Friday, January 23, 2015

[Book Review] Extraction by Stephanie Diaz

Extraction (Extraction #1) by Stephanie Diaz

Publication Date: July 22, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Source: personal purchase


"Welcome to Extraction testing."

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.

With intense action scenes and a cast of unforgettable characters, Extraction is a page-turning, gripping read, sure to entertain lovers of Hunger Games and Ender's Game and leave them breathless for more.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review

You wouldn't expect a science fiction book set on another planet with a moon that spits out acid to be described as realistic, but that’s exactly how I would describe Extraction by Stephanie Diaz. She manages to take this completely fiction world and translate into relatable experiences. Everything from her characters to the situations the find themselves in just seems like they could happen to me – you know if I happened to live on the planet of Kiel.

At first I didn't like Clementine. I couldn’t quite pin down why, I just didn’t. And then about 30 pages in I realized why – she wasn’t perfect. I think we’ve come to expect these perfect, self-sacrificing heroines in literature, but in reality, none of us are like that. We have moments of selfishness and self-doubt and we should hold always hold our protagonists to these unrealistic standards. After realizing this, I started to like Clementine a lot more because she was reacting to situation the way I would.

We know from the plot summary that Clementine has her love back home, Logan, but since she was separated from him for a majority of the book I was worried a love triangle would develop. Without going into spoilers, let me just say that once again Diaz handled this so realistically. I mean what teenage girl wouldn't start crushing on guys that she sees every day or happens to save her? And even though Logan doesn't get much page time, I still found myself loving him and rooting for him and Clementine.

The one thing that I thing that I found a little off-putting in the beginning was some similar elements to The Hunger Games and Divergent. I know I hate when major media outlets constantly compare YA books to these huge blockbusters as much as the next person. Just the fact that there were these groups of teenagers waiting to be selected for entrance to the Core (albeit in this case they wanted to be selected) and then the training that they have to go through once they arrive were two things that I made me have to work hard to separate Extraction from the aforementioned books. However, the story deviated from this soon enough that it became a non-issue once I got into the meat of the story.

Overall, this action-packed science fiction book is hard to put down and I felt like I just flew through it. The twists and turns kept me on my toes and wanting to find out what happens next. Even though the ending of Extraction was satisfying, I’m excited to see what happens next to Clementine and the rest of the cast of characters. Extraction is a solid debut novel from author Stephanie Diaz and I look forward to picking up the sequel Rebellion.

4 out of 5 stars

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