Extraction (Extraction #1)

16210411Author: Stephanie Diaz
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: Sci-fi, Dystopian/Post-apocalyptic

“Welcome to Extraction testing.”

Clementine has spent her whole life preparing for her sixteenth birthday, when she’ll be tested for Extraction in the hopes of being sent from the planet Kiel’s toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves promising enough to be “Extracted,” she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. Torn apart from her only sense of family, Clem promises to come back and save him from brutal Surface life.

What she finds initially in the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface—it’s free of hard labor, gun-wielding officials, and the moon’s lethal acid. But life is anything but safe, and Clementine learns that the planet’s leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers—and that means Logan, too.

Trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan and the rest of the planet. But the planet leaders don’t want her running—they want her subdued.

With intense action scenes and a cast of unforgettable characters, Extraction is a page-turning, gripping read, sure to entertain lovers of Hunger Games and Ender’s Game and leave them breathless for more.


Let’s get on with already. I’ve been staring at the blank screen for almost an hourrrr now for something snazz-tastic to come up and beg me, but na-nana-na-nah! I won’t just give in, because the more it pleads, the sweeter the taking. Yeah, noooooo… I don’t what I am smoking. I think it’s the air; recently, it’s been begetting these things in me: sneezes, struggles to breathe, dizziness, lapses in my remembrance of all the math and Mesopotamian crap I read few months ago, lapses in my recreational reading. There must be something amiss here. THERE IS EVILNESS AFOOT!!!

ARE THEY TRYING TO *GASP* MAKE ME INTO IGNORANT CATTLE FOR THE TERRIBLE, INEVITABLE, TRITE, GRATUITOUSLY EVIL, RIGHTEOUS FUTURE TO COME? *GASPING* *SNEEZING* *what is the formula for cosine(A+B)??? i can no remember(I do, actually, but why ruin the mood)*

Bleh. Isn’t this how it goes every. forsaken. time? I come up eagerly every. forsaken. time to these dystopian/futuristic novels but the only books they hold up candles to are the ones that well, couldn’t even manage to hold my interest long enough for me to finish. But this book, finish I did!

There is a pattern here that I have grown weary of, when I remember once saying that I will never, ever sigh/groan at the influx of nonsensically evil regimes and people overthrowing them. If you’ve already a considerable, or even average, collection of similar novels you’ve read, I assure you you’ll be able to track the story’s progress without even needing to read much beyond chapter three. LOOK! I made you psychic! This is going to be awesome, innit?- but wait, you must go hide because the aforementioned terrible regime making me forget all the intricacies of the Binomial Theorem don’t like mystics. You can resist. You can overthrowwwww themmmm!!!! Runnnnnn, baby!

Again, bleh. For those of you who don’t fall in with the resistance, here’s the banal formula they follow: girl carves a way into the utopia, utopia is an absolute dystopia, there is a resistance(I am starting one, you’re welcome to join so long you ain’t a Wormtail), girl is tortured, learns of resistance, fight ensues, turns out there’s reason behind the dystopian aspect but it actually doesn’t make a fucking sense and the evil people are just deluding themselves, girl saves the day blah! blah! blah!

Here we have the story of Clementine, a name that has never agreed with me(much like my own), and that is pretttty much what follows.

Clementine works, rots, suffers on the surface of planet with a moon covered in pink clouds*(which was new, so I liked). People are either make it through a test, which beams them down unlike the guy calling to Scotty into place where the elites liver, or just go on until they die, having filled their breeding quota, of course. The rest, you can read in the blurb which gives away too fucking much, I daresay, since a few specific beginnings and tribulations mentioned start about more than halfway into the story. Recheck yoself, buddy.

One of the major problems with these stories is lack of consideration of the actual workings of human population. Evil regimes are gratuitously so. Gratuitousness doesn’t agree with the efficiency they seek to impose upon their views of the future. Evil regimes can’t be evil for the sake of being evil. There needs be purpose; a proper fucking explanation, not one to be torn apart in the clumsy, red hands of a sixteen-year-old resisting snottiness and privilege. Hell, in much of history, the gratuitousness we talk of has generally come of soldiers, stagnant overlords; not of men, sometimes women, bent upon an agenda. (I could be wrong. Eh.)

And the populace. All I comprehend is brain stuff! brain stuff! brain stuff! because that’s all there is. And also some pew! brain stuff! pew pewpew! brain stuff!

To begin with, I had tumultuous relationship with Clementine and her plight. I wasn’t interested, nor was she interesting- one of the blandest, most predictable creatures. However, her hints were like a bloody elixir to my dwindling, theoretical passion for her story. The story still followed the road taken too many times for its good, but there were character dynamic I was interested in. Unfortunately, most of it didn’t pan out.

Clementine herself. I could see the author trying to create a character carve a special place of her own, not as a ramification of her conditions or speshulness, but because she worked for it with determination. Yet because of hastiness, it all came tumbling down and our dear protagonist, a beaten down and tired girl, almost defeats a veteran’s time on her first try, finds the cheat in a simulation game she’s just discovered the existence of and by the by, also happens to have memorized the solution to Yates’ equation. Just like that. Man, I wish I had the caliber of these characters. Unless the void of personality is a prerequisite. Then I don’t want in. No, thank youse!

Clementine and Logan. He’s the boy she left behind. Albeit their relationship mostly developed in her reminiscence and yearning and comparing, it engaged me. Not because Logan was a particularly vibrant or expressive character; it’s the way she described him. Beautiful, hardworking, caring, intelligent, obedient yada yada some version already bored… but then my attention snagged on the obedient part. Obedience is a way of survival in their world. So it follows that obedience would be a desirable character in a partner. I wanted exploration, development more!moremore! I demand it! I was disappointed.

Clementine and Ariadne. Nope, she ain’t loving with her. Don’t visit here for girl-on-girl time. I liked the tentative, abashedly hostile, understanding friendship they develop. However, it isn’t spotlighted or even plays a major part in either of the girls’ progress as individuals.

Clementine and Beechy. He’s a character introduced muchhho latero. The knight in black velcro. Or that is how I picture him. There are slight, trembling sparks that jump from one to another that were nonsensical! fillers! badly written fillers that drove me insane! pointless because there seems to be no love triangle! then what the fuck?!?! Perplexing, needless and exasperating. Her friendship with this other guy proves you don’t need sparks for a close, platonic relationship with a specimen of the sex(es) you have a preference for.

Basically, characters and their dynamics? Floppity flop, baby. I don’t know what’s left for me to objectively review in order to help Stephanie Diaz‘s debut find its audience. The writing is average, and sometimes thespian- and seriously, if the plot and characters aren’t worth your time, the writing won’t change shit. I had lots of notes to dissect the whole frame and actions and decisions of this world, but I’m not writing a, or in the mood for(like I sometimes get), a dissertation.

But I will say that to get invested in this story will require a great deal of suspension of belief and common sense. Also, not fulfilling in the most basic sense. I just have so many questions about this world.

This world. Right. A tiny positive for The Extraction is the development and introduction of a twist(was it rrrealy a twist???) much later on in the story that YA novels of this trend don’t ususally follow. And if there’s going to be a war, it might actually get interesting. This world, not the characters.

In any case, on an even more subjective level, I had various peeves, including but not limited to: instant know-how of swimming, a sexual assault that is not given its due diligence-almost brushed over and holy fuck! is that guy trying to make an excuse or what saying that the perpetrator is unkind to everyone! gee, she should be so thankful that it wasn’t personal. This is one of the nicer guys. *sigh* Blah blah blah lack of test tube babies, which would be the logical course for a government that wants workers, not families but loggiiiiic! dear logic!

Logic has been more of an impediment, as opposed to a precondition, for this bandwagon.

416 pages of not worth it, unless you like the formula and it gets you off(I remember when I was in that fleeting phase).

And on this note, I shall depart while you decide.

*Coincidentally, the epic(in its immensity) story I started telling my brother at night back in May or something also has deadly pink clouds covering a moon.

Review copy provided by St Martin’s Press.



2 thoughts on “Extraction (Extraction #1)

  1. Eek, this one sounds awful. I’ve read a lot of books with evil and oppressive regimes and sixteen year old girls saving the day, and you’re right… after reading so much of it, I’ve grown tired of the concept because there’s a ridiculous pattern that it follow… and it’s that most of them, the regimes are evil just for the heck of it. Like what the what. I hate it when that happens because not only does the book become a disservice, it shies away from what could have been a complex book if it just made the regimes, I dunno, maybe a little more than one-dimensional. And Clementine sounds really bad… I has a feeling I’d be bonking my head if I ever encoutnered her…

    Faye at The Social Potato

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