Hi everyone! I'm really excited to be participating in the blog tour for Extracted, the first book in The Lost Imperials series. Below, you will find my review of Extracted, an interview with the authors, Sherry D. Ficklin and Tyler H. Jolley, and a giveaway for a Kindle Paperwhite Touchscreen.
Welcome to the war. The Tesla Institute is a premier academy that trains young time travelers called Rifters. Created by Nicola Tesla, the Institute seeks special individuals who can help preserve the time stream against those who try to alter it. The Hollows is a rogue band of Rifters who tear through time with little care for the consequences. Armed with their own group of lost teens--their only desire to find Tesla and put an end to his corruption of the time stream. Torn between them are Lex and Ember, two Rifters with no memories of their life before joining the time war. When Lex's girlfriend dies during a mission, the only way he can save her is to retrieve the Dox, a piece of tech which allows Rifters to re-enter their own timeline without collapsing the time stream. But the Dox is hidden deep within the Telsa Institute, which means Lex must go into the enemy camp. It's there he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them both comes flooding back. Now armed with the truth of who they are, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them both again.
I had a lot of fun reading this book. It combines steampunk, time travel, and a fast-moving plot. I highly recommend it for people who enjoy science fiction, alternate history, gadgets, action, and snappy dialogue.
As for the characters: Upon first read, it was hard to see them beyond their role in the story and their immediate relationships to each other (friend, sibling, boyfriend/girlfriend). But when I flipped through it a second time, I noticed many more personal details that really made the characters come alive--what they wore ("Her grey cargo pants have been haphazardly patched over with what I assume are pieces of the Hollows' common room sofa"), what they collected ("Pieces of fabric, drab costume jewelry. Feathers. A set of brass knuckles"), etc.
There were also several elements I appreciated from a feminist perspective, and I'm not just talking about kickass females. More specifically, it was the fact that those kickass females also had personalities, were allowed to like pretty things, and most importantly, had meaningful relationships with other females. One criticism of the YA genre that I keep seeing over and over again is the lack of female friendships. It often seems like female "friends" only exist as passive gossip buddies or as backstabbing sluts, something which was definitely not the case in Extracted. The female characters had actual conversations with each other, and when they fought, it was over legitimately conflicting ideals.
One of my issues with this novel is the worldbuilding. The novel did a great job with the details (ie, steampunk tech), but not so much with the big-picture. For instance, it seemed like the Tesla Institute and the Hollow Tower existed in a vacuum. Where (and when) are these institutions located? For instance, one of the characters from the Tesla Institute talks about going to the beach a lot, but other than that, I know nothing about the where-and-when. Is the Tesla Institute located somewhere in the modern United States, or is it in some futuristic steampunk world where everyone knows about time travel? (Given that the dialogue is very 21st century and that it doesn't seem like a lot of other people know about Rifting, I would assume the former.)
Additionally, I'm a little hazy on Tesla's agenda, but I assume that future books will expand upon that.
1. I'm always curious about the co-authoring process. What was yours like? Did you each pick a POV character to write, or did you write the whole thing together?
Sherry- We knew early on that I wanted to write Ember’s chapters and Tyler wanted to write Lex’s. But once we would complete a chapter, we would comb through it together and make suggestions, changes, or edits. We were really able to tweak and tighten each other’s work, because we both understand the characters and the world so well.
Tyler- Because I’m not totally in tune with my inner girl I’m glad that I have Sherry. From the beginning we wanted EXTRACTED to have a really strong female and male voice. And we didn’t want these two characters to be secondary characters. We alternated chapters from Lex to Ember.
2. A few of the characters in Extracted are well-known historical figures. How did you go about 'adapting' these people into fiction? Was there ever any conflict between historical accounts of these figures and the characters you wanted them to become?
Sherry- Most of it was fairly simple because we actually sort of erase their pasts (or at least their memories of the past) so we had a fair amount of leash to work with. The one thing that some of the early readers got stuck on was the fact that the historical person Lex is based on was a hemophiliac. But we didn’t want to make it a limiting factor for him in the book, so we sort of dealt with it very simply and quickly.
Tyler- I agree with Sherry. The only historical conflict was hemophilia. The rest of the characters just have their past lives, but as they live in the Hollow Tower or the Tesla Institute these lives aren’t remembered, thus it doesn’t influence how they live their day to day lives.
3. In Extracted, Lex and Ember regain memories of their lives before they became Rifters. Are any other characters going to remember their past lives in future books?
Sherry- *Spoilers* Yes. All the Tesla kids (and even a few of the Hollows) are based on real people, so bringing more of their histories in will happen throughout the series. I will say, it doesn’t happen for the others the same way it happens for Lex and Ember. Each ‘trigger’ is unique to the character and their experiences.
Tyler- In the next book there will be more reveals of past historical characters. It has been an absolute riot figuring out each trigger and how it floods their minds with past memories.
4. Describe your ideal time travel vacation.
Sherry- I would want to visit the Library at Alexandria before its destruction. So much history lost forever, I would spend weeks just rummaging through it. I went to Europe a few years back and the one place I knew I HAD to visit was the library at St. Gallen in Switzerland. It was amazing. I know, I’m a book nerd.
Tyler- I would love to go back and be part of the gold rush in Colorado. Caves and gold are intriguing to me.
About the authors:
Tyler H. Jolley is a sci-fi/fantasy author and full-time orthodontist, periodontist (see: Overachiever). He divides his spare time between writing, reading, mountain biking, and camping with his family.
Sherry D. Ficklin is a full-time writer and internet radio show host with more mouth then good sense. She has a serious book addiction, but continually refuses treatment, much to her husband’s chagrin.
Tyler and Sherry met one fateful day and bonded over their love for books, science fiction, and donuts. Their first co-written novel came shortly after. Now, they still do all those other things, but also go to various steampunk conventions and events under the guise of ‘research’. They can often be found lurking on the Lost Imperials Facebook page or over on the official website, www.thelostimperials.com.
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Extracted is out now!