BOOK REVIEW: The Extinction Trials by S.M.Wilson

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Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival.

Welcome to the Extinction Trails

Well if that doesn’t grab your attention I am sure the small circular sticker will, which graces the cover of the beautifully crafted and eye-catching young adult book ‘The Extinction Trials‘.

But don’t be fooled by thinking ‘It’s young adult fiction, that’s for kids’. It’s right it can be found in that section of the bookshop, but the contents within, the themes it delves into could be found in other meatier fiction such as Michael Crichton’s ‘Jurassic Park’ or Dave Eggers ‘The Circle’ – do you remember bibliophiles putting down such books as ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Twilight’ as just children’s books; look who’s laughing now, and who had to eat a large slice of humble pie!

The Extinction Trials is a book you misjudge at your own peril!

The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park

-The Bookseller-

What S. M. Wilson has been able to achieve with her first young adult title is nothing short of brilliant, the book is engaging, fast paced, deals with many issues of culture and class divides and of how we look after the world; all issues that could be compared to a society we live in today, all wrapped up with a wonderful dystopian vibe.

Wilson is able to write with a fabulous clarity, don’t get me wrong it’s not simple in any way, just pronouncing some of the dinosaurs names in my head had me stretching my mental capacity and turning to google to find out what they looked like (something I think is brilliant and will help young readers learning – as well as old).

The prose is strong and direct and helps to take the reader into a world that has been masterfully created, leaving you never doubting what is being said and what is unfolding before the characters. Wilson has a strong hold on the dystopian genre and had my mind running away with me picturing all that she revealed throughout, the different parts of the world and how things look so bleak. I have not read a novel since Fight Club that I thought would look brilliant on film; ‘The Extinction Trials’ will be made into a film, it’s only a matter of time. I have no doubt about it (you can quote me on that), it will also spawn a franchise of books, again I have no doubt about that too, as I know that the next book is due out in June 2018.

One of the selling points of this book I feel is the scope it has, within the book but also in its readership, I myself thoroughly enjoyed the journey and can’t wait to start reading the next instalment, it had the same buzz I had when reading The Hunger Games and The Lord or the Rings. I can also see its appeal to the young adult market, but I can see its greater appeal to those reluctant readers out there (you know who you are!), those in school who don’t want to read, or choose not to. For one it’s about dinosaurs, who doesn’t like those; its set pieces are wonderfully executed, you feel the tension, the horror, the despair in all that transpires. It has a cast of characters that are well thought out, three-dimensional people, with thoughts, feelings and principles, but they are likeable and have depth, which aid in showcasing the stories heart, soul and deeper message. It’s a book I can’t wait to share with my children when they get a little bit older, until then, I’ll be keeping it safe for them.

 ‘But shouldn’t every living creature have the same chance of survival?’

With the billing of ‘The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park’ you would think, that’s a lot to live up to; S.M Wilson does just that and in doing so has created her own kind of monster. Of course, there are small similarities between this and those books it’s been compared to; such as the small bunch of friends Stormchaser (the main protagonist) makes, the concerns over who she can trust, the competitive element of the trials and of course Dinosaurs. But there is much more going on here, and we are at the start of a wonderful journey, a journey filled with terror. Survival and sacrifice.

It’s about the possibility of extinction and the quest for survival…oh and did I mention there are dinosaurs!

A thrilling ride from start to finish, a book with such cinematic qualities it blew me away. It’s a book that just keeps on giving until the very last page! Go dig yourself up a copy and start the extinction process, let’s hope you survive!



S.M. Wilson lives on the west coast of Scotland with her fiancé and two sons. Her day job is as a nurse in public health – and her dream job is writing fiction. Her love of YA fiction started as a teenager and has never stopped. She wrote The Extinction Trials to try and infect her sons with the same love of reading that she has – watch out, she’s hoping it’s contagious!

Twitter – @susanwilsonbook

S.M.Wilson website click here

The Extinction Trials was published by Usborne Children’s Books and you can pick up a copy here.


Reviewed by Ross Jeffery




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