Book Review

Extant – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5 Stars)

Question everything.

Life is hard enough after you’ve just graduated high school. You’re trying to choose a college, you’re saying goodbye to good friends, and the world is at your finger tips. But for Natalie Morrigan and her close friends – Tawny, Leo, Brant, and Owen – there world is turned upside down by a series of bombings. Suddenly, their lives are turned upside down, their homes destroyed with their parents missing. At first, they think they’re mere pawns in the game…until they discover a mysterious ability granted to them at birth.

Extant is the fast paced first novel of The Coelcanth Project by Sarah Newland. In a gripping YA Sci-Fi novel, the readers embark on a journey that is filled with questions about morality, eugenics, and the definition of peace. Who can be trusted? And are Natalie and her friends making the right decision?

This story definitely hooked me right from the first page. Newland has a remarkable ability to write fast paced scenes while keeping the science fun and easy to understand. Natalie serves as a wonderful character to learn this through; her inner monologue is exactly what you would expect of an over-analytical teenager who is more interested in reading, mathematics and theories than being surrounded by the action. Her friends serve as good foils to her overall character too: Leo the protector, Tawny the feisty, Brant the “comic”, and Owen the “nerd”. Each one provides a valuable part of the team.

Yet, while Newland writes compelling action and fast paced scenes, some of this severely hindered the plot. I would have liked to see a bit more places where the character “breathe”. The story doesn’t take long to jump into the action, so the reader has to learn about the characters in these high adrenaline instances, rather than taking a bit of time to get to know them in calmer circumstances. That, coupled with the back and forth between past and present (which might have served as foreshadowing a discovery towards the end of the book), made me feel like I was constantly on the run. This, of course, is a testament to Newland’s writing ability, that the reader feels the anxiety pulsing through the pages. I personally would have liked a bit more time to get to really know Natalie and her friends though.

Still, if you want a fast paced novel filled with action and friendship, plus a little bit of science, Extant is definitely for you. I personally look forward to the next installment…since this is just a mere taste of what is to come.

What’s it about?

Every family has secrets, and Natalie Morrigan was used to being kept in the dark. But when her childhood home is destroyed following her parents mysterious disappearance, Natalie discovers her secrets are darker than most. With no where else to turn, Natalie and her four lifelong friends seek out their estranged Uncle for guidance, and he cannot wait to tell her the truth.

Her entire life has been a lie.

Burdened with a power that will change the world, Natalie is hunted by Nautilus: an organization that claims it will use her power to achieve an everlasting peace. But if Natalie has learned anything, it’s that things aren’t always what they seem.

Question everything.


Indie Authors: A Community of Support

As a part of my launch event this past weekend, I interviewed and featured a handful of authors, all of whom represent different factions of the indie author community. One thing is universal among everyone I spoke with: we are a community. It is our job as indie authors to support one and other, because authors are not just authors…they’re readers too.

Indie authors get flack for not publishing traditionally. We all had our reasons though, and very rarely does it come down to our idea was rejected by agents. That’s not the case. We wanted to independently publish for a reason. Whether it was to get the story out there, having control of the process, or something else entirely.

I had the honor to meet a group of wonderful independent authors over the last week. You can meet them all below:

Eme’ Savage

Eme’ is the author of Echoes of the Gidat and Tetarul Parallel. We had a wonderful discussion about her novel and process, as well as self doubt and how that comes into play while writing.

Cody Blake Wilson

Cody is the author of The Awakening, the first in his series. We discussed his first novel as well as LGBTQ+ representation in media.

Rachel Garcia

Rachel is the author of Illthdar: The Guardians of Las, the first book in an anticipated 10 book series! We talked about how she handles her wide array of cast, as well as diversity in writing.

Rachel Shaw

Rachel Shaw is the author of Last Memoria. We spent time discussing her duology, as well as how biology and memory comes into play in her novel. In addition, we also discussed how to produce an audio book.

Lane Northcutt

Lane is the author of the upcoming novel, The Delivery Co. We had a fantastic conversation about his experience as both an actor and writer, as well as his process. Unfortunately, technology got the best of us, crashing post interview and deleting the video.

That being said, you can still read about our discussion HERE.

Lori Yerxa

Lori is the author of the non-fiction book, Pushing Through, which is about Rex Patrick, Paralympic Medalist. We discussed the differences in writing a non-fiction novel, and what she learned about herself along the way.

Sterling Blue

Sterling is the author of This Isn’t the Zombie Apocalypse. We discussed her novel, her creative process, and her current work on a graphic novel.

Kaitlyn Legaspi

Kaitlyn is the author of The Dark Irregular Trilogy. We spent time discuss her trilogy as well as her countless number of projects that she can handle all while in college!

Yet, with all these interviews, I didn’t just stop there. I featured a few other authors throughout my launch.

All of these authors combined gave away 10 books in total, reaching readers whom they might not have due to indie authors supporting one and other. And I am so glad to have spoken with all of them, since each of their stories sound unique and have made it to my “to-read” list.

Speaking with each of these authors has helped me find a new sense of community among indie authors. It’s why I am trying to start up a book club, and will continue to read and review books written by my peers.

So I implore you, please check out all these authors! They’re amazing!

And I will continue featuring and supporting them, and I hope you will as well!

E.S. Barrison