Monday, January 12, 2015

review: EXTRACTION by Stephanie Diaz

EXTRACTION by Stephanie Diaz
Series: Extraction #1
Macmillan: St. Martin's Griffin
Released: July 22, 2014
Source: Bookstore
Page Count: 403

Rating: Didn't like it


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 Kiel's toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear of 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 leans that the planet's leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers, which 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's leaders don't want her running - they want her subdued.

With intense action scenes and a cast of unforgettable characters, Stephanie Diaz's Extraction is a page-turning, gripping read.

My Thoughts

I was so excited for this title, which meant I was that much more disappointed when it didn't live up to expectations. This book was such a letdown.

The societal architecture made no sense whatsoever. People on the Surface are born to parents who are not allowed to keep their children. Okay, that I can almost buy, but who the hell raises these kids when no one is allowed to live past the age of 20? I get that young kids can be scrappy and survive against the odds, but who is raising the infants and toddlers? It makes no sense. 

The characters are so far beyond flat that they're concave. Not one character had a measurable personality. Clementine is supposed to be incredibly smart, but she herself mentions that she just memorizes facts rather than learning how to apply them. There is a huge difference there. Also, just because you're quick to solve a problem doesn't mean you're that much smarter than someone who solves it a few seconds behind you. It just means you're faster. I know we're supposed to like her, but I was never able to make myself like her even the tiniest bit. Logan was difficult to buy as a romantic interest, given that he had never made a move on Clem before. Considering that young teens are having babies on this world, how am I supposed to believe that Clem, a 16 year old, and Logan, a 17 year old, have done nothing more than hold hands as friends? That he would wait until she was Extracted, when he was absolutely positive that she would be, to (almost) declare his feelings? And everyone else - Sam, Beechy, Oliver, Ariadne, etc. - was even less developed than Clem and Logan.

If the kids on the Surface are supposed to be working so hard, how did Clementine have time to study for four hours a day? For that matter, if some kids are meant to be brought into Core society as scientists and other important people, why would the Core not install a couple of schools on the Surface to teach kids instead of letting them teach themselves? They might get a larger pool of intelligent kids that way. This was similar to what bothered me about The Testing trilogy by Joelle Charbonneau, too.

This review on Goodreads mentions another point that bothered me: a few details throughout as well as the entire last quarter or so of the book is extremely similar to Divergent. I can't get into details without major spoilers, though.

Basically, Extraction is Divergent fan fiction with at least one reference to The Hunger Games. There are probably other references in there that I missed because I was speed reading to get through it. This just really did not work for me.

Clem from Buffy was definitely my first thought after reading the jacket copy. Love this guy!

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