Black blends creativity with detailed research, placing readers center stage 66 million years ago, during the sudden, apocalyptic fifth extinction ... In her exquisitely written coverage of the life cycles and habits of saurian and other life forms, Black makes it clear that inexorable doom will soon extinguish most plant and animal species on earth ... s she expands her coverage through millions of years, Black’s skill as a writer and scientist and vivid imagination enable her to capture the dramatic transition from the Cretaceous period to the Cenozoic era which brought the flourishing of mammals and, eventually, humanity.
Black combines science information with beautiful prose, providing snapshots of various dinosaurs just before, during, and after the asteroid impact ... Black offers a compelling look at the final days of dinosaurs and the aftereffects of the asteroid impact ... A real-life, natural history page-turning drama that is necessary reading for almost anyone interested in the history of life.
... evocative ... is in many ways a celebration of the smaller, scrappier animals and plants that were able to survive the impact and the devastating years-long winter that followed. These organisms might lack the size and majesty of the Triceratops horridus, but that doesn't make their survival and eventual flourishing any less dramatic. One of the keys to the book's success is Black's willingness to narrate events from the animals' perspectives, which allows readers to conceptualize both the scale of the disaster and the luck and ingenuity that allowed species to survive. The book also succeeds by lending immediacy and an admirable narrative sweep to scientific information.
... impressive ... [Black] effectively demonstrates the complexity and interdependence of various ecosystems, and the appendix is an extra treat—in it, Black explains how scientists know as much as they do about the behavior and physiology of species alive millions of years ago, and identifies where she used literary license to set a scene. This is top-drawer science writing.