Thursday, February 14, 2013

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

You know that feeling when you take your first sip of ice-cold water after a particularly hard workout? Well, this book was my much-needed water. I have been a fan of this series since book one. It shocked me in so many ways. And then book two happened, and I was even more shocked. And frankly, I was a little hesitant with the whole ship-actually-landing-idea thing, but seriously I have been shocked a third time! Why the water metaphor? Well, frankly, I kind of feel like I’ve been drinking some really great, lukewarm water lately, and I’ve just been craving something a little different.
This was definitely different. Think LOST mixed with Jurassic Park, mixed with a really terrifying alien movie, and a classic kind of YA dystopia and you might have an idea of what this book was like. Seriously, though, I already knew that Revis was big on the plot twists and the drama, but well…dinosaurs! There are dinosaurs on this new planet!
It all starts with a dramatic crash-landing. Elder and Amy barely have time to breathe before all the frozen people are awoken (Hello, Amy’s parents!) There are sorts of political and racial divides between the people born on the ship (all of one ethnicity) and the people woken up. The frozen military pretty much take over, ignoring Elder and his people as much as they can. And there’s never really a safe, dull moment for these characters.
Important people (both ship-born and not) are being singled out and murdered. Latches on the ship close immediately, not giving anyone adequate time to take all there things before they run out (instead of being trapped forever). There are ptero’s, creatures that appear almost identical to pterodactyls that really seem to enjoy eating people. There’s so much death, fighting, and fear.
And the scariest thing is the unknown threat. There is some other possible alien race out there that killed off the humans that came first. Since Godspeed was created, technology advanced enough for the people of earth to send people to this planet much more quickly. However, all that seems to be left of these people are the ruins of their past houses. And this unknown element gives this book a whole new level of creepy.
Amy is a little caught between what she has become accustomed to with Elder and his people and what her parents expect of her. There’s a lot of animosity between Amy’s military leader father and Elder. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the past colony of humans. There’s new, technologically advanced weapons. There’s a lot of focus on phydus, the drug mentioned in the first two books that controlled the people on Godspeed. There’s a lot of new characters and the more the book goes on, the less the people (old and new) seem trustworthy.
There’s slave labor, aliens, dinosaurs, communication with people on Earth(!), underground tunnels, secret communication centers, all kinds of science (particularly the kind that deals with clones and genetically modified DNA), and even a new love triangle! The romance between Elder and Amy finally picks up, and I was so happy to see that happen that I literally put the book down, and said out loud, “Finally…”
The book isn’t so much about learning to live on a new planet as it is about a) finding out who’s murdering everyone, b) learning how to connect with Earth, c) deep-rooted political battles between various different groups of people, and d) fighting to survive even though at every turn, it becomes more and more that death is right around the corner.
I was blown away by this book! I read it in one sitting. Seriously, my eyes are like burning from staying open this long. On top of all of the crazy plot twists, shocks, deaths (the numbers were in the hundreds), romance, ethical battles, and action, was just one really well thought out ending to a remarkable series.  All of the questions I have been gathering since book one have been answered, and it’s so hard not to talk about them now, but I’m working really hard not to spoil anything.
Questions were answered. Lessons were learned. The weaker characters (aka: Amy) became much stronger. I was so happy to see Amy stick up to her father as much as she did. And really this book just dealt with so many things, I don’t even know how to begin to give light to all that it talked about. Themes of diversity, rebellion, slavery, injustice, science, and technology gave this scary, alien dystopia so much more depth than I’m accustomed to seeing in similar books. It’s both a book that made me afraid to turn the lights off, and a book that has me thinking way after I have finished it.
So, I can go on about this awesome series for days, but I just want to throw in that it is one of my favorite YA dystopia series I have yet to read. Most people would probably consider it to be more science fiction, but so many of the elements here are ones that just make up one classic dystopia. I give it a 10/10. I recommend it to fans of: Suzanne Collins, Ally Condie, James Dashner, and Moira Young.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, all ten? What did you think of the ending? I thought it could have been so epic, but then she retracted an awesome thing that happened. It made me SO mad and disappointed. Still a great book, but it could have been so much less predictable.