BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Red Rain creates a post-apocalyptic world for a bike-riding journalist to explore alone.
PROS: Offers a fresh take on post-apocalyptic fiction; appeals to survivalist fans; scary; quick read.
CONS: The implausibility of scenario and heroine’s survival tactics; passive conflict resolution.
BOTTOM LINE: The story has promise, but the poor execution and attention to detail may kill the series for some readers.
Extinction Point hits a sweet spot starting with the onset of a different kind of apocalypse than readers have seen lately. Okay, maybe poisonous rain isn’t entirely unique, but the aftermath is strange, horrific and exciting to explore.
Unfortunately, almost everything exciting about this book fails in the delivery. Extinction Point feels more like a Part 1 than it does a complete book. Ebook popularity makes issuing books in portions a sustainable model, but it is frustrating having to pay more to get past the opening act, especially when it is this short.
Here are the major problems with Part 1 that may prevent reading Exodus (Extinction Point #2):
- Plot holes: It was very hard to believe that our main character would be the only survivor simply because she was in a coffee shop at the time of the rain. What about everyone else that was inside during the short rain? Did the military forget to pack their rain jackets? Apparently, either everyone else ran outside and stuck out their tongues for a taste, or some survived, but hid inside the whole time. The author alludes to this possibility that others must be hiding, but the lack of anyone going outside to explore felt like more of a plot convenience than a reality.
- Annoying lead character: Not only does she start the book acting like a snob, but her survivalist decisions continue to make you scratch your head. It’s hard to believe someone in a large apartment building in New York City would have trouble finding food. Raid the dead neighbors? No, their doors are locked…. She finds an axe and ends up breaking into one later, so it turns out that these New York City doors aren’t as indestructible as she thought. Then, because she never learned to drive — it’s not rocket science — she bikes around for supplies en route to her plan to bike from NYC to Alaska! There may be hesitancy to drive if you never have, but let’s get real here. Then, she stops at stores, but doesn’t eat food or drink water there, instead just taking some for later. Why not replenish your body with what’s on site, so you don’t have to use your supplies later?
- Passive resolution: Even though the horror element was impressive in the set up, the execution amounted to what has been labeled a Cat Scare, where you have a build up of tension only to have an easy release where nothing bad happens to your character. She does very little to cause her own survival, and really, the enemy in this book is just plain stupid. I can’t get into more without spoiling, but our main character gets awfully lucky (in every instance).
The worldbuilding is a great setup, and the action is well-written and tense, but enthusiasm for the series is let down by a weak character and too many questionable story logistics.