Extinction Point: A zombie-free apocalypse

Extinction Point by Paul Antony JonesExtinction Point by Paul Antony Jones

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.

Publication date: February 19, 2013. 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.

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JUSTIN BLAZIER retired from FanLit in September 2012 after entertaining us for 3 years. Like many fantasy enthusiasts, Justin cut his teeth on Tolkien. Due to lack of space, his small public library would often give him their donated SFF books. Justin lives in a small home near the river with his wife, their baby daughter, and Norman, a mildly smelly dog. He doesn't have much time for reviewing anymore, but he still shows up here occasionally to let us know how he feels about stuff.

View all posts by Justin Blazier

3 comments

  1. I haven’t had much luck with these 47North titles. There haven’t been any that I’ve really liked, with the exception perhaps of Jeff Wheeler’s Muirwood books — they were decent. Still, I’ve read so many of them and all but the Wheeler books were disappointing. I’ve pretty much given up on this imprint.

    What you say about all the details would drive me nuts. I think I wouldn’t be able to get past that, even if the story were otherwise interesting. That kind of stuff ruins a book for me. Wordiness and excessive detail is a pet peeve of mine, probably because I teach scientific writing and it’s one of the things I have to focus on with my students. In fact, I’m grading their papers right now (or I should be) which is probably why I reacted to that part of your review!

  2. In the author’s defense. The detail habit does seem to take a turn for the benefit as the story progesses. The second book which I just finished has very little, if any of the over-detail. The two books really should have been one single 600 page novel.

  3. Sounds quite interesting. I, too,and fed up with zombie apocalypses, which has sadly limited my apocalyptic fiction. Shame, because post-apoc worlds are often fascinating, if they’re done well. And I might check this one out, if I get the chance.

    Though the way you describe the level of detail is likely to turn me off, too. It’s one thing to show readers that you can paint a detailed picture of the situation you’re describing. It’s another to go overboard with that detail. Unless the character is noticing the nmber of chairs, for example, why mention it? Most things like that, the reader can fill in for themselves. Most of us don’t read scenes at a coffee shop, hear that a character sat down, and then picture the shop devoid of all other tables and chairs just because the author didn’t specifically state they were there.

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