I received this book for free from Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Extraction by Stephanie Diaz
Series: Extraction #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on July 22nd, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
"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.
You know, I’m one of those people who has a love-hate affair with the dystopian genre. I love the possibilities, and the nostalgia about all the good series there have been in the past. So even when I’m disappointed, I keep coming back and giving it more chances. However, the more I read, the harder and harder it is to impress me. And sadly, Extraction failed to impress me on any front.
Let’s break down the premise of Extraction and look at its influences.
- Extraction takes place in a world where the moon is poisonous. It’s dripping acid onto the planet, which makes it unsafe to live on the Surface. In fact, there is only one settlement left on the Surface, which is protected by an acid shield. (Under the Never Sky)
- In this society, people are divided into communities based on their class (or “Promise”). The lower class live in different layers of the planet – Surface, Crust, Mantle, and Lower – and the elite live in the Core. They live privileged lives with plenty of food, resources, and opportunities while the lower classes are basically starving. (The Hunger Games)
- The people on the Surface are generally the lowest of the low. They work in work camps, like slaves, and population control is being enforced to prevent rebellions, as there have been in the past. Indeed, if people do not show enough Promise they are resolutely executed by max age 20. (The Hunger Games / Dualed)
- So what is Promise, you ask? Basically a measure of intelligence, strength, and obedience. People take an aptitude test for it when they turn 16. If they score well enough, and thus are “Promising”, they are “Extracted”, and get to live in the elite Core and survive past age 20. (Divergent / The Testing / Pawn)
- If they do not show enough Promise, they will be forced to work to the death in the work camps and have children to sustain the population (while they are age 16-20). Indeed no one in this society actually knows who their parents are (except for privileged families in the Core). (The Chemical Garden)
- The MC, Clementine, has a significant other on the Surface (although they’ve never really established their relationship out of fear), but he did not test as Promising in his year. When she passes the test, she has to leave him behind, which is awful. They have a dramatic goodbye. (The Hunger Games / Pawn)
- When she gets to the Core, View Spoiler »the first test for the new citizens is to execute the Unstables – those who had Promise, but were driven insane for some reason. They are handed guns and one by one each have to execute an Unstable to show their dedication and obedience to this society, making everyone in this society a murderer. « Hide Spoiler (Dualed)
- And after this first test as new citizens of the Core, the Extractions are cleansed of physical imperfections and surgically altered to improve muscle mass, after which they are put into a rigid training program, featuring obstacle courses, simulated battles, and intelligence tests. View Spoiler »And soon, Clementine figures out that the Core citizens are being brainwashed by injections into following Commander Charlie’s orders. « Hide Spoiler (The Hunger Games / Divergent)
But more than anything, because of the slow build up to an actual plot, I just couldn’t bring myself to care about any aspect of this book. I didn’t care about the main character, whose nondescript personality is… exactly that. I really didn’t care about her romance with Logan, because having a relationship already established before the book begins just never works for me. I had exactly zero feels reading kissing scenes between them. ZERO. And I like to feel things. And the other characters are practically cardboard placeholders fulfilling necessary roles in the story. I just… I don’t know. It didn’t work for me.