 2014
by St. Martin's Griffin


Clementine has spent her whole life preparing for her sixteenth birthday, when she’ll be tested for Extraction in the hopes of being sent from the planet Kiel’s toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves promising enough to be “Extracted,” she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. Torn apart from her only sense of family, Clem promises to come back and save him from brutal Surface life.

What she finds initially in the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface—it’s free of hard labor, gun-wielding officials, and the moon's lethal acid. But life is anything but safe, and Clementine learns that the planet's leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers—and that means Logan, too.

Trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan and the rest of the planet. But the planet leaders don't want her running—they want her subdued.

◆ A copy was provided by Macmillan for review ◆

The premise to Extraction is timeless and sellable. It's an epic star-crossed-love romantic sci-fi with the fate of the world looming before us. There's a lot of potential in that to really hook the reader. Extraction lives up to these themes with Clementine's seemingly doomed love with Logan and the leaders' plan to eliminate the Surface of the planet. However, the execution is flawed, rendering this more of a read to pass the time than a read that DEMANDS immediate attention.

Extraction is slow to burn. It starts off slow with Clementine worrying over whether or not she'll be picked to live in the Core. At the same time that she desperately wants to improve her life, however, she knows that being chosen will mean leaving Logan behind, as he has already gone through the lottery. There were times that I wondered if I should put the book down, but interest in the world and how it came to be the way that it is kept me reading. And I will give it this—in the later parts of the book, I found myself absorbed in the events unfolding before me.

At the same time, I find the world building to be poorly executed, enough to impair my enjoyment of the action as it began to kick in. First, there's the set up. I did not need Clementine to calculate how fast she can do things to tell me how smart she is. (Fortunately, this died off when the action began to pick up.) Second, there is so much potential here for world building, especially given that this takes place in a sci-fantasy world in outer space, that didn't make it in. There's aliens and different life forms. How cool is that? I do envision more of the world and history of Clementine's planet being developed in future installments as she gains more knowledge about her world's true history. However, I also believe that more of what she believed to be true could have been incorporated into this first installment, which could have helped me better focus on what was working in the novel instead of wondering about how things work in her world.

I also found the characterization lacking and never really found myself connecting to any of the characters. I could name some characters that I found cool and interesting, but nothing about them really stands out to me. I'm writing this review just over a week after having reading the book, and already names are slipping out of my head. There are also some questionable character actions that lack sufficient motivation like Clementine falling into the trap that Sam set for her (if she was really as smart as she's supposed to be would she really fall for it?), and some things happen without any real resolution... like things between Clementine and that hot older dude she meets in the Core. What happened to the tension I thought I saw between them?

Overall, Extraction is a solid debut. However, I don't know if there's enough potential here for future plot development to interest me in continuing the series. We'll see how the series progresses from here on out.

Additional Information
  1. Extraction
  2. Rebellion
  3. Untitled

  • Kissing
  • Attempted rape
  • Violence

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