by Beth Revis
To be published by Razorbill
on January 15, 2013
Brief non-spoilery series summary:
In book one, Across the Universe, Amy and her parents are cryogenically frozen in preparation for a 300-year journey to a new planet, Centauri-Earth. But Amy is inexplicably defrosted fifty years too early and faces life on the spaceship Godspeed, alone among strangers. To make matters even worse, someone is unplugging her frozen counterparts and watching them die.
Elder is heir apparent to Eldest, the leader of Godspeed. He's intrigued by Amy, who is not only the only person his age on board the ship, but also the only person he's ever seen with pale skin and red hair. He fights both his attraction to her and his fears about becoming a leader.
In A Million Suns, the characters continue to face plenty of obstacles. After being attacked in book one, Amy is nervous and shaken, missing her life on earth and longing to be reunited with her parents, who are tantalizingly close but heartbreakingly silent in their cryo-boxes. Elder finds leadership abruptly thrust upon him and struggles with his confidence. Amy goes on a scavenger hunt for hidden messages that reveal secrets about Godspeed and the truth behind its mission. Meanwhile, Elder deals with a mutinous population, a tail of bodies left by a mysterious killer, and his own self-doubt.
In Shades of Earth -- this can't be a spoiler because it's in the frexing title -- a contingent from Godspeed actually reaches Centauri-Earth. Amy can't wait to unfreeze her parents and be on solid ground again. But their new home isn't as hospitable as they'd hoped. They're faced with dangerous flora and fauna and ... is there something out there? Something alive that's trying to kill them?
My take: Sci-fi isn't usually my genre of choice, but I really enjoyed this series. First of all, Beth Revis puts a healthy dose of mystery in each book -- there's a trail of murdered bodies in each one -- and also weaves in literary references, history, and social and political theory. Books written by authors who are well-read themselves are always a pleasure to read.
There were many, many things about Shades of Earth that I loved. First of all, I'm mildly claustrophobic, so I was SO glad to get Amy not only out of the cryo-box, but off that ship and onto land. The book cleverly contrasts the reactions of the earth-born and the ship-born to being on Centauri-Earth. While the former are elated, the latter are terrified. The ship is all they've ever known and they're afraid to leave it.
All three books in the series have also looked at issues of power and leadership, of community and discord. In Shades of Earth, the ship-born contingent (led by Elder) immediately begin to butt heads with the so-called "frozens," most of whom have military backgrounds. This is not only a realistic scenario, but adds conflict as the two groups argue over how to handle a multitude of decisions.
I've always felt that this series is more plot-driven than character-driven, and while Amy and Elder don't have huge growth arcs, they do face a new set of challenges in this book, which presents an awesome twist on a YA Trend I Am Ready To Break Up With by giving us not dead parents, but frozen ones. I loved the fact that, for two books, Amy has been essentially parent-free, and in this book that changes, causing more friction. Elder began to adjust to leadership in A Million Suns, and now that leadership is threatened by the "frozens." (I just love that term!) Then there's the mysterious, possibly sinister FRX (Financial Resource Exchange -- is it an accident that kind of spells "frex?"-- the organization that funded their mission.
As mentioned above, all these books contain a murder mystery and Shades of Earth is no exception. People are dropping like flies and nobody is sure exactly who or what is killing them. I love mysteries, so I was crazy about this part. Yes, I did guess the person responsible, but I thought the mystery was well-done. Plus, this book was super-suspenseful, and not afraid to show us some truly dark and grim moments.
The blurb for Shades of Earth recommends it to fans of Battlestar Gallactica. I have never seen a single epidode of that show and it's not on my bucket list. What Shades of Earth reminded me of was the TV series LOST. I don't want to list all the parallels due to spoilers, but the various conflicting factions, the mysterious research initiatives, the dangers lurking outside -- there were some definite parallels and I loved that.
I was not completely sold on one aspect of the ending of Shades of Earth. I recognize that it's hard to end a series in a way that gets every single reader on board, especially if there's a love triangle, which thankfully isn't an issue here. Without spoilers, let's just say that the book did such a good job at showing that none the different factions -- the shipborns, the frozens, the FRX, and whatever might live on Centauri-Earth -- are morally pure, it was hard for me to accept that the whole mess could be resolved that quickly. Alliances had to be made in a split second, and I can't go all kumbaya and think that those alliances will last any longer than YA instalove. In my imagination, these characters still have a lot of obstacles to face.
I'm sad to see this series end, but I can't wait to see what Beth Revis cooks up for us next. Given some of the truly horrific moments in Shades of Earth, I'm putting my money on horror.
I was neutral on the first book so I didn't pick up the second when it came out but you're doing a great job at selling me on the series so I think I will try to grab books 2 and 3 at my library later this year so I can finish the series off in style.ReplyDelete
Ha ha -- I almost didn't get through the first scene of book one, when they're freezing her. But I think there's a lot here to love even for people like me who aren't huge fans of sci-fiDelete
YES! I loved this book as well. All the secrets spilled left me speechless!ReplyDelete
There were some OMG moments for sure!!!Delete
Love this series! I am glad Amy has finally arrived to the planet and we get to see her parents and other "frozens"!!!! Also happy it ends well even if they do have lots more work I do like a happy ending so I'm all good with that. I enjoy the suspense and mystery of the series as well. Can't wait!ReplyDelete
It's not all happiness at the end. But knowing you, I think you will be just fine with the ending. Let me know after you read it.Delete
I didn't read your review because I still have to read A Million Suns! I am so behind on books...ReplyDelete
I loved the first, but still need to read the second before I can read this one :)ReplyDelete
I know -- all these series are killing me!Delete
I didn't read your review since I suck and still haven't started the series. Honestly I got mad when they changed the covers because I bought the pretty original HC ones and now it won't match so I wasn't as excited about the series lol!!ReplyDelete
I was waiting for a cover complaint. Yeah, I'm not wild about the new ones. Maybe they were trying to appeal to the sci-fi crowd?Delete
I haven't read the 2nd yet, but glad to hear it is a good wrap up.ReplyDelete
Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog
Hope you get to finish the series soon!Delete
I haven't read this series yet but it does sound a bit like Battlestar Gallactica.ReplyDelete
I'm so happy to hear that people liked how it ended.
The first two books could be. The third was quite different, which I loved.Delete
Gosh - horrific incidents! That doesn't sound good. I have across the universe and I can't wait to read it! I've been trying to desperately get down my review pile so that I can read some of the books that I bought!ReplyDelete
So glad that you liked this, but it's not fantastic that the ending didn't tie up everything. Think I might have to get books 2 and 3 before I start book 1!
Nope, they are NOT GOOD at all, but very suspenseful and sometimes sad.Delete
Other people might be fine with the ending. It felt a tiny bit rushed to me.
Interesting... I may have to actually start this series. I've had the first one on my shelf since it came out.ReplyDelete
Give it a try!!!!!Delete
I have hobestly had no desire to read this series, but you made the most magical comparison of the all...LOST. I may give eventually give this a try. Thanks for the helpful review!ReplyDelete
Well, you have to wait until book three to get to the LOST stuff. Let me know if you try one of these!Delete
I read the first book and liked it (mostly because I really like Beth Revis) but I haven't been in a hurry to read the second book until recently. Then I read Elder (Orion's) story in Shards & Ashes and I was just blown away by it! I get to go to a signing soon that Beth Revis will be at, and I can't wait!!ReplyDelete
Thank you for all your help today, Jen! I really appreciate it. ;)
No problem. Get going on A Million Suns!!Delete
This is such a great review, Jen. I have only read the first book, but agree that that seemed more plot-driven than character driven. And even with that one, I was ready to get off the ship by the end, too!ReplyDelete
I'm glad the conclusion lived up to your expectations (with some reservations). Not all series do that well, so it's awesome when an author actually delivers.
Wendy @ The Midnight Garden
I'm sad that this ride is over. But I can't wait to see what she cooks up next!Delete
It seems that I must read this. See what you have done now?ReplyDelete
I always felt so claustrophobic while reading these books. I can't believe I ever used to want to be an astronaut. I'd have been trying to escape the ship the whole time. :P Anyway, I'm glad the "frozens" get unfrozen finally. I've been waiting for this point in the story FOREVER. Finally, a conclusion! Glad it's relatively satisfying. I don't think I could ever be 100% on board with a finale because there's always something I would have liked to see done differently, but it sounds like this was a pretty great ending, regardless. Great review!ReplyDelete
Excellent review! I would have never given this book a second glance, The cover just didn't do it for me and I never took the time to read the blurb since it was book 3 in a series. Boy, was I mistaken. This series is in my TBR list now.ReplyDelete
Let me know what you think!Delete
I haven't read this series, so I avoided the review, but I'm am excited to see that some of these popular series are coming to and end so that I can weed through them and find the ones that I want to read. I've become very hesitant about starting new series before multiple books are released, and I've completely sworn off starting any series that features a love triangle until someone can vet it for me. Is this a series that you would really recommend? Did you love it? The space travel sounds interesting, but I don't know a lot about what happens here.ReplyDelete
NO love triangle. Well, none to speak of.Delete
I really can't wait to read this one! I really enjoyed the other books in the series and it's good to see that you liked this last one! Great review.ReplyDelete
Alex @ Possession of Books
I have this one on my shelf, and can't wait to read it now! I love this series, and I am also curious on what Beth Revis will be writing about next! Great review!ReplyDelete
So I read the book, and OMG! I totally agree with your review. I also agree with your take on the ending...but I was just thrilled by the time I got the end that the "Something really bad that happened, didn't really happen!" If you know what I mean! I about stopped breathing! I guess it wasn't very realistic, but I'm hoping she does a spin off series or companion series. There's still a lot of story left of this new planet!ReplyDelete
I finished this book three days ago and omg I really liked it but I thought A Million Suns was better. I felt that the Shades of Earth ending was a little bit of a cliff hanger. I love it all in all except the romance. I agree how the cast is unforgettable. My favorite part would be when Elder had to go back to Godspeed. I was like YESSS!!ReplyDelete
marlene of Westport Fishing