Review: Extraction (Extraction #1) by Stephanie Diaz

Title:  Extraction
Author:  Stephanie Diaz
Series:  Extraction #1
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin, an imprint of Macmillan
Publication Date:  July 22, 2014
Pages:  403
Format/Source:  Hardback/From Publisher  
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Science Fiction, Dystopian

“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. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

A YA Melting Pot…

Throughout my time reading Extraction, I found myself comparing it to a lot of different YA books.  Many elements of this story reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games and Divergent series, and, to a lesser extent, Across the Universe and Inside Out series as well.  At times it seemed as though Extraction was simply checking off all the YA dystopian tropes.  Some kind of test at age 16?  Check.  The main character realizes, through the test, that they are somehow different or advanced or special?  Check.  The main character is sent somewhere different because of said differentness or specialness?  Check.  The main character has some sort of makeover at their new place of living?  Check. The main character undergoes a training process at their new place of living?  Check.

Now, let me just say that I enjoy dystopians.  And while I do think that there is an abundance of them right now, and many of them don’t live up to the quality of the others, that doesn’t mean that I will just disregard a dystopian because it’s similar to others.  Yes, it kind of bothered me that this book had so many similarities to other dystopians.  BUT I felt that Extraction also had its differences.  There was no love triangle, for example. Clementine has a fleeting crush on someone quite a few years older than her, but then it turns out he’s married and she immediately goes back to only having feelings for her almost-boyfriend.  So I guess you could say that it looked like it might have had a love triangle, but it didn’t happen.  

And one of the characters that at first reminded me of Four from Divergent, kind of turned out more realistically than Four.  Now this is where some people are going to get angry with me, but it just has to be said:  Four was an ASS to Tris at the beginning, and he did some horrible things in Insurgent, and he NEVER made up for those things.  I feel like he just wasn’t as great of a character as everyone thinks he is.  And in Extraction, there’s a character who starts out treating Clementine just the same way Four treats Tris at first, yet this guy stays a complete ass.  He’s not a good guy.  He is, in fact, one of the villains of the story and I feel like he just didn’t flip-flop like Four and while I don’t like him, I feel like he’s a more complex and realistic character than Four. 

So although I can see where others would have issues with all the similarities with other YA books, I feel like Extraction had enough of its own compelling stories and characters to become more than just that YA trope checklist that it seemed to start off as.  Once the pace picked up a bit before the 1/4 mark, I really started enjoying it.  

My rating for Extraction by Stephanie Diaz:

Actually more like 3.75 stars, just under 4.  It ended up being full of action and suspense, with an emotional ending that set readers up for the next book in the series.  I’m very interested in seeing where the rest of this series will take us!

Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Macmillan
You may also enjoy:  Inside OutAcross the Universe

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way for this review.

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