Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tea Time: Shades of Earth

**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**

Shades of Earth, Beth Revis (Across the Universe #3)

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceshipGodspeed 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 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 discover who--or what--else 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.


Cover-I have the same thing to say about this cover as I had for A MILLION SUNS. One: it fits in perfectly with the rest of the series (at least, the editions I have), and it also stays true to the individual plot of the book. In this one, it's that Amy and Elder and the residents of the Godspeed have landed on Centauri-Earth, but now there's possibly even more danger there than on the ship.

The metal looks damaged, and the plant-life is trying to take over it. Basically: the book in visual art-form.

Narrative-I probably sound like a broken record by this point, but: SHADES OF EARTH, as with the previous two books in the ACROSS THE UNIVERSE trilogy, is told from alternating POVs: Elder and Amy.

And I'm just going to skip the fluff and get to the point and say: Revis did an amazing job with the last...5-ish(?) chapters when I totally freak out and go WHY? Because...well, you'll see. It's honestly fantastic the things you can do to a reader by simply changing a pattern of POV around. So. Yeah.

Plot-I'm going to get  a bit grouchy, here. I loved the plot: as it stands, the plot is awesome. The Godspeed has finally landed, and now there's a strange new world for Amy, Elder, and the inhabitants of the ship to explore. It comes with lots of danger. It also comes with an insane amount of conflict because all of the remaining cryogenically frozen military and science experts have been thawed.

Seriously: bring on the tension that I was subsisting on like it was air. The power struggle between Elder and Amy's parents (yeah, her dad's literally the one in charge of all the military people, and he doesn't like Elder) is fantastic, and I loved watching how both sides are forced to act in order to do their jobs (Elder: take care of his people; Amy's father: carry out a mission that nobody else really knows about and keep secrets).

It was two worlds colliding. Well, technically three (don't forget: Centauri-Earth is deadly). And, like I said: fantastic tension, it was fast-paced, and there were multiple moments where I dropped the book going oh my god I did not see that coming.

Like, it's obvious they're not the first ones to inhabit Centauri-Earth. But when you find out who these inhabit-ers are and what they do to Amy and Elder and-(stopping here because I really can't spoil anything but OH. MY. GOD).

So if I loved it so much, why am I a grouch? I noticed a pattern. Let me spell it out:

-ACROSS THE UNIVERSE: cryogenically frozen people are randomly getting murdered and nobody knows who's responsible until the end.
-A MILLION SUNS: recently freed-from-Phydus inhabitants of the Godspeed are randomly being murdered and nobody knows who's responsible until the end.
-SHADES OF EARTH: humans of Godspeed land on Centauri-Earth and are randomly disappearing and turning up murdered and nobody knows who's responsible until the end.

I mean, I might have exaggerated: it's not random at all; many of the people who die are actually strategic kills in the mind of the murderers. And, superficially, it's kind of interesting the way these plots overlap like that, because it really drive in the nail: people kill other people. It's happened since forever ago and it'll happen until we all die out.

Ultimately, I think what disappointed me, though, was that they were so similar. Sure, there were other things constantly happening, and I think Revis did a fantastic job in constructing this series in terms of settings and conflicts. I just wish she would have veered from this one path of "murder mystery" a little further.

Characters-Ya'll already know how I feel about Amy and Elder and every other recurring character (see my reviews for ACROSS THE UNIVERSE and A MILLION SUNS). So, instead, I'm going to talk about two new characters: Chris Smith and Colonel Martin.

Colonel Martin is Amy's father. In one word, he's a leader, and (don't hit me for saying this) probably more of a leader than Elder is in terms of training and experience. Heck, he's prepared for taking charge (well, sort of; the people who were supposed to be in charge were killed already). He understands logistics, is capable of taking control when he needs to, and ultimately has a tremendous amount of love for his wife and daughter.

Of course, he can occasionally be an outrageous asshole, and there were a few moments where I wished he was still frozen, but hey.

Chris. Chris is...well he's Chris. And let me tell you: every step of the way I thought he was too good to be true, and I hated him because I've been shipping Amy and Elder since book one. He's the "threat." And if you've read the book you'll know exactly how I mean. Or not. All I can really say about Chris is: I knew it. Knew what, you might ask?

Not telling.

Chris was extremely artfully crafted, and I give Revis so much credit. He's the character that I kept flipping back and forth on, thinking, "He's in on it,, maybe he's not. Well, he could be...Nah. Definitely not. Well...Nope. He's good."

As always, great characters.

Final Answer: 3.75 / 5

So it wasn't my absolute favorite book in the series. I think...Honestly I'd say that ACROSS THE UNIVERSE was my favorite, if I had to choose. But the series as a whole? The trilogy blew my freaking mind. I loved it, it's fantastic, and I will never write anything as fantastic as this series. Beth Revis? You officially broke me, and I appreciate that.

Would I recommend this series? The only plausible answer is yes.

Tweet It:

@Rae_Slater reviews SHADES OF EARTH @bethrevis and gives the last book in the ACROSS THE UNIVERSE trilogy 3.75/5 stars (Click to Tweet)

The ACROSS THE UNIVERSE series @bethrevis broke @Rae_Slater after she finished reading SHADES OF EARTH. Here's why (Click to Tweet)

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