Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review: Extinction Point

I'm a junky for dialogue.  Buffy, Gilmore Girls, Firefly, The Avengers.  Anything with characters verbally jousting is fun for me.  It's my favorite thing to write.  Two, or three people, put in a room, given a few props to throw between linquisitic fencing and I'm happy.

Why do I open a book review with this?

Because there is nearly no dialogue at all in Extinction Point and I still could not put it down.

I also should say that I thought I was downloading a book called "Extraction Point", with the cover art featuring a city and a girl on a bike.  With that title I thought I was getting cyber punk.

But it wasn't.  And that's perfectly fine.

Extinction Point is the story of Emily Baxter as she is one of the few survivors of a cataclysmic event.  My wife saw me reading it and said "oh that's like a zombie story right?"  Well, sort of.  It's not quite a zombie story but there is a lot of suspense and a lot of mystery about what's happening.  I don't want to spoil the experience for a new reader but I will say that I found the pace of information generally very well done to keep me reading.

The entire story is told from Emily's point of view but from a third person narrative.  Honestly, as I've gotten older, I find this style much easier to read.  The traditional 1st person narrative tends to wear on me and I think often looks like a writer's early attempts.  It can be done well (Catcher in the Rye comes to mind) but I think it is really far more challenging to do right than most new authors realize.

I have read some reviews and find myself agreeing upon reflection that the story does start to drag through the final 1/5th of the book.  I think that the author wanted the story to do more, but found himself unable to find a good stopping point so he just kept going until he hit a page number and wrapped it up.  There was a chance to stop the story in a more logical place but it would have pushed the book closer to Novella than novel so I understand continuing.

One small issue I'll make, and this is as a writer, is the use of the term "Tinned food".  At first I thought that this was an East Coast thing as well as an English thing (I knew it was English).  Turns out it is just an English thing and the author is from the UK.

Now why is this an issue?  Well, because even though the writer is British, the story is from Emily's point of view an uses her slang and her thoughts.  She swore in New Yorker (Using the F word a few times) and not in British-English (not one B word in the mix).  This is the kind of thing that a little research might have caught, or maybe an American Beta reader would have.

But that aside, the attention to detail, the specific reactions to the events, the actual overall story were all very well executed.  In fact as far as "extinction" kind of stories this was a play on it I was not familiar with and I thought well done.

I think that as part of a larger body of work it will do very well and make for a good series, though I do think that the intentional "There's more to her story" left me a little wanting.  I highly recommend it and wish my fellow independent author the best of luck!

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