Review: Extinction Evolution (The Extinction Cycle Book 4) by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

extinction evolutionAbout Extinction Evolution

There's a storm on the horizon... 

Central Command is gone, the military is fractured, and the surviving members of Team Ghost, led by Master Sergeant Reed Beckham, have been pushed to the breaking point. While the strong return to the battlefield, the wounded are forced to stay behind on Plum Island and fight their inner demons.

Betrayed by the country they swore to defend and surrounded by enemies on all sides, Team Ghost has one mission left: protect Dr. Kate Lovato and Dr. Pat Ellis while they develop a weapon to defeat the Variants once and for all. But after a grisly discovery in Atlanta, Kate and Ellis realize their weapon might not be able to stop the evolution of the monsters.

Joined by unexpected allies and facing a new threat none of them saw coming, the survivors are running out of time to save the human race from extinction.

About the Author

Nicholas Sansbury Smith is the author of several postapocalyptic books and short stories. He worked for the state of Iowa for nearly ten years before switching careers to focus on his one true passion: writing. When he isn't daydreaming about the apocalypse he's likely racing in triathlons around the Midwest. He lives in Des Moines with his family and several rescued animals.

My Thoughts

Here's the deal: Extinction Evolution is now the fourth (out of five) books in Nicholas Sansbury Smith's Extinction Cycle series. If you've read the previous three, then you know what to expect here - vicious Variant violence, great military action, and human scientists continuing their quest for a biological weapon that will eradicate the threat decimating mankind. If you have not read the previous three, then you need to start back at the beginning with Extinction Horizon pronto.

As this is book number four and the final novel is a short ways off in the distance, Smith picks a fine time to shake up the series formula a little bit and introduce a few new wrinkles. What, exactly, the main wrinkle is can be easily discerned from the title. The Variants (think along the lines of zombies with a dash of parasite DNA weaved in, but supremely aggressive pale-skinned people eaters), already a massive threat in this apocalyptic series scenario, have upped their game and developed a few new unusual characteristics. They seem to be getting smarter, and are starting to adapt to their environments. In a cool little check-in with military bases around the world, we find out that Arctic Variants are a thing, and the nasty critters wreaking havoc in the Middle East are making like camels and growing humps to store water. These are neat bits of escalation, but Smith doesn't stop there and I won't ruin the surprises.

The main thrust of the narrative stems from a crucial point of evolution for these monsters, while the human element revolves around scientist Kate and Ghost Team operator Reed Beckham's deepening relationship as she continues to search for ways to develop and engineer the means to end the threat of the Variants once and for all. Along the way, we're introduced to a new team of military commandos dubbed Variant Hunters and headed up by a man name Garcia. Their story meshes well with that of Ghost Team's, leading up to a propulsive and firey finish.

Smith is really good at crafting suspenseful action scenes, and with Extinction Evolution he's at the top of his game. The finale is brutal in both execution and the emotions it provokes given how long we've been spending with these characters. It also ends on one heck of a maddening cliff-hanger!

From a sheer action standpoint, Smith rock and rolls with the best of them, crafting an excellent cross-genre work of military sci-fi horror. This entry might be the best book of the series thus far, but I have a gut feeling Nick's going to top himself in the finale.

Buy Extinction Evolution At Amazon

Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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