I downloaded Extracted by R. R. Haywood for free from one of Amazon‘s free monthly Prime downloads. (Yay, free books!) I generally read the first chapter of each of these books and if it doesn’t grab me by then, then I don’t bother to finish them. There are too many good books out there to waste time on the bad ones.
I found the cover Extracted to be underwhelming. I figured it was “probably sci-fi” based on the starry pattern and the font. I tapped through to page one and found the Prologue beginning in 2061. Definitely sci-fi and an interesting start. The author explains in a sort of (non-boring) history lesson that time travel has been achieved, but also that it was only a rumor, except that certain parties refused to believe it was a rumor and set out to find the truth of the matter. The prologue continues by backsliding a bit to 2046 where we are introduced to Roland, who is about to walk into the sea (forever) in a very proper British manner. Then he learns that time travel really does exist.
Chapter One of Extracted starts in 2015. The time travel can take some mental gymnastics, but it’s a book about time travel, so bear with it. This book is mostly set in London with British characters, so it was a fun, different setting for me. We meet Ben, whose fiancee is a hot/cold mess and Ben is preoccupied with the idea that she’s cheating on him as he heads to work. At this point I found myself already invested in Ben, because haven’t we all dealt with that suspicion at one time or another? Ben heads off to his weirdly interesting job as an insurance investigator. The author does a really amazing job at making minor characters feel real; Ben’s interaction with the grumpy foreman is fascinating.
The first of many action scenes follows and we are introduced to Malcolm and Konrad, who tend to be much-needed comic relief between intense scenes and action. This book is peppered with humor, which I loved, including the fact that the time travel device is a tablet computer, two poles, and little speaker-like devices that slide up and down to make a doorway. I’m still chuckling at the idea of a Bill Gates type-character inventing time travel in his parents’ garage. The book then pops to 1943 and drags us along on a World War II suicide mission with the coolest character in the book: Harry. He was hands down my favorite person in this story, closely followed by *gasp* a bad-ass woman of color named Safa Patel. Her introduction was the most gut-wrenching and intense, and there probably isn’t a woman reading it who won’t have to put the book down for a moment and try to process the horror of Safa’s situation. At this point I was almost convinced that R. R. Haywood was a woman, because Safa’s scenes were so well written and packed an emotional punch that is hard to achieve. No spoilers because it’s worth the read.
Extracted is surprisingly easy to follow after the confusing multiple time slots of the beginning, and my only complaint is that the action scenes are many and exceedingly long. One fight that was inevitable with a predictable ending dragged out for eight long pages. At one point in the book I simply skipped many pages ahead to the end of the fight to discover the outcome without the play-by-play of each fist falling and every kick landing. If you are a fan of written combat (fistfights and firefights both) then you’ll have a great time savoring these drawn-out scenes.
Unfortunately, most of this book is just setup for the overall plot line. The author introduces the characters, get’s the reader fully invested in them, and then it ends without us finding out how these characters plan to deal with the antagonist, nor do we find out the antagonist’s primary motivation (although we do learn that they are horrifically evil). But I suppose that only gives us incentive to wait diligently for the next book.
Characters: 5/5 – Story: 4/5 – Science: 3/5 (he doesn’t try to explain time travel, which feels like a cop-out but it also fits the story) – Setting: 4/5 – Action: 3/5 (excessive, IMO) – Pacing: 5/5 – Worldbuilding: 5/5
The thing she is pointing at is unmistakable. Even in the half-built state it’s in now. The Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognisable structures on the planet and there it is. The four huge legs sweeping inwards and up to the already-built first platform, and even from this distance and seeing it across rooftops, they can make out the latticed framework.
“Paris, France, April eighteen eighty-eight,” Roland says from behind them.