I’m not quite sure why I keep reading YA Dystopian novels. They’re usually pretty good. Honestly, ever since the boom in Dystopian novels I’ve read countless books in the genre that I love, even very recently. The thing is, they’re either really good or really bad. By now, it’s all been done. There is not much that is fresh or new that can be done and so at this point, it’s not about what’s happening so much as how the book is written. Are the characters likable? Does the writer’s style stand out? Is it emotional, or mysterious, or edge of your seat suspenseful? Unfortunately, Extraction was none of these things.
The novel begins by introducing us to a world very different from our own: the Planet Kiel, where life on the surface is dangerous at best thanks to the pink acid that comes from the moon. Years ago, when the lethal acid first began making its way into the atmosphere, the most wealthy people put their resources together and found a way to survive: the core. They’ve made a home at the core of the planet and left the surface to children who, at the supervision of gun-wielding officials, spend the twenty years that they are kept alive doing hard labor for the benefit of those lucky few.
The only hope for these children, including our main character Clementine, is the extraction. Every year, the ten most promising 16-year-old surface children are taken to the core to help contribute to their society, saving them from hitting their expiration date and being executed at the age of 20.
When Clementine is chosen for the extraction she must leave behind Logan, the boy she loves, with a promise to find a way to save him. Clementine finds out that the core really is the Utopian society she’d always dreamed of, but she also finds herself stuck in a nightmare where the planet’s leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers—including Logan. She must find a way to save him and the rest of the planet before the leaders find a way to subdue her like the rest of the core.
When I read the premise I thought it sounded interesting. It reminded me a lot of “The Testing,” which came out last year and which I loved. But, from the very beginning it was just okay. Not great, really, and definitely not very interesting. I had a pretty hard time continuing reading but I pushed on. The only thing I really even liked about the beginning was Logan, but even he wasn’t anything spectacular.
Once Clementine went to the core I thought, “Great, this is where the story will finally pick up some steam”… unfortunately, it still fell pretty short for me. There were huge things happening in the plot and I just wasn’t very interested in any of them. Clementine was a pretty forgettable main character, and the friends she made once she was at the core weren’t all that memorable either. The villains were not the “love to hate them” type either. There wasn’t much about this book that I found entertaining at all. The end felt like it wasn’t put together very well and I felt like too much was given away in this first book for the rest of the series to be any better.
Maybe I am burnt out on Dystopian novels for now, but Extraction was definitely not my cup of tea.
Extraction by Stephanie Diaz is now available!
• Publisher: St. Martins Griffin (July 22, 2014)
• Length: 416, Hardcover
• Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction
• Source: Netgalley