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The Extinction Trials

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Member Reviews

I am a fan of Riddle and this book does not disappoint. The plot is richly woven and keeps the readers interest until the last page. There are many twists and turns in plot so you never know what is going to happen next.

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The blurb of this novel was an absolute hook for myself, the concept of a group of random individuals being put through a set of trails in order to rescue the remainder of mankind, was just too hard to turn down. I thought to myself, 'What could go wrong with a blurb like that?' ..... Lucky for me, I am hardly ever wrong and this was no exception. This book was an absolute pleasure to read form start to finish.

Starting this book was swamped in absolute mystery - the cast if characters opening their eyes, trapped inside an unknown tube with in a completely unknown location. A strange android that greets them and to let them know the world as they know it is no more. And it is up to them to save humanity, but only a strange set of clues and each others distant memories to guide them. The beginning third of this book hooked me instantly. Learning about each of the character, understanding their personalities and taking the journey of discovery alongside them. The two main character in Owen - an ex-fire fighter who had an issue with the fire robots turning on their crew and Maya - contracting a deadly virus that is slowly erasing her memory. These two characters are both engaging and the chemistry between them is believable and the author did an excellent job at using these two characters as a platform for telling the story.

Dystopian fantasy or sci-fi has always been an interesting setting throughout all mediums and Riddle has done a fantastic job crafting his world. It is completely void of hope, the characters seeming isolated throughout the story. I could picture myself scavenging through the base in the beginning of the story, escaping into the unknown wilderness beyond. Throughout feeling true isolation and loneliness. As the story develop, the world becomes slightly busier with more and more sci-fi elements filling out the details, with understandable explanations. One of my pet peeves with writing, is when an author makes ideas of concepts too complicated without justifying it with the appropriate explanation or spending the time needed with the reader. However, Riddle paves the story well, holding your hand just gently enough to understand the science in play without removing you from the story itself.

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If you’re a 13 year-old, you just might like this book. I’m a bit older and I was extremely unimpressed.

I don’t think there was an adjective in the entire book. There is no real description of the places where things took place. The characters had elaborate stories but ultimately never came to life. Their dialogue is wooden. The trials themselves don’t really seem that difficult and the solution to one ends up being the solution to most all of them.

I don’t know where all the excitement about this book is coming from. I read “this is a book to read in the fall of 2021”. I am very glad I was able to get an ARC from netgalley; and if I had paid for this I would be even more unimpressed.

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There is a lot to like in this book and not just for hardcore sci-fi fans. In fact the strongest aspect of this book is the relationships among the main characters and the themes of loyalty, friendship, family and integrity, all of which are very well explored. Also the action in this book, although in small doses, was well written and you could feel the suspense rising. As for the sci-fi fans, I think you'll like what you'll find here, but not be blown away by its originality or complexity. The ending was quite clever but still I could use with some more explaining.
I didn't have any big issues with mr. Riddle's book besides one or two things I awsn't a fan of.
Firstly I found some choices/decisions from the main duo of protagonists not that convincing and finally I also felt that the first part of the book was a bit too slow for my liking and it took me a while to get totally hooked on the story.
As I said above, this is a book that will appeal to a lot of readers sci-fi fans or not.

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The Extinction Trials by A.G. Riddle

This book starts off with a lot of intensity and doesn’t ever slow down. I enjoyed the concept of a purposeful, man-made apocalypse and a scientific endeavor to determine how humans could survive it. The ending of the book brought the story in a full circle and felt very fitting and satisfying.

Towards the beginning of the book it was sometimes difficult to tell at first who was narrating the chapter, as the characters’ voices were quite similar, but it got easier as time went on.

I struggled the most with Blair’s character, who felt very ambiguous. She’s described as a young child and her age is never directly stated, but it’s implied she may be just starting to read, so roughly 5-7 years old. However her speech is incredibly articulate for that age and she reads more like a pre-teen/teenager in that regard. While she is part of the main group of characters, I struggled to connect with her in any meaningful way.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read that I looked forward to picking up again every time I had to put it down.

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Maybe you have seen the 1997 movie The Cube. If so, something in this book will sound a little familiar to you. In the movie, 7 people awake in a cube shaped maze with deadly traps. This time around, we get a bunch of people in an underground research facility. And no obvious traps. But not less deadly. Only we don't start at this point like the movie.

Instead, we start into a world of tomorrow that seems to be a bright world at first glance - AIs being utilized the right way, robots relieving mankind from the most dangerous activities (like firefighting). It looks to be a promising world!

And then, of course, everything goes south. Looks can be deceiving. It's true in everyday's life, and it is especially true in the world of the extinction trials. Before we reach them, though, we get a good look at our two main heroes. Immediately likeable characters are a boon for every story, but especially for stories of dystopian suffering that want you to suffer alongside their characters.

When the real part of the trials begin, our two protagonists will be joined by a bunch of other characters. Those are as much of an enigma to the heroes as to us, and soon everything starts to look like a (deadly) game. A game that begs the question - who can you trust?

There is some mistrust here, and as stories of prior members of the Extinction Trials emerge, those are given more substance.

"Tonight, they are evil.
Tomorrow, they are survivors.
The next day? They are visionaries."
-- About 38 % in

The world is intriguing (and there is far more than meets the eye), everything after The Change is shrouded in mystery, characters are relatable as well as likeable. So how about pace?

I think it's done just right. It starts with a good pace, followed by a build up that will have you turning page after page without even realizing it. Scene changings between characters feel natural and happen at moments that are dramaturgical right, further increasing the action and the pace. I love it when an author thinks about where their scene changes should be, and it just feels good here.

I've talked about The Cube at the start, and while our group is not in a maze filled with deadly traps, their situation is similar: They are - kind of - trapped in a small underground research facility (with failing power), fighting for their survival and totally unaware of any details - where they are, how they got there, how long they've been there, what happened in the meantime. The only person who could shed some light unto those questions suffers from partial memory loss.

Speaking about memory: There are also philosophical ideas and concepts spread throughout the book. How do our memories of the past shape or future? If our memories could be altered, what would that mean for us?

Besides some of these questions, our heroes are also facing riddles (the author lives up to his name) they have to solve with the breadcrumbs of clues they have been given. And it soon becomes clear they make an excellent pair.

There are some psychological things here coming into play, what with all the mistrust going around. And - not too surprising - we find some philosophy at the core of the story. And at the very heart the conclusion that mankind itself is it's greatest adversary. <em>Homo homini lupus</em>, as Thomas Hobbes wrote (or <em>lupus est homo homini</em> in the original words by Plautus).

I also had a feeling that A. G. Riddle was, at least in parts, taking a bow to George Orwell. Because if you reach a certain point in the story, you can't help but notice the 1984 vibes.

And then there's the final twist. I'm not telling you anything, but it did not come totally unexpected. And the prologue was rounding up everything in a very satisfactory way.


When all is said and done, this is an excellent book! I rate it 4.5 out of 5 (rounded up to 5 on sites that don't support half stars).

The half star reduction is because there are some minor inconsistencies here. Like (sorry, minor spoiler) - where does Bryce's (severed) thump come from that Maya is suddenly wielding? I would have thought the thump walked out of the airlock together with the rest of Bryce. And where did the flashlights everyone is brandishing come from? I know these are really minor details, but since the whole story is so gripping, it's actually something that registers with me, disturbing my immersion into the story.

There are also some other things that seem to be slightly off for me, and I can't tell you about without spoilering too much. But that's really criticism on an absurd high level.

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I don’t typically read fiction, but I wanted to get away from non-fiction for a bit and this book looked interesting. I’d never read Riddle before, and they did not disappoint. It only took a week to zip through this page turner.
The book begins with Owen going out on a routine call that goes haywire and ends with him unconscious. Maya is living her life as normal and ends up in the hospital. She is visited by someone she doesn’t remember, but ends up passing out from her illness before anything gets answered for her.
They wake up in a station with a small group of other people, none knowing what’s going on. They learn that they’re in a post-apocalyptic world and participants in something called The Extinction Trials. Each person has an envelope containing an item they recognize from their past, but no reason why the items were left. They learn the power to the station is failing and they need to leave. What follows is a series of events and twists that reveal everything isn’t quite as it seems. Even once everything is more or less resolved and you think the story is finished, there’s one or two final twists at the end.
I thought this was going to be another climate change novel. I was wrong. I especially liked how the ending came out of left field.
While I was reading this, I would explain what happened to my girlfriend. She quickly became invested in the story and urged me to read more so she could find out what happened. It’s safe to say both of us would recommend this book.
Overall, this was a great read and I’ll definitely be checking out Riddle’s other books.

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Others have summarized the story below so I'll keep it brief but this follows a group of people waking up after an extinction event trying to find out what happens to them. This is fast paced and action packed. It's original and just when you think you know what will happen next, a twist is thrown at you to keep you engaged. It's a page turner!

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Just when you think this book was going in a certain direction... the twist was entirely unexpected but was the deciding factor in me giving this 5 stars! I also loved the beautiful message of the importance of family, both given and found. Special thanks to Netgalley for this advance copy!

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After a short/cryptic prologue where we are teased about an experiment/project that is meant to restart the human race via what is referred to as The Extinction Trials, we get our first opportunity to meet our first participants in the trials. Now while there are more than two participants, these two main characters, Owen Watts and Maya Young, are the only ones we are introduced to in the time before the trials start. Owen in a fireman, though with the advancements in society much of his work has become obsolete with robots and automation handling much of the work, but soon we see that something is wrong with those automated systems. When we meet Maya we don’t know much about her, she’s completing a workout class when she collapses and ends up in a hospital, where she isn’t sure what is going on, only knows that something isn’t right and she believes she’s in danger. We start to get hints that something isn’t right in the world, that Maya may be infected with something known as the Genesis Virus and that something known as The Change is happening around the world.
Then we jump ahead, though how long is unknown, with Owen, Maya, and several others being woken up in some kind of station/bunker were they are informed that the world as they know it is over and they are survivors. Thus begins the real meat of the story, the journey to not only survive but to figure out what has happened. This all happens in the first 10-15% of the book or so and I’ll stop the recap here to spare any spoilers, but seriously this is just the beginning of the mysteries that need to be solved. It’s an interesting cast of characters and quite an exciting and gripping story.
While I could compare the “what the heck is going on?’ feeling I got to such shows as Lost, the truth is when I started reading this book I actually keep thinking about the feelings I had when I first read Blake Crouch’s Pines (first book in his Wayward Pines series). The books aren’t actually all that alike but as I said it gave me a similar feeling. An addictive need to know what was going on so I just kept saying I’ll read one more chapter…well maybe just one more, again and again.
I’d like to thank Legion Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an eARC of A.G. Riddle’s The Extinction Trials.

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AG Riddle writes stories that include world-changing events and suspenseful travel. My first introduction to Riddle’s writing was with his Atlanta Gene series. Just like The Extinction Trials, there was travel, suspense, and budding world change.

In The Extinction Trials, two main characters quickly emerge, a neurological scientist and a fireman. Both did their career jobs nobly intending to save lives. But competing world factions, bent on wiping out existing humanity and restarting a new population, ended their prospects. One political faction used a memory steeling pandemic to accomplish that goal while the other used technology to create killer robots out of all the service robots. Fortunately, a third faction cryogenically preserved as many non-aligned citizens as possible to facilitate the survival of the human species.

The factional wars continued, but The Extinction Trials’ story is primarily about the two main characters, put into cryogenic sleep, who wake up in a dystopian future and are left with vague clues leading to the third faction’s sanctuary. The two end up battling other survivors on the way and mistakenly end up in the pandemic-spreading faction’s control. That faction attempts to chemically alter their minds to make them more compliant to its cause. But they escape before the changes manifest and manage to get to the sanctuary.

At the sanctuary, two advanced androids meet them and assure the couple that they can remove the changes to their brains and preserve them along with the rest of humanity. The couple emerges thousands of years after the rest of the awakened population and find themselves on a new virgin planet. During the time of their extended cryogenic sleep, humanity had built new civilizations on earth and was at a technical level similar to the 1960s. The robots provided the two main characters with a large endowment in the form of diamonds, stones that were plentiful in their former world but are rare on earth and very valuable. Using that endowment, the couple invests in promising world-changing technology companies. At the end of the book, they are going on to prepare the population for settling other planets so that the human race no longer faces extermination at the hands of its political factions.

The book’s story and its pace kept me engaged. I spent many a late hour reading when I should have been resting in preparation for the following day’s obligations. As a result of AG Riddle formulary writing, I don’t think that I would have enjoyed The Extinction Trials if I had read immediately following the Atlantis Gene. Fortunately, this is a new book that came out long after I read that series so I didn’t need to.

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The world as humanity knows it seems to be coming to an end. With a sudden bang. A new super-virus called Genesis Virus strikes left, right, and centre, causing headaches, nose-bleeding, and complete memory loss, sometimes even death; and the countless self-driven vehicles and other AI-operated machines meant to help people get out of control one day, maiming and killing everyone in their reach. Both former scientist-cum-secret-service-informant Maya and firefighter Owen learn it the hard way. The former almost dies from an outbreak of the virus and is rescued in the very last minute by government colleagues before falling into a coma. During a routine intervention that turns out way more dangerous than he thought, the latter is seriously injured and transferred to a hospital, where he loses consciousness. Both wake up in glass tubes and find themselves in a freezing underground bunker together with a bunch of other people—a bus mechanic, an ER doctor, an IT specialist, a little girl, an unsuspicious-looking old man, and an android, Bryce. Their proctor. Bryce tells them the world has really ended what seems like eons ago and that they are one of several separated groups of survivors enrolled in a secret repopulation program called the Extinction Trials. That’s the good news. The bad news: the outside world has become deathly, the power system of their bunker is failing, and… end of explanation. The seemingly harmless old guy bashes Bryce’s head in, depriving them of further information, before dashing outside. Luckily, no one follows him, because through the airlock door window, the other six can only watch with horror as he dies a death that is as gruesome as it is sudden. The question is: what with the power failing, food rations being scarce, and no way to find out a) what has happened, b) where they are, and c) what to do or where to go, they are trapped in this God-forsaken bunker and…

And that’s as far as I’m willing to go, plot-wise. Why? Because. Several “becauses”, in fact, the main of them being that any further information would be a spoiler. And I really wouldn’t want to spoil the reading pleasure for anyone. Believe me: if you’re into cleverly thought-out dystopias and gripping world-building, you WILL find pleasure in reading this book. Immense pleasure. I was hooked after the first page and couldn’t put it down until I had finished it, and I can tell you, it’s a novel filled with unexpected (and unexpectable) twists and turns galore. You never really know who is who, who’s telling the truth and who’s lying, what really happened, or into what hellhole the world has truly been transformed while the main characters were asleep. The only constants in this trust-nobody-trust-nothing world are Owen and Maya, who take turns not telling the story (that would be dull and bad writing) but lending you their eyes, ears, even thoughts and memories in order to show you. They both have weak spots, blind spots even (Owen for instance seems to be born with a light brain damage that makes him incapable of interpreting body language or facial expressions), and yet, they’re the driving force that will make or unmake the whole group’s survival and understanding of the new situation.

It’s been quite a long time that I haven’t read such a great book—well written, well developed, entertaining in the sense of making your heart beat faster and your breath get laboured while you’re turning the pages almost in a frenzy. The plot turned out waterproof, with just enough new elements per chapter to keep this reader’s curiosity well alive and kicking yet without overwhelming him or pushing the pace over the top. No, there were moments of respite where I could calm down while getting to know the two main characters better. Everything in this really cleverly written book is there for a purpose, each detail, each clue, even the romantic subplot that necessarily comes to light at one point—they all add new layers, new depths. Yep, although being highly addictive and entertaining, this is no shallow read; it points out questions we humans should ask ourselves before it’s too late. And the final twist—a masterpiece. I highly recommend this book!

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Another winner from A G Riddle. I have read quite a few of his works and you can always depend on him for a fast-paced sci-fi thriller and this one doesn't disappoint either.

Others have summarized the plot so I won't go into much details. Suffice to say that this one is about a (near) extinction event and the quest of the survivors to find out what happened to them. They wake up from a comatose state and are in a race against time to find out what happened to them, who is a friend and who is a foe.

Looking forward to the next one!

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Today, coffee was not a want, but a NEED because I spent all night reading A.G Riddle's 'The Extinction Trials' and refused to put it down, not even for one second.

Here is what I thought...

A global event simply known as ' The Change' has seemingly caused the end of the human race, but not all hope is lost. Six strangers wake up, years later, in an underground research facility with one goal - to save the human race.

I couldn't help but fall in love with each of the characters, who each had an interesting story to tell, try and uncover how they are all connected and find out what brought upon 'The Change' and is it reversible?

The Extinction Trials is 893 pages of pure perfection, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi masterpiece, and I urge you all to pre-order your copy now!

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Thank you Legion Books and NetGalley for this exciting new sci-fi mystery book!

The Extinction Trials by A.G. Riddle was full of fun! I've never read a AG book before but that changes after today, because this was amazing!
A fantastic read from start to finish! I couldn't put it down once I started.
Great story with complex characters and interesting scenarios. The pacing did not let up.
A great fun book!n
Now I'm off to get his Pandemic book!

Thank you again for the opportunity to read this outstanding novel!
I will post to my platforms closer to pub date!

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This book is the reason I love reading AG Riddle. It was interesting,fast paced and totally entertaining.I am hoping there will be a sequel.

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5 stars, The world as they knew it has ended, now what?


A small group of people wakes up in a fallout shelter and as they are learning about what is going on, one of the people waking up murders the man who was telling them about the state of the world at this time. They find that they have to work together to get any further with their escape.

Highly recommend a great dystopian science fiction novel.

Many thanks to #netgalley #legionbooks for the complimentary copy of #theextinctiontrials I was under no obligation to post a review.

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I made it about half-way through this but just couldn't summon the motivation to continue. It was just flat.

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I got a RAC of this book through NetGallery in exchange of an honest review.
It was my first time reading one book from A.G. Riddle and i must say i loved it. even the moments that seem slow, are in the right speed for me, and the ones with action, are also well written and well described, for me it was the perfect novel, even knowing that you will have the after trials book it feels complete.

The book follows a group of survivors that awake inside a "Fallout shelter" of the sorts, more closely Owen and Maya that we are introduced to their life before waking up, Owen is a fireman, a brave man that cant read faces or read into the situation since he was born and he has his mom in a nursing home and he cares deeply for her, Maya in other hand, we dont get to know much about her because she seems to be forgeting her past.. only knowing for sure that she wants to know her mom and sister are ok and people seem to want to hurt her.
i did like this story very much and even having romance, its for all ages, people helping each other and working for a comum goal, it was a very nice read!


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