Cover Image: Extinction

Extinction

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Member Reviews

Extinction is the story of Ben and the last bear on earth. Ben is a ranger Who must protect the bear from hunters,

Throughout the story you can feel the loneliness of the unforgiving environment and the impossible task that Ben has been given.

I liked Ben’s character and I followed his journey while willing him to win. It was a well written story which left me thinking about it long after I had finished the book.
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I spotted this novel what feels like a very long time ago — it was the cover, really, as well as the suggestion of an environmentally damaged near-future (at the time, the full synopsis wasn’t available). I read it shortly before it was published, and enjoyed it quite a bit. A shorter novel, and one that focuses more on atmosphere and place than plot (though there is one, so no fear), it was an excellent introduction to Somer’s work.

In many ways, this is a climate change novel — not strictly speaking due to climate, but this is a future that is certainly caused by humanity’s voraciousness.

    "Watched the water tables drop, the dirt turn sour, the plastics pile up, and on and on. It was all in tiny increments, each seemingly manageable, but together … ecological exhaustion, they called it later."

Much of the population has fled the planet, but a fair number remain — unwilling or unable to leave their home planet. Some — including Ben — are happy to live their lives in the wilderness, to protect it at all costs. In Ben’s case, it’s the last bear, one that has gained a certain mythic quality in our protagonist’s mind: a sign that something is still great on this planet that has otherwise been despoiled by humanity’s relentless consumption. It’s not just Ben, of course, who is aware of the impact we have on nature. Somer sprinkles plenty of interesting, sharp observations throughout the novel.

     ‘Before we got fat,’ Arnott continues, ‘we burned the forests for better hunting grounds, dammed rivers to irrigate our crops, and engineered bigger tits for our chickens. Didn’t think anything of it until we were nations full of bored predators looking for a cause.’

An interesting, well-written novel. It is one seemingly more interested in atmosphere and description than plot-driven action (although, there is enough of that, too), Somer’s writing is really what sets this novel apart. His descriptions are evocative, and each scene and location is brilliantly brought to life on the page. The story is by turns contemplative, moving, depressing, wrenching, and yet even hopeful.

I’m certainly interested in reading anything else that Somer writes in the future.
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This is a fast-paced action novel that I struggled to put down. It was really interesting and the momentum of the novel made it very engaging. I wish there was more information about the societal context and a little more insight into the characters' thoughts but otherwise enjoyed it.
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I loved the concept for Extinction as soon as I read the blurb. To an extent Extinction lived up to expectations but there were aspects I wasn't overly keen on. 

Ben is a conservationist who has devoted himself to tracking and observing the last known bear. One night he hears voices in the isolated valley and knows that he may have to protect the bear from danger. Upon confronting the trio Ben is digusted and worried to learn that one of them is his former mentor on The Ursa Project and an expert tracker. Shots are fired and Ben realises not only is the bear in danger but so is he. 

Is he willing to put his life on the line to protect the bear? Will it change anything? Is he willing to end the life of someone else for a seemingly lost cause? 

"Ben sighs, knowing it's a panicked plan, a bad one, but i's hard to think straight.

They tried to kill him. 

The bear will be fine on his own, Ben reasons. Or he won't.The chances of them locating him are slim, even with Tomas as a guide. Without a tracker to sniff out his microchip, they won't find him...They probably won't find him."

The environmental aspect of Extinction is a huge draw for me and played a large part in my enjoyment of the book. The sad truth is I could easily imagine a scenario where someone would be trying to protect the last bear in existance from extinction. Poppy was my favourite character in this book because I felt like the anger she felt at the destructive nature of humans was extremely thought-provoking. It was also what I was expecting when I began reading.

The one area of the book that felt out of place was the science fiction elements. I didn't enjoy them as I wouldn't choose to read a book relating to space and I also felt it just didn't gel with the rest of the book. 

"I don't look at the moon anymore. Last time was when the lights first went on. It made me dizzy, like I was falling into it." 

The author was able to create a sense of suspense throughout the book and I defintely wanted to keep going until the end. Whilst I have said parts of this book were not for me, I did enjoy this book on the whole.
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This was an interesting read and quite different to what I normally read. The author's writing style kept me engaged as did the plot and storyline, but I'm not sure whether I loved it.
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I enjoyed the beginning of this book and the author's writing style describing the dystopian world it imagines, and the role of the rangers
However, i was disappointed when it then went off into the well-worn plot line of men running around with guns, hunting each other. The token female characters seemed to be plot devices to move the story on a bit, and overall it seemed like there was a much better book in there waiting to be written
Thank you to netgalley and harper Collins for an advance copy of this book
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Ben and Emma buck the trend and study Conservation whilst everyone plans and packs to head off to the space colonies. They face an impossoble hurdle as the animals are dying off in their droves. Ben and Emma feel very protective of their charges, including The Boss a large brown bear. their job is to monitor the habitats and animals in their district. However, fewer animals mean that those left are at a premium. 

A remarkable book, helping to highlight the changing shifts we are seeing.
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Bradley Somer definitely has a talent for throwing you into a fully formed world and then, slowly, revealing more and more information to bring that world to life. In Extinction, we are in what I imagine is a near-future version of Earth where human beings have destroyed the planet to such an extent that those who can afford to do so have gone to live on the moon. Those left behind are either poor or tasked with protecting what little wildlife there is left on Earth. 

Our protagonist - Ben - is a park ranger whose job it is to protect what is believed to be the last living bear on Earth. One day, along his travels, he encounters a group of men set on finding the last bear and, he suspects, killing it for some kind of trophy. And so begins a kind of race for who can get to the bear first. 

I typically don't gravitate to stories like this peppered with manly bravado, gun fight scenes and a battle for survival in the woods. It all seems rather uncivilised and I much prefer literary fiction with a strong focus on the thoughts and feelings of the characters rather than on plot. For this reason, I think Extinction just wasn't quite the book for me. Almost every sentence read like a scene from a film, giving you a frame by frame depiction of everything Ben sees as he carries out his ranger duties and races to find the bear he's been trained to protect. I could definitely see this being made into a movie - maybe a summer blockbuster. 

To his credit, Somer does include a couple of female characters who provide some relief from the "me man, me chase bear" storyline. And while I was grateful for Emma and Poppy's inclusion, it felt like their only role was to protect or comfort the protagonist with little room for their own character development. I would have liked to learn more about their stories and their reasons for choosing to stay on an ever crumbling Earth (though - no spoilers - we do learn a bit more about Emma's reasons by the end of the book).

The writing was a mixed bag. It had moments of beauty and brilliance but they almost seemed out of place buried as they were in a much simpler, staccato writing style. It felt as though Somer wanted to write literary fiction expounding on the beauty of the natural world but was hindered by his own plot which needed to move forward in order to keep the momentum going.  

The conclusion of the story was satisfying in some ways - a number of loose ends were tied up and there were enough unknowns that I could imagine there being a sequel to this novel. If there is a follow up, however, I unfortunately won't be among its readers not having found enough in Extinction to make me want to come back for more.
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Set in the future, the world has become overwhelmed and humanity has moved on to greener pastures (or planets to be precise). Left behind are those who can't afford the flight and those interested in conserving the earth until the very end. 

In Extinction, a park ranger is out to protect the final brown bear, a creature fondly called The Boss, from poachers who are determined to make a final kill before jetting off into the cosmos. Its definitely a tale of cat and mouse with the protagonist doing his best to divert the invaders attention in order to give The Boss his best chance at life. I went into it expecting a typical SFF novel and instead was given a not too distant future, general fiction - this isn't a bad thing, I just got something unexpected and had to shift my view. 

The narrative is constantly fraught with slow burning suspense relating to the plight of everyone involved. The characters, while not particularly deep, performed their assigned roles and pushed the story in the required direction but didn't go very much beyond that. 

I will say that the reader can feel the desolation of the entire situation. The world building, while very familiar in its imagery, pushes the envelope to the point of the world feeling alien and depleted. 

Overall, while not entirely my cup of tea, this one is a very thought provoking study into where the world is headed if humanity doesn't pull back on its excesses. Well worth a read if you're into end of the world novels with a suburban twist
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Extinction is an interesting story of what could happen. It was well written and very thought provoking. I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC.
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This was a very realistic story of what the world could become. The writer has made the story very believable and the characters were true to life. I was totally absorbed to the very end..
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Humanity is departing Earth, and there are not many animals left either. Ranger Ben watches over the last bear, with only a couple of colleagues on radio to turn to. His life is lonely and tiring. One night he hears voices - poachers. How far will he go to try and save the last bear?

This is a starkly written speculative fiction story that will look great on the big screen one day. In some ways it's like an extended chase scene. The plot is not sprawling - it's essentially a whole book about trying to save the bear from a small group of selfish men. You are going to learn a lot about the way trees look and about Ben's aching muscles, with the odd scene looking back to give some context to the few characters on page. Nevertheless, I did find it a compelling read. I wanted to know what came next. And I like the questions the book raises (like so much good SFF) - about how far you'd be willing to go in the face of disaster to achieve your goals.

I'm on the fence about how satisfying I found the ending - I think I need a few more days to sit with it! 3.5 rounded to 4.
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Extinction is quite different to anything I have read before. It’s a simple story on the face of things, however it is quite a compelling tale. 
Mountain ranger, Ben, has vowed to protect the last surviving grisly bear. When poachers arrive on the hunt for the animal, he has hard choices to make in his mission to survive and protect the species from extinction.
I think what impressed me the most about this book was the beautiful way it is written with such descriptive language. It effortlessly transported me to the mountains and in to the thick of the action. 
Ben’s dedication to this animal is admirable. Nature is a powerful thing, but also quite vulnerable at times. We should all do our part to protect our world and all its inhabitants. Ben goes well above and beyond!
This is an action thriller with a difference. One with an important message and a hopeful twist. 
I very much recommend.
** Many thanks to the author and publisher for my review copy via #NetGalley **
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In a time where wildlife is scarce, our planet on the edge of self-destuction, and humans evacuating to the moon. Hunting should be a big no-no, but not if the price is right.

The apocolypse is a very present danger. Planet earth is ion the brink of collapse. Wildlife has almost completely wiped out. Humans are racing to the moon to escape the inevitable.

A small team, keeps track of what they believe is the last surviving bear. Tracking its location both via gps, and visually.

A small hunting party, headed by an ex-ranger is set on finding and killing said bear.

A cast of six, and a bear in the wild. This leads to the story and plot line being heavily dependant on description. Not only the plot, the landscape and the people.

Don’t get me wrong, this does lead to some very intensive thought provoking situations. But it does get heavy to read in places, as you try to put together everything that is put to you as the reader.

This is a what I would class as a ‘selfish’ book. It is not something that you could read on a train or bus. It demands your whole attention from beginning to end. Several hours in a quiet room, is my recomendation for this one.

Status: Completed.

Rating: 3.8/5.0
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Extinction is one of those books that feels like it's written with the movie in mind. I think sci-fi books often lean into that cinematic feel, and although it's probably not a sign that you're reading a book that will be studied at schools for generations, it can work quite well. It is easy to flip into thinking about the book as the potential movie at times, but it's still a book for now.

So let's start with the protagonist - Ben. From the details given he seems around his mid-twenties. An academic background, now working in an environmental study that has him hiking around a valley monitoring the last bear on Earth. That's about as deep as he gets. In fact, that's about as deep as most characters get. Despite the adventure, I came away with little emotional investment. Except for Poppy Freedom - she may not be a main character, but she seemed the most alive out of them all. She's the one I was rooting for above all others, the one whose fate I actually cared about. Which may say more about me than the story to be fair.

Anyway. In the near(ish) future Earth has undergone some kind of vague calamity, there are hints of some pandemic-type event, but it feels more like an environmental disaster. Certainly the general message is we need to care for the planet before we kill it. But I digress. People are fleeing our ever more barren planet. Which is a rather depressing reality - we already have billionaires building rockets and talking of living on Mars. This book rather painfully points out that implies they've already given up on this planet. And that we'll all rush to join them too. Can I honestly say I'd stick around if I had the choice? It does make me think in that regard. And surely that's the core point of this book. It doesn't slap us in the face with a tired, cliche environmental message. It takes a slightly different angle and that makes it more thoughtful and also more enjoyable.

And that's where this book ends up sitting. It's a good example of the story it tells. It's a heavy subject dealt with in an accessible way. It offers enjoyment rather than sermons. If you come away from it planning to try a little harder then it's a win all round. If you dream of being one of the hunters chasing down a near-extinct species then, well, I can oddly see the book working for you too, but we're getting very different aspects of the same story I guess. It's a decent book. The movie would be good too.
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An interesting take on  the doomed earth scenario, with many people already colonising the moon and preparing to inhabit far off places but some still on Earth trying to save what is left in nature.
I liked the idea that some would go, some can only wish they could afford to go and will do whatever it takes to get there and some would rather go down with the ship.
For a book that centres around a single bear it has some real edgy moments during the hunting/chasing scenes and I was surprised at how quickly it reads.
The ending left more questions than answers but I suppose that will be how it is at the end of the world!!
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Really enjoyed this and very different to any other type of extinction / end of the world type of novel.  Kept me hooked to the end and had a good twist.  Very well worth reading.
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This is a very different read to my usual books and I'm not sure why I requested it except that something about it intrigued me. 
A dystopian near future "thriller" except it's not a thriller. This book almost defies being put in a box. 
Thought provoking it raises more questions than it answers. The characters are highly stereotypical which I suppose given the plot is inevitable and for this reason I would like to read the same book but written by a European or a Japanese author. This would, I feel give the book a very different cultural perspective which I would welcome. The hunters are all trigger happy, the ranger has to be injured, the hunters have to swear a lot, their language enhances their stereotype. 
Having said that, the book is important and deserves to be read. There are questions that need to be asked and I actually give the author credit for not trying to answer them all. It is a little preachy which I suppose comes from being passionate about a topic you are writing a book about. The one character I did really like was Emma. The ending was hopeful. 
Overall I am pleased I read it
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This is a stark and uncompromising glimpse into the planets possible future where shuttle flights to ‘Copernicus’ are the norm. Ben is a ranger and much like the trailblazers of old he is in a desolate frontier where he tracks and monitors the last known bear. When he hears voices from afar, then discovers a ghost camp Ben knows it’s going to be a game of survival as he faces a shocking dilemma.  Will he save himself or will altruism win and endeavour to save the bear whatever that takes?

This is undoubtedly well written with some stunning descriptions of the planet, you can visualise the sparkle of the water, sense  the coming snow and almost smell the pine of the forest.  The writing has a cinematic quality to it and indeed it would make an excellent film which would possibly be more powerful than a book. This is partly because I feel the author can overdo the descriptions of the terrain, they are too protracted.

However, what is conveyed is sobering and thought-provoking and the beautiful descriptions do contrast sharply with the reality of the situation Ben find himself in. There are strong links and connections to the past, he is much like the Trappers on the new frontier except Bens frontier seems to be lost. There are definite shades of The Revenant here but a futuristic one. What unfolds between Ben and the interlopers is dramatic from the start. Initially it seems friendly but there’s a huge sense of challenge and also entitlement from them and your heart sinks.  The tension is palpable and it grows exponentially until the stand-off becomes an all hell let loose scenario .

There is physical and mental pain, fear, danger and violence as Ben faces the fight of his life as well as treachery and betrayal. It is a gripping read and it makes you feel a whole range of emotions. There are some good cliffhangers, there’s some welcome humour from one character (Poppy) and it’s mostly fast paced . The ending is good, I like the ghostly haunting vibe though it does make you feel sad.

The cover is exceptional.

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to HarperCollins UK/HarperFiction for the much appreciated arc  in return for an honest review.
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In the not too distant future when Earth is no longer an attractive option and migration to the moon and then on to the deep colonies is something even his fellow ranger, Emma, is always talking about, Ben is tracking his bear. The last bear on Earth. He hears voices down in the valley and knows poachers are coming. 

Extinction isn't SciFi, the backdrop for the story probably exists somewhere already, stunted and fire ravaged forest, industrial detritus, abandoned remnants of human habitation in a landscape of mountains, valleys and rivers, reminders of a fundamental natural beauty. I wouldn't describe it as action-packed drama either. Fast-paced in parts certainly but the joy is in the adjectives as much as the verbs. And definitely not a cosy mystery in any sense!

Netgalley is an opportunity to try something different and this wouldn't necessarily be my usual choice but, as is often the case, it's all the more memorable for it. Extinction is not a particularly easy read for good reason and I think it would bear a second read.
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