Sun. Jan 29th, 2023


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Reed’s Literary Horror Review of “Extinction Peak” by Lucas Mangum (2020)

6 min read
If you call this book out on its use of Valosaraptors, it will call you a nerd, then beat you up and take your lunch money.

The 4 Year Old in me audibly Squeed…

I’d like to point out that I never finished Jurassic Park because the meat and potatoes of that book bored me to tears. I tried multiple times, but there was just something too dry, too clinical about it. Perhaps it was the wording or the plot format, but it always felt like far too long before raptors started eating people. As I’ve stated that I’m a hard customer to please; being severely ADHD as well as being easily bucked from my reader’s trance. If either issue arises in my readings, it’s likely to stop my reading altogether.

Thus, as this book opened with raptors eating people, it automatically gets a chip on its shoulder to carry with it for the rest of my reading… Brava. However, I’ll still complain as I did with Jurassic Park, they should have been Deinonychus. I digress, I’m just never going to get to see my favorite dinosaur in action in someone’s literature.

The general tone of this book is not unlike many b-movies I so very much love. It’s silly, balls-out brutal, pokes fun at itself, hints at a deeper message but doesn’t labor on it, and doesn’t have time to be bogged down by details. If you call this book out on its use of Valosaraptors, it will call you a nerd, then beat you up and take your lunch money. As a matter of fact, a lot of the plot feels like ‘Escape from New York” or even “Barbarella” with its depiction of society long collapsed. This made it entertaining enough that I wanted to keep reading.

I do have to complain about the main character and how she drives the initial plot. With her level of disdain for her family, now long gone, and her brother who once tried to rape her, she seems far too willing a participant. The author does an okay job of showcasing her motivations, swept away in emotional shackles of her own making, but I just don’t buy the conflict. She’d too independent of thought, directly contradicting her own confusion as to why she even WANTS to cooperate with her brother. I have to say, it labors on her internal conflicts too often. It might be a necessary backdrop, but comes up enough where it can’t easily coincide with her motivations. Because it’s such a LARGE portion of her motivation, it makes her initial actions in the plot seem unrealistic.

I also have to question the brother’s motivation as they set the whole plot in motion. Certainly, in a society that has collapsed, even a man as dumb as the bother would understand that money is now meaningless. He might be a hot-headed dullard, but he has enough sense to know what really matters under a full-scale collapse; food, bullets, medicine, certain material compounds. Shit, even creature comforts like a store of liquor, but definitely not a vault of money. His character is simultaneously presented as clever enough to be a part of a criminal organization, with matching survival instincts, and dumb enough to risk being eaten for money in a world where it’s worthless. I’d sooner believed he’d go after a weapons cache, it would have made just as much sense given the setting, and it’d easily patch this inconsistency.

In any case, if “Rednecks and Amazon Women fighting dinosaurs” sounds like your kinda book, then I suggest, at the very least, giving this a chance. To be sure, it’s a lot like a literary revisitation of critters and is bound to please some people, just by the very concept.

It’s also fairly well written, even if a bit blue in tongue. I’m okay with simplicity, so long as the story is good. This story is both good and brutal I’m not going to include spoilers in this review, definitely give this book a chance.

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