St. Martin’s Griffin / Feb 2015 ~ 4 Stars
This is the second book in the Extraction series and some readers may be a bit concerned if they missed the first book. They don’t need to worry. Clementine, the heroine shares more than enough of her backstory that those readers probably won’t miss the initial volume. She lives or rather survives on Kiel, a planet with a toxic atmosphere. At sixteen, she passes the tests to move to the Core, the safe interior below the surface, and be with the elite society on her world. Yes, this is similar to what happens in Divergent with overtones of Hunger Games. However unlike those books, Clementine doesn’t have any parents to advise her or a kid sister to guide and love. So, where does her community originate? That may have been a question answered in the first book.
Leaving her true love, Logan on the surface to continue being slave labor, Clementine soon discovered that her new perfect home wasn’t a home, wasn’t perfect. So, Clementine unites with the other dissatisfied, angry militants and joins the revolution which is where this book starts. She and Logan are determined to save the day as well as their fellow citizens.
This was a fairly fast-paced story, except for all those flashbacks when Clementine remembered every bad thing that happened to her previously in the Core. The episodes of PTSD felt authentic. More description of Kiel and the social structure would have added to the tension. How did Commander Charlie, the adversary in charge of Kiel become such a dictator? He certainly wasn’t elected to the position, but how was he chosen? When did the people who lived and slaved on the surface give up their autonomy? There must have been previous rebellions. If not, why not? And if there were, what happened to those people? Hmm, another question rose – if the kids on the surface had to worry about being tested for Extraction at sixteen and being killed at the age of twenty when they didn’t pass the tests, then how did Commander Charlie continue to have a labor force?
In addition to those unanswered questions, sometimes the characters felt too familiar. There were so many similarities to other popular dystopian YA novels. Despite those similarities, this story actually worked very well. It had an interesting setting which needed more details, a strong female protagonist that whined a bit more than necessary but she was willing to put her life on the line to save others, and a decent plot with a climax that successfully leads toward the third book, the culmination of the series. It may not happen until this summer, but readers can look forward to learning what happens next and root for Clementine and her allies as they continue and hopefully win their war.
This review was provided by Shannon Kennedy for her column Shannon’s Space in the April 2015 issue of The Book Breeze.