Young Adult Reviews

Review: The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson



‘How do we really know what the dinosaurs are like? Maybe they’re not all horrible people-eating monsters, maybe some of them are fine. How do we actually know? Maybe this is the only way we’ll ever get to find out … ‘

(The Extinction Trials by SM Wilson. P100.)


Earthasia is out of resources, and the population keeps growing. The Stipulators want humans to colonise Pilora. To make it safe for habitation, they want to wipe out the dinosaurs who live there with a genetic illness. First they need dinosaur DNA.

Rewards are offered: a lifetime of food and healthcare for the team who bring back the most dinosaur eggs. Lincoln needs those rewards for his dying sister. Stormchaser wants to know the truth about Piloria and the dinosaurs. She has reason to believe the dinosaurs may be more intelligent than the Stipulators admit. Storm and Lincoln quickly become a team, but can they afford to get too close? Anything could tear them apart.


A roaring adventure, and a great political dystopia. The Extinction Trials is a fast-paced adventure which looks at the true cost of damaging the natural world.

I’m pleased to see dinosaurs in YA fiction. Dinosaurs are a staple of the Under 7s literary landscape, but for some reason they become ‘geeky’ somewhere between here and the teenage years. The Extinction Trials proves this doen’t have to be so, using dinosaurs to look at overpopulation, and our attitude towards the natural world. It is the perfect setting for this story. We automatically link dinosaurs with extinction, the threat which faces the characters. 

The themes are similar to The Hunger Games, but I thought The Extinction Trials was better written (and I don’t underestimate THG. It is a great series.) The theme of overpopulation remains present throughout the story, and all the main characters have clear motivation for their actions. I like the conflict between Storm and Lincoln’s motives – Lincoln says family comes first, but Storm wants to do what is right for the world. Fear about what will happen to those closest to us is often a driving motive in not supporting change. Whether we are talking about banning animal testing on medications, or solutions to overpopulation, many of us find it difficult to see past our loved ones. The conflict ensures we follow both characters like hawks to see whether one betrays the other.

The book says a lot about the difference in life quality between the few and the many. It shows an extreme, where some people have food and health care, while others share a bed in shifts and do the hard labour without enough to eat. This feels disturbingly close to the real world, and I hope it encourages teenagers to empathise with those less fortunate than themselves. The way the Stipulators treat other lives as expendable and worthless is eerily close to current political attitudes. 

The Extinction Trials is going to be massive. It is addictive, well-paced and it is highly relevant to our world. Grab a copy ASAP and join the adventure. I warn you, you’ll be left wanting more.


Louise Nettleton





7 thoughts on “Review: The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson

  1. Great review! I completely agree with you that the Extinction Trails is going to be massive! It’s such a great book and I cant wait for the sequel!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was sent an ARC of this gorgeous book & every time I see a positive review for it I get so excited! This is such a well written review as well, you should be proud of your writing skills.

    Liked by 1 person

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