Title: Shades of Earth
Author: Beth Revis
Release Date: January 2013
Length: 369 pages
Series?: Across the Universe #3
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopian(ish)
Challenge: Feminist Reads Challenge
After loving both Across the Universe and A Million Suns, I was ready for the thrilling conclusion to the trilogy. Of course, if you haven’t read the first two books, you may want to start with my reviews of those (the titles are linked to my reviews) because this review will have definite spoilers for both books.
In Shades of Earth, the Godspeed has finally reached its final destination, Centauri Earth, after hundreds of years of traveling across space. It’s time to land the ship, unfreeze cryogenically frozen passengers who will lead the new colony, and explore the territory. Though Elder has been in charge of his ship through the traditions passed down by the ship-borns, he must learn to share power with the Earth-borns. Amy must find a balance between her allegiance to her parents and her love for Elder. And everyone spends most of their time trying not to die.
Because, y’all, Centauri Earth is SCARY AS SHIT.
First, there is conflict between the ship-borns and Earth-borns. Elder worries that the ship-borns will enslave his people on the new planet. Second, there is conflict between man and nature. Crazy birds attacking people, deadly plants, you name it...learning to live on a new planet results in multiple casualties. However, the most frightening element is the third: the unknown. There is something, or someone, on Centauri Earth watching these new inhabitants, and it wants them dead. What is it? Can Amy and Elder save their people, and themselves?
There is so much potential here. SO MUCH. But the book was simply mediocre. It had all of the philosophical/dystopian/mystery/romance/sci-fi/dystopian aspects of the previous novels, but it was all too much. Too complicated, too unbelievable, and too crazy. I found some of it quite hard to follow. A second read of the story might help, I guess, but this was a strange conclusion to the trilogy.
That being said, it would be difficult for me to tell you not to read it. After all Amy and Elder experienced on Godspeed, readers will want to know if this Centauri Earth place was worth all the hype. Revis does answer many of our questions and wraps up those lose ends. Anyone with an emotional attachment to Amy and Elder will want to discover how it all ends. It was particularly interesting to watch Revis build her new dystopian society from scratch. So often we read of societies already created, but here we watch each of the decisions as they are made with the intention of protecting the people of the new planet from harm. As hard some of this book was to get through, I’m glad I read it.
FINAL GRADE: B A bit of a let down. I probably hyped it up too much. Revis can write some darn good space travel romance, though, and fans of the series will need to give it a chance. Someone needs to tell me that they are making this into a movie. Please tell me they are making this into a movie? This would all be excellent on the big screen. I’d pay to see it.
REQUIRED READING: Required for anyone who has read the first two books. The trilogy is strong as a set.
LIBRARY RECOMMENDATION: Buy it for middle or high school. Be aware of both sex and violence.