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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

NICOLE'S REVIEW: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Title: Shades of Earth
Author: Beth Revis
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: January 15, 2013
Publishing House: Razorbill
ISBN: 9781595143990
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh - to build a home - on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise that Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to uncover who - or what - is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed - friends, family, life on Earth - will have been for nothing.

 (Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


It's finally here! Shades of Earth is the final book in the Across the Universe series and starts off with Amy, Elder, and a fraction of the people from Godspeed headed to Centauri-Earth.

The setting for Shades of Earth is quite different. Instead of being confined inside the walls of a ship, they're now given a lush, new world so very different from their own. But this world is virtually unknown to them and soon enough the colony finds themselves struggling to survive as they face their new home - a home filled with unknown danger and an unidentified enemy determined to eradicate them all. Since this is a new setting for both characters and readers alike, I sort of wish Revis took more time to explore more of the world - the descriptions were beautiful, mind you - but I understand that in the midst of their fight for survival, exploration is going to take a backseat to keeping themselves safe and healthy and whole.

My biggest complaint in this installment however, was Amy. I had a hard time getting through the first part of the book because I found her selfish, childish and quite annoying; it was during the latter part of the book that she grew on me and, while I'm still not fond of her, I can say that her character did develop and mature. I really liked Elder here. It was interesting, seeing the new world through his eyes and seeing how he compared Centauri-Earth to Sol-Earth. Being the leader of the people from Godspeed, Elder is constantly struggling to lead his people and is unsure of who to put his trust in; sometimes he questions if leaving Godspeed was the right thing to do. I also enjoyed the romance between Amy and Elder, it was very sweet and real and I'm glad that Amy finally admitted to herself her feelings for Elder - that she was with him because she chose him, not because there was no one else.

One thing I was looking forward to were the Frozens because it's in this book that they're finally freed and their release incites fear and distrust among the men and women of Godspeed. There was racism and discrimination, which was unavoidable due to their initial impressions of each other, and despite the fact that there were times wherein they did work together, there was still an invisible line drawn between the two fueled by fear and apprehension.

In the final book of the trilogy Revis pits her characters against harsh environments - toxic flowers and giant bird-like predators - and an unknown adversary picking off their people, day by day. Amy and Elder struggle to identify this threat but in the process they uncover more secrets that could prove fatal to the colony. I like how Revis is unafraid to make her characters suffer; how she constantly tests their resilience and has them face seemingly insurmountable odds. At the end of this book questions are answered and mysteries revealed - puzzle pieces that fall neatly into place finally revealing the truth. 

Shades of Earth is the final leg of Elder and Amy's story; a satisfying conclusion to the Across the Universe series. It's a wonderful journey that seeks to explore the vastness of space and the possibilities of life in uncharted planets. Would I recommend this series? Yes, most definitely. It's not everyday you come across a thoroughly entertaining YA series superbly tackling space exploration, a budding romance and the masterful weaving of mystery and intrigue that manages to connect two planets - galaxies apart.


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