Review: “Extinct,” Ike Hamill

Pros: Interesting setup
Cons: Too many leaps of logic; feels rather random
Rating: 2 out of 5

Ike Hamill’s Extinct is part one of a three-book series, but I don’t plan to read the next two books. Of the handful of Hamill books I’ve read recently, this is the only one I didn’t really like.

Robby (a thirteen-year-old boy living on an island off of the Maine coastline) is having a pretty crappy Thanksgiving. People are going missing at record speed. The power goes out on almost the entire island. Cell reception is out. Robby and his mother take a boat southward, but Robby ends up on his own before long. Brad, on the other hand, is a contractor who works from home. One day he discovers an extremely dangerous vine that’s taking over his land in record time. The government shows up and suddenly he isn’t even allowed to leave his own home (never mind sending email or making phone calls). Eventually he, too, ends up traveling, and he meets up with Robby and a few other people who have somehow managed to not disappear.

 

First, I can’t understand why this handful of people didn’t suffer the same fate as the rest of the people around them. North of a certain area people literally disappear into thin air. Corpses of people whose eyes burst lie everywhere to the south. How on earth were these people overlooked?

When people start disappearing around Robby, somehow he jumps to the idea that this is some sort of local ‘extinction event’. (Later, obviously, he has to take out the ‘local’ part of that.) Seriously? I get that he has unusual abilities in the realms of picking up information and analyzing it, but to jump from a handful of missing people and a power outage to an extinction event is ridiculous.

I can at least understand why Robby would eventually make the leap to alien invasion, because by then he’s traveled quite a ways and met a lot of people. However, his assumptions about what the aliens are trying to accomplish, and how to thwart them, just left me going “huh?!” I couldn’t understand why he leaped to that conclusion nor why people then believed him.

There are also a few events that didn’t make sense to me as part of an alien invasion. Given how most of the people died or disappeared, it made little sense to me that the group of survivors would have to fight some particular battles. Either the aliens know where they are and that they exist and can target them–in which case they should just simply die or disappear–or the aliens have no awareness of them. In which case certain threats don’t make sense, and we’d need a damn good reason why the aliens aren’t aware of them.

I was looking forward to a trilogy by Hamill, but I’m not going to read the other books in this one.

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