Reviews for EXTINCTION

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A park ranger struggles with an ethical dilemma on a near-future Earth. Somer’s new novel is a pared-down story about one man’s desperate attempt to maintain order in the face of corruption. It’s also a story set on an environmentally devastated Earth in the near future. And while each of these aspects has plenty to offer, their juxtaposition isn’t as seamless as one might hope. Protagonist Ben works as a ranger, part of a pared-down group working to protect a bear, the last of its kind on the planet. Early on, Somer neatly establishes Ben’s routines and worldview through an emotionally charged exchange with his colleague Emma. But soon enough, trouble arises in the form of a wealthy father and son who have come to the valley where he works to hunt the bear Ben watches over. Complicating things more is the fact that they have hired Ben’s estranged mentor as their guide—and soon, what began as a moral standoff escalates into a violent confrontation. Ben’s desperation to protect the bear, even as he becomes aware of the corruption that surrounds him, makes for a powerful and even primal engine for the story. But it also has the effect of making some of this novel’s speculative elements feel superfluous—including references to lunar colonies and a discussion of the psychological effects of space travel. Ben’s refusal to compromise and dedication to his job—which borders on the quixotic at times—make him a memorable protagonist. But it’s also easy to imagine this conflict between two people—one scrupulously ethical and one so wealthy he can essentially buy his way past most people’s ethics—playing out at nearly any moment in time. An adventure novel whose timelessness sometimes works against it. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.