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The Extinction Trials

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Member Reviews

This is a hard one to describe the plot without giving anything away, this is one of those books you kind of want to go into blind. 

This was a really tough one for me to figure out how to rate. The overall plot was creative and great in concept, but the execution just didn’t cut it for me. Bit disappointed because I do remember really liking another of A.G. Riddle’s books a few years back, and his other series seem to be very popular! So let me say that while I won’t give this one a resounding recommendation, I would definitely recommend checking out others by him. I also am seeing other really high ratings for this book so perhaps this just wasn’t right for me.

Overall rating, with a maybe too generous bump for the plot: 3 Stars
Writing style rating: 2 stars

Where it went wrong for me: The characters were either bland and nondescription or overly described in a way that made them very Mary Sue. I developed zero attachment for any of the characters. The plot, while overall had great potential, most of the book I felt like we were going nowhere and all of the hurdles and challenges the characters had to overcome were exceptionally easy to solve. There was too much philosophical and pensive content that made my brain a bit numb. The romance seemed to develop without any rational explanation nor relationship building or chemistry. The ending- while very interesting and clever- I have seen done before. There were several other nuances with the writing that frustrated me but as I got further into the book I realized a very good reason was hiding. Finally, as usual my background in the medical field makes me frustrated with some of the medical references in the book, especially with the character that is the ER doctor who apparently also knows how to perform autopsies and regularly does surgeries as well…. Doctors have specialties for a reason- ER docs stay in the ER, surgeons stay in the OR, and medical examiners/pathologists stay the hell out of both of those places and only work with the dead.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars

A group of strangers wake up in an underground facility. They learn they are part of a research group called the Extinction Trials. They have little supplies, don't know what the world is like, and are left clues to figure out how to survive.

I love dystopian/end of world type books. Some interesting ideas in the last 25% of the book to think about. Several twists. Random thought but given this is a survival story, there was focus on food but not water.

I had both audio and digital copies and flipped between them. The narrator was easy to listen to.
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I’m a bit of a sucker for A.G. Riddle’s work. I really enjoyed his the Long Winter Trilogy. Sure, I know the books have similar plots - post apocalyptic scenarios on a grand scale and that the stories get a little corny but, for me, that’s part of the charm. I know what I’m getting (more or less) and that, generally, the good guys (minus a few who don’t make it) will prevail. I also know that I’ll become absorbed in the world that Riddle creates and I’ll be rooting for his characters. What’s not to love? 

This one ticks all those boxes. The world is going to h*ll in a hand basket (it’s an old expression) and certain characters must come together to save the day. Some will not know what they know. Some will have secrets and, in any case, they have no idea what is going on. This is a good thing because what is going on is very bad. Governments and technology companies are in a war to the death, both claim that they are the only path to salvation for humanity. In a nutshell.

Many dangers are faced along the way and the intrepid group battles on. The ending was a nice little twist that I didn’t see coming but it makes sense. After reading this I’m even a bit more kindly disposed to artificial intelligence. Just a little bit. Also, Riddle has written some books previously as a series called Extinction Files so you need to be careful. I was caught out on Goodreads and the plots are both different but similar sounding. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this though. It makes a lovely change from dark books even if you find post apocalyptic books themselves dark. Many thanks to Netgalley and Legion Books for the much appreciated arc which I reviewed voluntarily and honestly.

To be published on 2 November 2021.
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Thank you NetGalley, the author , and the publisher for the opportunity to read and give an honest review of this book.

This dystopian, science fiction book is all about 7 characters that are awakened from glass chambers in an unknown site without knowing how they got there and what they need to do to get out. It reminded me a bit of the old Rod Sterling Twilight Zone tv series.

The world has changed. It has literally been destroyed by a war. However, disease and AI also play a role in this world’s  destruction. The characters in this novel take on the task of finding other humans that may be left in this changed world. There are clues, and puzzles to solve before they can get to their final destination. The characters all seem to be linked together in some mysterious manner.

I admit, I have issues with the hokey ‘science’ in science fiction literature.
However, I took this book on in order to be openminded and to dispel any prejudices I may have about science fiction. 

I believe this is a great book for science fiction lovers. It just wasn’t the book for me.
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Moving back to Legion Books, the independent publisher that issued Riddle's early works, The Extinction Trials  is another of his science fiction thrillers.  Similar in theme to the previous, The Departure, the novel opens by introducing the reader to six individuals who are awakened in an 
underground dwelling.  Soon they learn through the communication with Artificial Intelligence, that they are part of an experiment -- one that is intended to jump start humanity. 

Told both in flash back and in the present day, the characters must deal with a cataclysm that has wiped the past, leaving the present in ruins, and leaving the future without hope.  Unfortunately, while the ethical issues are intriguing, the characters remain more wooden and less human.  The plot sags with passages that are overwritten.  Nevertheless, a reader will not leave the story.  Not quite the page turner from Riddle's earlier novels.  However it does work as a simple stand alone. 


Full disclosure: I received this ARC from netgalley and Legion Books in exchange for an unbiased review.  Thank you for this opportunity.
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Story 2 stars
I've read all A.G Riddle books and over all I really enjoy them, but this one I struggled to get into to. It's felt quite repetitive for most of the book and when it did start to pick up I was pretty keen for it to end.
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3.5 stars 
The Extinction Trials is a standalone dystopian science fiction thriller from author AG Riddle. I initially was confused by the title assuming this was another entry in Riddle's Extinction files series and was excited to find this one is a standalone book. 

There is alot to like about this book. Riddle delivers a complex, richly layed plot which poses thought provoking questions about humanity, the greater good and morality. I felt pulled back and forth with regards to which side I was on and whose motive was greater, never being quite sure who the 'good' guys were. 

The story is part epic adventure, part science fiction dystopia and part apocalyptic thriller. The pace was good with each section providing new and fresh situations and challenges for the characters.  I read the whole thing in one sitting as I wanted to know more and more. 

The two main dislikes for me were the characters and generally the sense that this had been done before. It felt very similar to me to Riddle's other novel, Departure. People lost with limited memory, struggling with who to trust, technology, a futuristic aspects, and heavy handed messages about society. The characters could have been fleshed out a little more for me. The romance subplot between the two main characters felt unnecessary or in need of more development. 

The ending is well crafted and packs a punch. I did actually find myself gasping out loud. This part put a whole new spin on the story and gave an interesting perspective which was an intriguing and compelling was to finish. The plot all wraps up with no cliffhangers. 

Overall, a solid and entertaining book which I'd recommend. 

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for an early copy of this book.
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I’ll say right up front that while I enjoyed some of this apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic novel, I also had major problems with it, including instances of unwillingness to suspend my disbelief and an ending I found disappointing. I can give it only a three-star rating.

Talk about world-building! In “The Extinction Trials,” A.G. Riddle first constructs a seeming near-future world where mankind has become increasingly dependent on AI. Next, he fashions a post-apocalyptic world into which seven individuals awake.  Their challenge? To figure out where and when they are and how to reach a place of permanent safety (or a third “world”) while navigating various dangers including a war for the soul of humanity.

The first part of the story poses mystery upon mystery, a little bit like the TV series “Lost.” Who are these characters? What has happened, and is happening, to them? Where and when are they? What’s the next danger lurking on the horizon and how will they, and the rest of humanity, survive it? That’s what kept me going. And, to his credit, Riddle ultimately supplies answers to all the mysteries posed.  But along the way, I found some of the explanations and descriptions, especially about just who was at war with whom, to lack specificity, relatability, and most of all, credibility. The use of two deus ex machina type characters didn’t help.

And speaking of characters, I found them somewhat stock—not cartoonish, but not all that deeply drawn, and often seen in popular entertainment: e.g., the heroic firefighter; his beautiful scientist love interest, the constantly complaining but oh-so-competent, blue-collar mechanic. And I found it odd that some characters were given traits, or deficiencies, that had little to do with advancing the plot, and that other characters important to the plot were barely described at all. 

I thought the settings not as compelling as they could have been, strange certainly, but either sterile and repetitive (as in the repeated use of below-ground, laboratory-type facilities) or wild but not very dangerous (as in forests and oceans that, except for storms, really don’t include a lot of perilous features).

And while the ending wraps up the story neatly and finishes answering the mysteries raised, I found it pat, cliched, and more than a little preachy, causing me to think: I came all that way for this?

Grammatically, the novel is pretty well-written. The prose and dialogue are straightforward and clear. You’d expect that from a novelist who is the veteran of nine previous works, some of which I’ve enjoyed.  This one, for me, was not of the same caliber. However, others may well feel differently.

My thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. The above is my independent opinion.
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The Extinction Trials is a modern science fiction adventure that owes a lot to the television show Lost with its hidden hatches and secret puzzle clues of numbers. One difference though is none of the participants here know how they got where they are, entombed in chambers or what’s going on in the rest of the world. It’s also a dark apocalyptic story about a future where the human race is nearly wiped out and the few survivors are at war with each other, never trusting each other, always spying on each other. It further posits what could become of the utopians who ask you to hand over control of your thoughts and sublimate them to the greater good. There is a lot going on here and each curtain lifted only makes things murkier, telling several stories at the same time. The plot line follows one group of survivors as they venture out of their pods, not knowing if the air is poisoned or if the weather had been weaponized against them, an odd grouping they are, often a bit clunky as they interact.
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A. G. Riddle has been on my reading list for years but I’ve never actually gotten around to reading him. So I was super excited to get an ARC book from him. 

The Extinction Trial follows seven strangers who wake up in a failing building with no memory about where they are, why they are there and what their future entails. This novel follows the characters as they explore their surroundings, follow clues about what happened to them and the world around themselves and slowly learn the truth about humanities future. 

The plot was amazing with plenty of suspense, action, thrills and surprises. I was never sure what had happened in the past and why, so the big reveal was really exciting and shocking. 

The character development was the best part of the novel. Each character was amazingly written with unique personalities. As the characters slowly regained their memories I loved witnessing the changing relationship between each character; some relationships became stronger while others slowly degraded. 

The world building was great but it felt standard for post-apocalyptic novels (in comparison to the world of Hell Divers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith for example). 

The conclusion was perfect. 

My one minor complaint was I got a little confused in the beginning. That quickly cleared up as the novel progressed though. 

Overall this was a great apocalyptic novel with plenty of twists and action, great characters, an interesting world and a perfect conclusion. I would suggest it to all post-apocalyptic fans. 

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC.
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This was my first book by this author and it won't be the last.  Whilst reading I could really see this as a movie. 

Whilst reading you didn't know who to trust and I do love that in a book.  This was another book that I had to read in one session to learn what happens next. 

I was given an advance copy by the publishers and netgalley but the review is entirely my own.
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3.5/5  A very good premise.  Started out very well.  After 1/3 to ½, I was expecting that this would rate a 4.5-5 with me, but it somehow lost its way.  A few too many coincidences and parts where characters seemed to know things beyond the story line; but there’s enough here for me to want to read the sequel.  

The book is generally about two human factions vying for control; confusion, fires/explosions, robots turning against humans, and mostly about a small cohort of people trying to find their way.

Each person in the group has a back story that unfolds throughout the book.  Each has a part to play in moving forward.  Owen is a fireman and natural leader, Bryce is a proctor of the trials (an android caring for the group), Maya has very few memories but seems to be intelligent and strategic, Blair is a child (to be looked after), Alister is a mechanic and complainer, Cara is a doctor (who can fly helicopters), Will is a programmer who worked for the company who built the station they are in (and also turns out to be a proctor of the trials).  

Character development was generally good, but the relationship building of Owen and Maya’s romance was quite wooden.  There really was no bloom.  Just here we are, about the same age and of opposite sex; therefore bang, we are in love.

Also Owen’s obsession with his mother was a little much.  Why would he think that an elderly woman in a Nursing Home would survive everything that was going on?  And why would he think that he could actually find her, if she did survive?  He didn’t even know where in the world he and his cohort were, except that it’s called Station 17.  But then I guess, as we find out later, there aren’t that many people in the world and I assume that the populated area was also relatively small.

Loved the surprise ending.
All in all, I will definitely look for other things by this author to see how his storytelling grows.
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Preachy Philosophy And Just-Too-Far-Out-There Part V Mar Otherwise Stellar SciFi Novel. Outside of some hyper preachy philosophy in Part IV and a Part V that simply breaks everything previously established and shatters all possible suspension of disbelief, this book was truly a stellar scifi suspense/ action tale. One that should have simply ended with the conclusion of Part IV. You've got elements of Brett Battles' PROJECT EDEN, James Dashner's MAZE RUNNER, THE MATRIX, WATERWORLD , BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, Ted Dekker's CIRCLE QUADRILOGY, and a jump-right-into-the-action opener ala Jeremy Robinson's UNITY or (a bit more precisely) MASS EFFECT 2's opening level. And these are all franchises that I personally LOVE. In other words, if you like scifi at all, this is going to be something you'll want to explore. Even if scifi isn't really your thing, the meat of the story here, of forced proximity creating a family-of-choice, secrets, lies, betrayals, and survival... those are all human elements that Riddle uses effectively to tell his story remarkably well. So well that were it not for the issues noted at the beginning of this review, this is very *easily* a 5* tale. As is, it is still a mostly solid, action packed book, and still recommended.
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This post apocalyptic story begins with a clash of intentional, manmade catastrophes. There’s not just one but multiple threats to kill off all humanity in an eugenics Big Brother campaign. The entire plot requires the reader to suspend disbelief amidst all of this chaos and hold on for a bumpy ride. 

Amidst the human cleansing, our protagonist, a fire fighter with expressive agnosia, a women with amnesia, and several others awake. No one knows what’s going on. We learn there are secrets among the team members and elsewhere, but like the protagonist, we are required to wait and find out the answers along with him, solving problems while on the run as they try to save themselves—and humanity. The puzzle solving is a bit formulaic. The team’s focus and the book’s themes are sweet, life affirming, and a little corny.

This page-turning is very easy to read in one sitting and ends in a unique head scratcher of a twist. 

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my opinion.
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I received this book from legion books via Netgalley for a review. Another exceptional read from A G Riddle. The master of the post apocalyptic novels and this is no exception, thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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Thank you to legion books and Netgalley for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

I really loved the way we just jump in with the action. I was left with questions that were slowly answered as the book progressed. I enjoyed reading this adventure and by the end I felt like I knew them all and was rooting for their survival! This was a nice sci-fi read with a virus that causes the Change in the entire population of the planet, and causes a huge war between 2 main groups. 
 The survivors awake in a freezing fallout shelter and quickly find out they need to leave or risk dying as the power goes out.  The main survivors are Owen a fireman who's limitations make reading facial expressions impossible, and Maya a scientist who is infected with the virus. The survivors must make life or death decisions while trying to find this mysterious safe haven the Coloney as their food stores dwindle. They must all contribute in their own way to the survival of the group, sacrifice themselves for the good of the group, and try to save mankind. The ending really surprised me and I loved it!  Did they save mankind or will the same mistakes be made?  I guess you'll have to read this page turner to find out!
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Having this described as Jurassic Park crossed with the Hunger Games dis not help here; I went into this with lofty expectations only to find the plot and character development lacking. Still an ok read, but not something that I would put in my stack of things to read again.
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There's a certain, for lack of a better phrase, je ne sais quoi to this book. It's captivating and yet I can't explain why. The pace is smooth without any extra un-needed explanation to the story. Although the story is a science fiction/dystopian, the dialogues between characters are natural and the vocabulary used is not overly complicated for the readers. The only thing I found that did not work is the relationship between Maya and Owen. It was not very convincing to me. In the end, I wanted more and I hope there will be a follow-up book that will continue this story.  

Thank you to Legion Books and NetGalley for letting me read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The Extinction Trials by A.G. Riddle  An epic dystopian science fiction novel with a message of hope and family.  The novel is thought provoking.  Well written and well developed with relatable and realistic characters.  At the end of the novel. the  author tosses in a  a word during a conversation between Owen and Maya that gives the novel a whole new perspective.  Highly recommended. 

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to preview the book.
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The Extinction Trials Kindle Edition

by A.G. Riddle  (Author

Thank you to AG Riddle, the publisher and NetGalley for the complimentary reviewer's copy. I am choosing to leave a fair and honest review.
AG Riddle is one of the masters of apocalyptic fiction. His previous works include the Origins Series and the Extinction Files series. His ability to research and to apply that research for a fascinating story is second to none. And those abilities shine throughout the Extinction Files.
The Extinction Trials is the Hunger Games if Greg Brin and Michael Crichton wrote it and Ari Aster turned it into a movie
As a pandemic circles around a future world where AI and robots have taken all the dangerous world, our hero – Owen – a firefighter makes a life-altering decision that winds him up at the back of a triage system because of his injuries. After fading to sleep while awaiting care, he awakes to find himself in an underground bunker about to fight not only for his life, but the life of the remaining human race.
The story is woven tightly, leaving breadcrumbs that you think you understand then poof – nope, you don't.
Riddle's talent seems to grow with each book. In this case, the surprise at the end is a complete surprise and a well-earned one.
Riddle's writing is clean. It keeps moving except in the case of clothing. He brings up clothing over and over. 
The story is told through Owen's and Maya's (the heroine of the piece) eyes. There is always a hint, from both of them, that we aren't seeing the whole picture. Their voices are similar but Riddle manages to keep them separate.
The plot has the feel of Hereditary or The Cabin in the Woods. When that second shoe drops at the end, it will leave with the same gasp.
All in all, an amazing read with a lot of fun science and an interesting turn on the end of the world as we know it.

5 stars out of 5
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