Audiobook Review: Extinction Point by Paul Antony Jones

26 03 2013

Extinction Point by Paul Antony Jones (Extinction Series, Bk. 1)

Read by Emily Beresford

Brilliance Audio

Length: 8 Hrs 36 Min

Genre: Post Apocalyptic Science Fiction

Quick Thoughts: Extinction Point Starts with a bang and ends with a roar, but gets slightly bogged down in the middle. It’s a unique and often creepy apocalyptic tale full of human carnage, strange beasties and that disconcerting last person in the world eeriness. While I may have wished for just a bit more forward progression in the tale, Paul Antony Jones does a good job wetting my appetite for what comes next in Emily’s apocalyptic adventure.

Grade: B-

I hate shopping. OK, I know what you’re thinking…. Bob, you’re supposed to be writing a review of an audiobook, what the hell does shopping have to do with anything. It’s relevant, well, sort of, I swear, just bear with me. So, I hate shopping. Really. Part of my problem is that I just can’t focus on the task with any sort of concentration required for the task. You see, I have just read way too many apocalyptic novels to actually think of shopping as a simple task. No, people, it HAS to be an adventure. It MUST be relevant to my survival. The first time I enter any store, my first thought isn’t, "oh, where do they keep the milk?" or "I can’t forget tube socks!" No, my first though is how suitable the store is for apocalyptic scavenging. Now, this isn’t a simple exercise. You’d think, the mathematics is pretty simple, lots of stuff = good for scavenging. No, people math doesn’t work that way. As Mrs. Getz my Algebra and Computer Math teacher in high school so many years ago told me, there are always variables you must take into account. Exactly what kind of Apocalypse is it? If it’s Zombies, than perhaps a big super store with lots of potential shoppers isn’t smart. Is it a 24 hours store, or more limited hours? Here, you must factor in when exactly the apocalypse took place. Oh, the variables. I probably live in the worst state for hoarding and scavenging, Pennsylvania. You can’t find important things like alcohol or fire arms at grocery stores. Of course, neither can the small band of cannibalistic brigands that are using the K-Mart as a lure to sucker in human protein bars. And don’t forget muties, or insane asylum escapees that are going to turn the store into a death maze Thunderdome. Perhaps, with muties and robots and zombies and carnivorous walking Triffids, it’s better to stay away from large stores and concentrate on Wawa’s and Hallmark stores. Because, variables and muties and MATH! Supplies-muties/proximity to insane asylum*availability of firearms and Yuengling Lager(Hours of Operation) = I hate shopping…. shit, I forgot the milk.

It seemed like a normal day for New York City reporter Emily Baxter until the strange red rain began to fall unleashing death to the millions of inhabitants of the great city. Yet, Emily is unaffected, perhaps the last living person in a dead city. Yet, she’s not alone. Something strange is happening, and Emily must flee the city to meet up with perhaps the last remnants of humanity in the coldest reaches of the planet. I had high hopes for Extinction Point. It started off brilliantly with a creep red rain that enveloped the city, killing indiscriminately in grizzly fashion. It was just unique enough and just weird enough to catch my attention early, despite a bit of flatness to the main character early on. So, yes, I had high hopes, and while Extinction Point didn’t exactly deliver on these hopes, it at least did enough to keep me interested. I really loved the concept, and slowly the character began to grow on me. Jones does a good job creating a realistic response to an over the top scenario. It took me a while to really connect with Emily. I think part of this was due to her reporter persona. The early parts of the novel I felt like she was more of an observer than a participant in the events, and not until it actually truly affected her, did she begin to humanize in my eyes. Jones creates some real fascinating, and strange events. While Extinction point definitely pays tribute to the bigger classics of the genre like The Stand and The Road, I felt more of a Purple Cloud meets The War Against the Chtorr feel, which was actually quite refreshing. My major issue with the novel was the pacing. Extinction Point feels more like a bit too long first chapter to a much bigger novel, than a complete tale of its own. I just wanted Emily to get moving, to take the big leap forward into her journey, but instead she moves in dribs and drabs, slowly and laboriously putting together her supplies, documenting each step in detail. Now, I love a good apocalyptic scavenger hunt, but sometimes I felt like screaming "Get moving! We don’t need to know exactly which bike fits your needs best, and every single part you will need to keep it in tip top shape, just RIDE THE DAMN THING OUT OF THE DEAD CITY!” Now, while she’s doing all this, she’s witnessing some really creepy things going on, that you would think would light fire under her ass, but it’s almost like she slows down even more. While it makes sense in the plot, it was often frustrating for the listener. Luckily, when she finally does get moving, things pick up. The last hour of the audio was full of awesome and lots of fun and made me forget about all my frustrations and just want Book 2 NOW! So, Extinction Point Starts with a bang and ends with a roar, but gets slightly bogged down in the middle. It’s a unique and often creepy apocalyptic tale full of human carnage, strange beasties and that disconcerting last person in the world eeriness. While I may have wished for just a bit more forward progression in the tale, Paul Antony Jones does a good job wetting my appetite for what comes next in Emily’s apocalyptic adventure. 

Emily Beresford was the perfect choice to narrate this tale. She has a unique voice in the industry, a sort of authentic realness where she never sounds like an actor portraying a role, but a person within a story.  She did an excellent job capturing the shock and emotional turmoil of the main character. I really like how she’s willing to add in more affectations, whether a sigh or a raised voice, or emotional outburst to bring out the humanity of the character. She manages to keep the pace going pretty smooth, despite some pacing issues in the writing. She takes what could be a monotonous, almost grocery list style detailed depiction of events, and gives it a rhythmic flow that fits well into the observational style of the story. There are some moments where the story lulls, but Beresford does a good job keeping us in it, so when the crazy goodness does come, we’re not asleep at the wheel. Extinction Point is a solid apocalyptic audiobook that has the potential to become the start of a darn good series.

Note: Thanks to Brilliance Audio for providing me with a copy of this title for review.

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