Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

Meet Me in 1880

Sherry D. Ficklin and Tyler H. Jolley’s Extracted takes Mandy C. on a wild ride through a time stream filled with teenage warriors, nods to steampunk and the disembodied brain of one Nikola Tesla.

Meet Me in 1880

BOOK REPORT for Extracted (The Lost Imperials #1) by Sherry D. Ficklin and Tyler H. Jolley

Cover Story: I Hope You Like Gears
BFF Charm: Yay x 2
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Flip the Switch
Bonus Factors: Nikola Tesla
Bonus/Anti-bonus Factor: Steampunk
Relationship Status: (Time) Travel Buddy

Cover Story: I Hope You Like Gears

Everything about this cover screams steampunk. Gears, pocket watches, cobblestones, brass, rivets, etc. And then there’s someone in the background who can shoot lightning out of his or her eye. (I don't know.) It’s nice to see a gent on the cover, though.

The Deal:

Ember attends the Institute, a school for Rifters—people who can travel back and forth through time—and run by the preserved brain/holographic likeness of Nicola Tesla. (Yes, you read that right.) As a Rifter, it’s her job to prevent changes to the timeline caused by the Hollows, a rival group of time travelers whose apparent only job in life is to mess with the time stream and steal things from the past.

Lex is a Hollow. He doesn’t quite see his chosen life path as a bad one and dislikes the Rifters as much as they dislike him. He follows the orders of one of Tesla’s former colleagues (time travel apparently affects the aging process), who broke from Tesla over philosophical differences.

On a “routine” mission back to collect an artifact, Lex and his friends run into trouble. When Lex devises a plan to fix the trouble, he runs into Ember, and the two realize they’re connected in more ways than being from rival gangs who both happen to travel in time.

BFF Charm: Yay x 2

Ember and Lex are very similar characters. They’re both strong-willed and strong-minded individuals. They’re both smart and loyal and take-charge. They differ in that Lex is a little more rebel where Ember is more of a rule-follower, but both of those attributes can be good in a friend, as long as the individual isn’t needlessly reckless or a total Mary Sue.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Since coming to the Institute, Ember has found herself as part of a three-person team. Kara, the other girl on the team, is the flirty one, but excellent when it comes to hand-to-hand combat. Ethan, the only boy, is not only super hot and super fit, he’s great with technology. Ember doesn’t exactly want to disrupt the balance of the team, but she can’t deny her feelings for Ethan either.

Lex’s object of affection, however, is Stein, a no-nonsense scrapper of a girl who hates PDA and seemingly hates to love Lex. I totally didn’t get the attraction at first. (But then I’ve never been one to go after a person full-throttle once they make it completely apparent that they’re not interested.) Somewhere along the plot, however, she warms up a little, and then I could see past Lex’s physical attraction to her and glimpse the appeal of the personality underneath.

Talky Talk: Flip The Switch

Ember and Lex’s POVs switch off with each chapter, which gives readers a glimpse into both of their lives, their thoughts and the two time travel factions in Extracted. Because the two characters are so different, yet work so well together, I again have to to wonder, since two authors of opposing genders penned this book, if they each took the character of the same gender and wrote their dialogue and thoughts, and then worked together on the main story.

Regardless, through their engaging writing style, Sherry D. Ficklin and Tyler H. Jolley have created a unique and interesting world that, although it’s much different from our own, doesn’t seem entirely foreign; the characters still deal with typical teenage angst and mistrust of authority figures, the Earth hasn’t been destroyed by a dystopia-causing disaster. Extracted is quite funny in places and surprising in others, and the liberties Ficklin and Jolley have taken with history are intriguing.

Bonus Factor: Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla is a hidden gem of history. I don’t remember learning much about the man when learning about Thomas Edison—Tesla worked for Edison during the 1880s—but he’s a fascinating character. He basically worked in the field of science fiction—making advancements in electricity, radio, x-rays and wireless energy. Later in life, he devolved into mad scientist territory, but there’s no denying the man made significant impact on science and technology while he was alive. The Tesla in Extracted is, of course, a fictionalized character, but he’s still pretty intriguing.

(Side note: I really wanted to use an image of this Tesla to accompany this, but I wasn’t sure how many of you are Sanctuary fans.)

Bonus/Anti-Bonus Factor: Steampunk

Some people love steampunk; some people hate it. I’m of the mind that it’s a very cool looking fashion choice, and I love the genre when it’s used in books, but I’ve never really researched the ideals of the culture. Extracted isn’t overwhelmingly steampunk, but there are nods to it here and there, so if you’re on the “STEAMPUNK RULES” side of the fence, you’ll likely appreciate the inclusion, and if you’re on the “STEAMPUNK DROOLS” side of things, the little bit of it in the book probably won’t bother you all that much. (For the latter: Push past the early top hat business. I promise it’s less overt later on.)  

Casting Call:

Jordan Hinson as Ember

Thomas McDonell as Lex

Relationship Status: (Time) Travel Buddy

Although it annoys me a little that you’re yet another start to a series, Book, I’m giving you a pass. You didn’t leave me with a massive cliffhanger, but you left enough plot points unfinished that I’m definitely looking forward to when we meet again. Just don’t go poking around in my past, please. I quite like my life as it is.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy from the author. I received neither Christmas carols nor money for this review. Extracted is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
K