Extinction Code by James D. Prescott is the first novel in the science-fiction, action-adventure series, Extinction. The story follows a group of various scientists and researchers who obtain grants to dive into the ocean so they can study the asteroid that dropped tens of millions of years ago, leading to the decimation and extinction of dinosaurs. However, once they’re down and discovering, other interested parties come knocking. When it’s revealed that the asteroid may not be a piece of rock after all, and people all over the world start falling ill to some strange disease like a switch in their DNA, all that are involved realise they’re very existence as a race may be in jeopardy.
I picked this up randomly one evening during a terrible bout of insomnia. Even though I had a current stack of books that I was making my way through, I wanted to dive into a fresh, new book without reading the synopsis. The cover appealed to me quite a bit, and it was also available on Kindle Unlimited, so I went ahead and checked it out. The cover initially gave me cheesy science-fiction vibes, which I tend to be weak for, but beyond that I wasn’t really expecting anything more cohesive. Luckily for me, I was wrong. Extinction Code ended up becoming the best bookish surprise in June.
If I had to describe the novel by comparing it to another book or film, I would say that it is a weird concoction of Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and the film Prometheus with a splash of The Mummy (1999).
The dread and doom along with historical and societal connotations of what is ultimately going on immediately reminded me of Angels and Demons, which is a novel that I enjoyed immensely. Then there’s the exploration of unknown thing (avoiding spoilers) that reveals some intensely shocking yet incredibly fascinating truths about humanity and humongous extinction events of the past (à la Prometheus). Reading about a bunch of scientists that are trying to unravel the mysteries of what truly caused the dinosaurs to go extinct was intellectually invigorating. The various sciences and descriptions of why they felt what they were uncovering could’ve been a much more serious factor was awesomely engaging for me. It kept my full attention in the book and even caused me to feel as eager as they were in learning more and more information. When a book, especially one with an intricate plethora of sciences, can fully consume my attention in that manner, it’s almost always an immediate win (my ADHD makes it extremely challenging for me to finish a book in one or two sittings).
All of these things are presented in a fast-paced yet delightfully entertaining and suspenseful action-adventure romp akin to The Mummy. One of the main reasons I love The Mummy so much (amazing special effects, dry humour, and bitchin’ character chemistry notwithstanding) is because it’s about a bunch of people that are trying to work together to save the world from doom and gloom, albeit in a more entertaining manner than a dangerous and high-strung tension-fuelled one. Extinction Code takes that fun, almost rompy race-against-the-clock and tosses in some of the high-tension traits that help to emphasise the impending extinction part of the title. When you take it and toss it into a melting pot with the above mentioned characteristics, it’s difficult not to have a really great time.
The characters themselves also have various levels of depth to them. Some are more one-dimensional than others as they serve very specific plot purposes, but the ones that are going to stick around unto the next book have backstories and histories that make them flawed and at-times relevant to the reader. This made me want to give a damn about what happens to them moving forward (granted, there were a few that I couldn’t wait to see die because they were such colossal arseholes).
Other minor things that help Extinction Code to be worth the reading time include the minor biopunk aspects and the supremely unique take on the decimation of dinosaurs that still has a significant influence on the future of the planet, especially humanity, as they (book folx) know it. It was marvellously refreshing to read an original take on a classic trope(s) and reminded me once more why creative sci-fi adventures are some of my favourite things to read (and watch).
Overall, I would definitely RECOMMEND Extinction Code to fans of Dan Brown, James Rollins, and similarly centred sci-fi adventure stories. It’s a fast-paced, scientifically stimulating, and vastly amusing adventure that shan’t be missed. I do plan on continuing with the trilogy over the next week or so, so if you would prefer to see how the second book fairs before jumping on this novel, that review will be up sometime in August.
Publication Date: December 2017
Publisher: Prescott Publishing (978-1926456270)
Genre: Science-Fiction, Action-Adventure
Series: Extinction Book 1
Page Count: 337
Content Warnings: Action-adventure violence. Racist depiction of an Indian (South Asian) character. Deaths including death via gun violence and terrible illnesses. Graphic descriptions of death and illness of animals. Scenes of dissection and decayed and mummified corpses. Mention of infidelity. Alcohol consumption. Preparation and consumption of food. Mild sexism. Mild misogyny.
GoodReads: Extinction Code by James D. Prescott
Availability: In-print; available in eBook, audiobook, and paperback formats.