Monday, February 11, 2013

REVIEW: SHADES OF EARTH by Beth Revis - Science Fiction Dystopian Goodness!

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

Published January 15, 2013 by Razorbill
Get a copy at Barnes & Noble • Amazon • Kobo • and other stores

(technically 4.4, rounded to four)

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.


Excuse me... I need a moment. Actually several. Every time I read a book from this series I feel like I had my mind wiped. It takes me a while to gather myself together. There were some issues I had with the book (and the cover) but overall SHADES OF EARTH satisfied my geeky sc-fi hunger completely.

Let's start with the cover. Why did they have to change the cover? I am NOT happy that my collection does not match. Can I turn in my other two to get the revised versions? Probably not. Sigh. Moving on to the few other irritants. Revis writes in a more reserved manner than I care for. Many of the relationships seem distant, aloof and remote. Taciturn even. Once they land, I thought they would have explored the land. There were only three locations we saw, and it was disappointing that we didn't get to experience anything else. Elder was a big disappointment as was Amy's Dad. Instead of making them  enthralling, she settles for conventional stereotypes. Elder's character was blossoming in book two and he ends up withering until the last couple chapters. Even then we only get brief glimpses and abrupt snippets. You would have thought the book would describe so many plants and animals, but instead we get one tree, one bush, one flower and one animal. 

Getting my geek on with all the new technology was fun but I was appalled at how little the characters interacted with it. I can't say more or I will spoil it for you. I especially wanted to hear and see all the frozens reanimating but that part is skipped over. What Revis excels at are plot twists. Imagine sitting in a roller coaster in complete darkness. You have no idea where its going til you get there. Several new issues send the floor dropping and your stomach in your mouth. 

Revis envelopes us in complex mystery. You may not normally be inclined to science fiction, but the dystopian issues, murder mysteries, psychological complications should find mass appeal. The romance between Elder and Amy faces new and unexpected strains. Revis seemed to feel the need to inject one scene that was really out of place dealing with their relationship. Let's just say I felt what happened could have been dealt with in a much more dynamic fashion. Instead, what we are given is common placed, expected and lackluster. I still don't understand Amy in certain areas, like her love life. She did seem to mature and find her place in this universe and that was satisfying to watch. Elder's character deteriorated for most of the book which was surprising and disenchanting. 

It was the complete inability to see where things would go next in the book that really hooked me in. Events unfolded in such an incredulous and astounding fashion. Revis' ability to create such in depth dystopian worlds had me enchanted. The ending was 

If you liked THE HUNGER GAMES or MATCHED, this could be up your ally. This series is the perfect blend of science fiction, murder mystery and dystopian genres and I recommend this to anyone.