Emily Baxter is a news reporter for a large paper in New York City. Emily loves being in the city, surrounded by people, and finds the hustle and bustle to be comforting. Then, one morning she is sitting in a cafe writing her next article when the red rain begins. Within a few hours, everything Emily loves about the city is gone. Everyone is dead, and not only is she now totally alone, but the Earth is changing. The plague brought on by the red rain is all-consuming. The book follows her escape from New York City and the terrors she encounters along the way.
I’m a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction. One of the problems with this sub-genre is that it’s often hard to find a unique story. Apparently there are only so many ways to end the world. Lately zombies are the way to go, and frankly I’m pretty tired of them. Good news, everybody: Extinction Point is a zombie-free apocalypse. It’s a truly original take on the apocalypse, and that in itself is exciting to me. The plague is the antagonist and it has some unique characteristics that become problematic for Emily. Problematic might be a bit of an understatement — I really mean it’s an absolute pants-wetting terrorizing menace. To reveal the horrifying ways the plague torments Emily would ruin most of the book’s fun.
Things begin seriously unraveling for Emily rather quickly. During the first chapter of the book I made a footnote musing that the writing was a bit overly detailed. When Emily enters a coffee shop, for example, Paul Antony Jones describes the number of chairs that are at the table when she sits down. This level of detail sticks out to me, and does more to remove me from the scene than it does to draw me in. In another example, there is an entire paragraph spent giving turn-by-turn directions of the route she is taking out of the city. While grating at times, this authorial quirk comes in handy when describing the disturbing things Emily stumbles upon on her journey. The details also help build suspense. I became very anxious when Emily took her sweet time in examining something I was certain was going to take off her face.
The book is short, and comes in at just over 300 pages. Add in Mr. Jones’ love of detail, and the brevity becomes a real problem. I don’t mind short books when they feel complete, but Extinction Point did not feel that way to me. I felt left hanging just when the story was really getting exciting, and when I was just starting to see the big picture of the Earth’s problem and Emily’s place in it. That was frustrating, and one of the reasons I did not give it 4 or more stars. The good news is that the book is very inexpensive on Kindle, and the sequel is already available. I was able to immediately purchase Extinction Point: Exodus and continue the story unabated. This looks to be a series I will be following for quite some time.
I listened to the book on Brilliance Audio CD, and was very satisfied with the quality. Brilliance really sets the standard in audiobook quality. Emily Beresford narrates the novel, which is written from Emily’s point of view. When I first started listening I thought the narration was a little flat, but as the book progressed I came to realize that it was a pretty accurate portrayal of the main character’s personality. The character is a reporter and often has a detached tone when checking out her surroundings, so Ms. Beresford’s interpretation was spot-on. At just over 8 hours in length, Extinction Point makes for a nice listen over the course of a few days. I highly recommend the audio version of this book.
Extinction Point — (2013- ) Publisher: First comes the red rain: a strange, scarlet downpour from a cloudless sky that spreads across cities, nations, and the entire globe. In a matter of panicked hours, every living thing on earth succumbs to swift, bloody death. Yet Emily Baxter, a young newspaper reporter, is mysteriously spared — and now she’s all alone. But watching the happy life she built for herself in New York City slip away in the wake of a monstrous, inexplicable plague is just the beginning of Emily’s waking nightmare. The world isn’t ending; it’s only changing. And the race that once ruled the earth has now become raw material for use by a new form of life never before seen… on this planet. With only wits, weapons, and a bicycle, Emily must undertake a grueling journey across a country that’s turning increasingly alien. For though she fears she’s been left to inherit the earth, the truth is far more terrifying than a lifetime of solitude.