Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Book Review: Extinction Point

Extinction Point by Paul Antony Jones is where we will spend this Tuesday (because of work getting the better of my time yesterday).  What initially drew me to this book was that I was browsing what books I could borrow on my Kindle (product review to be coming later) using the "Kindle Lending Library" (more on that with the product review).  I believe that I have mentioned before that I am somewhat of a sucker for the apocalypse genre and when I read in the description that ". . .every living thing on earth succumbs to a swift bloody death.  Yet Emily Baxter, a young newspaper is mysteriously spared - and now she's all alone" I knew that I was hooked into checking this book out.  I knew that there was going to be more to the story than that portion of description as "alone in a post-apocalyptic world" is something that I have already read and would be damn near impossible to top.

On with the show!

Extinction Point follows mid-20-something journalist Emily Baxter, formally from small town Denison, Iowa and is currently living in New York.  She lives in New York and works at the New York Tribune (a fictional modern day newspaper that is somewhat based off of the real New York Tribune by name and probably the New York Times by proximity).  Emily Baxter lives in an apartment on the 17th floor in New York.  In case you were not paying attention, this story takes place in and around, but mostly in, New York City in the great state of New York.  I honestly felt that I was beaten over the head with the obvious stick a lot during the first quarter of the book.  The reader is told about how "the smells of New York City washed over her" followed by a "page" later by "an offer from the New York Tribune. . ." and four "pages," you are reminded that "she could see the daily bustle of life in New York City continuing as it had for countless years."  I felt that I did not need to be reminded every few pages that the story was taking place in New York City.  Maybe this goes back to the "show don't tell" thing.  

Keeping with Captain Obvious, especially in the first chapter, I felt that the author was using extra words where the were not needed.  Extra words like ". . .pulled out her smartphone" (we can assume that being a reporter she has a smartphone and unless the author wanted to say which specific smartphone, the "smart" is not necessary; ". . .an astonishingly good BLT sandwich" (I think it is safe to say the majority of people reading this book will know that a BLT is a sandwich); ". . .wireless Internet signal" (since in the same sentence it is stated that Emily is using her computer, I feel like the reader knows that in order to use the internet she will use the cafe's internet and not ask for their ethernet cable); ". . .clicked on her email client" (the author could have just said "opened her email").  I realize I am probably being nitpicky, but all of this was just in the first chapter and I was initially sad that I might have checked out a book that was going be this overly descriptive about obvious places and actions.

As it turned out, the book was progressively written better, although I occasionally still felt that I was being reminded where the story was taking place.  It takes place in New York, in case you skipped to this paragraph before reading everything else above.  There were a number of times that the character of Emily Baxter did things that I thought were dumb/stupid/ill-thought-out, but after I decided that that was part of the character's personality and the way that she thought about how to approach being alone in a city the size of New York (He said it again!)  While I may decide that I would go to a sporting good store for food that I would take on a bike trek instead of going to Whole Foods or taking a crossbow instead of a shotgun, that's just me being different than this 20-something girl who grew up in Iowa.

My last criticism is a bit of a spoiler, so I will not go into too much detail aside from that I felt that some descriptions could have been lifted straight out of Dead Space.  No, the book and story do not take place in space or in the future and it does not include necromorphs. . .sort of.  Okay I lied, so necromorph-like creatures happen in the book.

The thing had eight spider-like legs; each leg was articulated by four bulbous joints that gave the creature a lopsided, almost limping gait.  The end of each leg was tipped by a scimitar-shaped claw, tempered to a point, and made the creature look as though it were standing on tiptoes.  The top of each leg attached to another bulbous extrusion much like a human shoulder joint, and that joint was in turn attached to a long corkscrew-shaped body.
Extinction Point (Jones, Paul Antony) Location 2571

You get the idea.

In the end, I finished the book in just over a week.  For what it is worth, Extinction Point is a good summer book.  I was not looking to be intellectually stimulated or have my mind blown by a mind blowing epiphany.  I was looking to be entertained, and once I got through the first couple of chapters, I was able to enjoy the book without being annoyed by the character.  I was annoyed occasionally by her choices in survival tactics, but I feel that just means that I am invested in the character.  Maybe?

So would I recommend Extinction Point by Paul Antony Jones?  Sure.  If you have a Kindle and with Amazon's Prime service you can check it out for free.  If you have a library card and it is available at your local library, you can check it out there too.  The eBook price is also quite attractive.  I do not know if I would pay full paperback/hardback price for the book though and if I did, then I might feel let down.  If you did enjoy this book, then you will be ecstatic to know that there are two sequels titled Extinction Point: Exodus and just published in April of this year, Extinction Point: Revelations.

In The Silence Of The Darkness

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