Xtinct! Tiger Hunt by Ash Stone

The Blurb On The Back:

Xtinct!

Jeevan can’t wait to hit the slopes.  But his snowboard will have to wait because a mix-up at his mum’s lab has brought a dangerous SABRE-TOOTH TIGER back to life – and now it’s prowling around outside!

With a blizzard raging, a tiger on the loose and two hunters in hot pursuit, Jeevan needs to keep a cool head.  Can he come up with a plan before things snowball out of control?

Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

You can order XTINCT! TIGER HUNT by Ash Stone from Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

It’s a few months after XTINCT! T-REX TERROR.

Skull the T-Rex that Jeevan accidentally brought back to life is now living happily in the hidden valley belonging to Griff, who owns the fossil lab that Jeevan’s mum, Anjali, works in.  Meanwhile Barron Fox’s workers (supervised by his henchmen Smith and Jones) have started work constructing a hunting lodge called Paradise Falls and are chopping down the forest’s trees in order to lay concrete.  But their progress is hampered by heavy snow and there’s a blizzard due to come in, forcing people to seek safety.

Anjali is trying to replicate the conditions that brought Skull, Toe and Dodo back to life but something goes wrong and the next thing everyone knows, there’s a sabre-tooth tiger in the lab!  Somehow Jeevan and Toe have to come up with a plan to get the tiger to safety but that’s not easy with Smith and Jones prowling about, equally keen to capture or kill it …

The second in Ash Stone’s eco-friendly illustrated adventure series for readers aged 6+ has its heart in the right place and I liked the diversity of Jeevan and his mother.  However the execution was pretty flat – as are the illustrations – while the antagonists of Smith and Jones struggle to be stock characters and the depiction of Toe left me a bit uncomfortable.  Ultimately this just didn’t work for me and I wouldn’t rush to read on.

I was a bit hampered in reading this because I hadn’t read book one, which is where all the set up and backstory is.  As a result I wasn’t quite sure why Anjali was in the mountains doing her research or what Griff was funding it for.  I also wasn’t sure why the creatures were coming back fully grown instead of being babies.  Some of these points are addressed within the story with Stone calling back to earlier events but not all of them are covered.

The story here is pretty simple – a sabre-tooth tiger is regenerated, escapes the lab and has to be herded to safety by Jeevan and Toe before Smith and Jones can kill or capture it.  Although there is a lot of action, I can’t say that any of it really grabbed or excited me – there’s a weird ‘by the motions’ feel to some of it and not a huge sense of jeopardy.  The illustrations didn’t help here either – they’re a bit too cartoony and a bit too flat.

The characters of Smith and Jones are really underdeveloped and struggle to be stock henchmen.  There’s a hint at a potential split between them, but given that I got them confused with each other, I’m not sure how effective that would be.  Likewise, I wasn’t comfortable with the way Toe is depicted in the book.  I got that she’s a Neanderthal but the restricted manner of her speech didn’t make sense to me (although I admit that this may have been addressed in the first book) and I thought that there was a suggestion of her being not particularly intelligent, which made me uncomfortable.  Jeevan himself is quite functional, he doesn’t so much have a personality as exist to drive the plot and while he has flashes of fear and flashes of courage, didn’t stand out for me.

There’s a strong ecological message in the book about the need for conservation with some facts and figures at the end, which will interest younger readers – including discussing species that are now extinct.

Ultimately, I didn’t think this was a bad book.  If you have a young reader who is into ecology and likes an adventure, then they would probably enjoy this.  The problem is that there just wasn’t anything in it that really elevated it for me or made it stand out and as such, I can’t say that I’d rush to read more. 

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