Note: This is the sequel to Edge of Extinction: The Ark Plan. Spoilers ahead for the first book.
“We can’t just let the world end. We have work to do.”
FIVE YEARS AGO: Sky’s father fled their underground compound to go topside, to a land ruled by dinosaurs. Before leaving, he hid instructions on how to complete his mysterious mission if he were ever to fail.
LAST WEEK: Sky stumbled upon the clues her father had left behind: a memory card, a map pointing to Lake Michigan, and a message telling her the fate of the world depends on getting there. So she and her best friend, Shawn, broke out of North Compound, following in her father’s footsteps.
TODAY: After narrowly escaping both dinosaurs that want to eat her and marines sent to stop her—and making some unexpected new allies along the way—Sky and her friends have finally made it to Lake Michigan. They discover a secret lab hidden in the water that is home to scientists who have actually been helping the dinosaurs. With their aid, Sky learns the truth about her father’s mission. And that he was right all along…
TOMORROW: It will be up to Sky and her friends to save the world from the very people who had sworn to protect it.
And like that, it’s over.
Such was my reaction after finishing Code Name Flood, the second and what turned out to be final book in Laura Martin’s Edge of Extinction series. I was expecting a trilogy given most science fiction and fantasy series seemingly obey the same law as celebrity deaths: They come in threes. The sad truth is Martin could have used an extra book to flesh out her story. Code Name Flood is so eager to reach the finish line that important writing elements like character development and worldbuilding get glossed over.
To recap: Edge of Extinction is set in a future where dinosaurs have been resurrected through genetic engineering. The same scientists responsible for this amazing feat also inadvertently recreated prehistoric diseases, which wiped out nearly all human life. Dinosaurs rule the surface but the last humans are holed up in underground shelters. Twelve-year-old Sky Mundy and her best friend Shawn fled their shelter after finding a message from Sky’s father warning the world was in danger. After meeting up with a surface-dwelling kid named Todd and Sky’s survivalist grandfather, the pair head to Lake Michigan, which is teeming with dangerous prehistoric sea life.
I will keep spoilers to a minimum but, rest assured, most of the mysteries teased in The Ark Plan are answered in the opening chapters of Code Name Flood, which mainly deals Sky’s effort to save the world. The book moves at a breakneck pace, with the characters rarely staying in a single location for long. Unfortunately that is a big problem. While The Ark Plan was much more deliberate and evenly paced, there are easily two books worth of content in Code Name Flood. A new companion for Sky and a main villain are introduced, but the action never slows down to let Martin develop their personalities. Readers get to visit new locations in Martin’s world, but they don’t spend much time exploring those settings or learning about their inhabitants, both human and dinosaurian. Also, the ending feels rushed with everything wrapped up too neatly.
Criticisms aside, you can’t say Code Name Flood doesn’t deliver on action. It also delivers on dinosaurs, although most just fill the role of generic monsters to menace the heroes. I’m sure many readers will be happy with just those two. As for myself, I would have preferred to spend more time getting to know the people and places of the world of Edge of Extinction.
- Cover blurbs have described the series as Jurassic Park meets Planet of the Apes, but in reality the true predecessor to the books is the comic Xenozoic Tales, which also is set in a post-apocalyptic future where dinosaurs have overrun Earth’s ecosystems.
- Martin said on her website that the book’s publisher, HarperCollins, has signed her for another two-book deal, but neither will be set in the Edge of Extinction universe. However, she isn’t ruling out the possibility of returning to the series in the future.