Book Review, Young Adult

BOOK REVIEW: The Extinction Trials: Exile by S.M. Wilson

– Short Review –

The Extinction Trials: Exile keeps all of what the first book did so well at establishing, but S.M. Wilson like a skilled architect builds more layers to this wonderful futuristic dystopia, whilst also adding additional layers to her characters, revealing slowly shocking twists and turns that will have you hooked from beginning to end, like a Velociraptor’s claws in its prey. A stunning follow up to The Extinction Trials which lives up to the billing – covering themes that are relevant in the times we are living in now, I believe that S.M. Wilson could be serving up a warning of what is to come if we dont wake up and smell the coffee…and of course if we find a continent full of dinosaurs and untapped resources!

Other books you may also enjoy The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Jurassic Park and The Lost World by Michael Crichton  and the Maze Runner series by James Dashner.

– Long Review –

S.M. Wilson delivers a fabulous follow up to her breakout hit ‘The Extinction Trials‘ with the second book in the series ‘Exile‘. The brilliance of the book has a lot to do with the groundwork that Wilson put into creating her first offering; with a story that builds on the personal struggles faced by Stormchaser, Lincoln and the others who survived the first trip to Piloria – and how they now function being back home in the overcrowded and somewhat dismal Ambulus City.

With Exile Wilson showcases her undeniable talent as a writer and produces a story that ignites the powder keg that is buried deep within the heart of the story. The consequences of this inevitable explosion means that things will never be the same again – the characters we know and love will be changed forever and our journey with them will expose new truths that may be best left hidden.

Exile is of a much slower pace than the first book, it’s just over halfway through the book before we arrive back on Piloria and get our first glimpses of the Dinosaurs (thats what you paid your money for right?). I for one really enjoyed this slower pace of writing, enabling Wilson to cast her spell over the reader and take us on an unforgettable journey that lives long in the memory and has you yearning for the next book.

Wilson delivers yet again wonderfully crafted set pieces filled with gripping tension and non stop action, it’s like the first book but on some type of high performance energy drink (the one that apparently gives you wings – like a pterodactyl) and you guessed it many new Dinosaurs lay in wait. Wilson writes with such cinematic brilliance it’s hard not to find yourself fully immersed in the world that she has deftly and gloriously created, it’s so detailed you can almost touch it – and I don’t think it will be long until Hollywood come knocking and want to get their grubby mitts on the film rights!

The books cornerstone and what makes this series such a success are the characters that fill its pages, each person within this book fights for their right to be included, each is fully rounded and Wilson in this book adds even more layers of depth to her characters (Shriek and Donkey’s conversation about onions comes to mind, but I digress). It’s like an anthropological study, as we watch our cast of characters crumble under external factors and the trepidation they all feel with their forced journey back to Piloria and their quest for survival…again.

The best bit about Wilson’s writing is that it is believable, even though it is about dinosaurs and a dystopian future which is eerily crafted by Wilson – it is a story that has great depth. We have the fall-out from the first book to come to terms with, the continued plague that is breaking out across Ambulus City and the desperate quest for a cure, the creation of a virus that will help rid Piloria of its dinosaurs and help with the planned colonisation of this untapped resource filled land – plus the exploration of the core characters. There really is something for everyone to enjoy in The Extinction Trials: Exile – so what are you waiting for, pick up a copy now!

The themes that Wilson writes about, which form her core message of the book are terrific and seeing these themes explored in the young adult market place is a joy to behold. I firmly believe that there is a message here, a message that is all to relevant for the times we live in – which could also be a warning, a warning about using up our natural resources, themes of over crowding and how to deal with these issues – all of which give the book a poignant cutting edge that leaves its mark, like a scar reminding us that the here and now is real…and what future do we want to strive for?

The Extinction Trials: Exile is the perfect follow up to the first book, expanding the universe, digging deeper with the characters we know and love, whilst also adding oodles of suspense, fear, excitement, adventure and you guessed it…more dinosaurs.

An unforgettable, unrelenting adventure 65 million years in the making (thank you Jurassic Park – I couldn’t have said it better) – a book that feels as though it has been thawed from amber, given life and let loose upon the world to cause havoc and blow young adult minds – thank you S.M. Wilson for producing the next big series for young adults (and older ones) to enjoy…get stuck into the series now!

The Extinction Trials: Exile is published by Usborne Books and is available here.


You can also read our review of the first book The Extinction Trials here.



S.M. Wilson lives on the west coast of Scotland with her fiancé and two sons. Her day job is as a nurse in public health – and her dream job is writing fiction. Her love of YA fiction started as a teenager and has never stopped. She wrote The Extinction Trials to try and infect her sons with the same love of reading that she has – watch out, she’s hoping it’s contagious!

Visit to find out more.

Reviewed by Ross Jeffery

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