Shades of Earth
by Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe #3
Publication Date: 15 January 2013
Razorbill, Hardcover, 369 pages
WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ACROSS THE UNIVERSE & A MILLION SUNS.
Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed 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.
FUELED BY LIES.
RULED BY CHAOS.
Greetings fellow Earthborns! I’ve just returned from my breath-taking journey aboard Godspeed and on Centauri-Earth. Truthfully, I wouldn’t even want to be back here on Sol-Earth & facing reality – that the Across the Universe trilogy has come to an end – if I had a choice. This trilogy really has brought me across the universe and blew my mind with all the lies and secrets that fueled the whole mission. Although I did not enjoy the first book, Across the Universe, as much as the second (A Million Suns) and third book, this trilogy as a whole is definitely one of my favourites.
The non-stop action starts from the very first page with Amy and Elder in the shuttle, before landing on Centauri-Earth. They probably thought that was going to be the hardest part towards their goal of creating a home on Centauri-Earth. They couldn’t have been more wrong. The Earthborns who were cryo-genetically frozen – especially those in the military – are keeping secrets. There was also a mutual distrust between the Shipborns and Earthborns, arising many conflicts as both groups viewed the other as freaks. Terrifying creatures and dangerous hazards await them on Centauri-Earth and something or someone is definitely watching the colony. Basically, they have a whole lot of trouble on their plate.
I loved all the unexpected twists that were present throughout the trilogy and Shades of Earth was no exception. Although the plot was unpredictable, it was beautifully linked and supported. Many books that have twists tend to end up slightly messy and lack supporting evidence, leading to overly outrageous deceits. Thankfully, everything made sense in Shades of Earth, no matter how out of this world (no pun intended) the turn of events were. I was practically gasping in shock throughout the book.
Moving on to the characters, Amy has grown so much from the girl who desperately needed her parents and was afraid of being the odd one out on a monoethnic ship to an independent leader. Though she did not outright lead the Shipborns, she’d previously convinced Elder to initiate huge changes aboard Godspeed, which was quite a remarkable feat. Her growth was further shown by her ability to make wise decisions, sometimes even having better judgement than her now unfrozen father. Amy’s struggles between loyalty to both the Earthborns and Shipborns was wonderfully realistic, just as anyone in her place would feel. She understood the Shipborns better than any of the Earthborns but needed to plead their case to her father (who was the leader of the mission after the first two in command were killed by Orion) in a way which he would not deem her as a ‘traitor’ to her own kind.
Elder too, had a tense relationship with Amy’s father, Colonel Martin, in Shades of Earth. Mutual distrust between the Earthborns and Shipborns aside, Colonel Martin thought Elder too young and therefore unsuitable to be the leader of the Shipborns, which of course irked Elder. Elder has also matured as a leader, no longer the carefree boy he was before Eldest died. In my opinion, Elder is the paragon of a good leader. He cares for his people a lot and lead by example. It really impressed & touched me how he did not just stand around ordering his people to do various tasks. Instead, he chose to work alongside them, having the amazing mentality that he would not ask his people to do what he, himself, was not doing. No wonder Amy’s falling for him!
Amy and Elder as individuals are not on my favourite female & males leads list. However, them together makes a dynamic duo that I can’t help but love. They complement each other so well although it’s still clear the are two different people. The duo perspective the whole trilogy was written in was impressive and outstanding. Amy and Elder’s opinions never seem to merge, as if they become one single person who always think the same way – which usually happens in novels written this way. They each had sufficient depth and character that made them distinct from each but at the same time, still somehow fit. What an amazing skill Beth Revis have there!
Just like all Sci-Fi and dystopian YA novels these days, Shades of Earth had a high death toll (of characters). However, none of them died unnecessarily as it all contributed to the plot and led to the ‘big reveal’. Thank God for that because I find killing off too many characters sadistic and many authors tend to go overboard with it, more deaths doesn’t always make the story more touching.
The ending. Was. Astounding. I was weeping, gasping, laughing (for joy), cursing, jumping, shouting and well, basically, my feels were overflowing. It was one heck of an ending and I’m completely satisfied with it. Nothing gets more perfect that this. If you’ve read Shades of Earth, you’ll get my meaning. I can’t stop reiterating how heartfelt the conclusion was. Another thing I noticed was the number of beautiful quotes in this whole book. My favourite ones, I unfortunately can’t share because it would give away spoilers. But I’ll find a way to share them soon.
In the mean time, I’m going to say farewell to another one of my favourite trilogies (I finished the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver 2 weeks ago. Sniff, sniff.) and hope I survive the withdrawal. I’m marveling at the fact that I’m actually still alive and not dead from an overdose of feels. I can’t decide whether A Million Suns or Shades of Earth was better but I do know I’ll miss Amy and Elder so much. Quoting Taylor Swift again, “I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you.” Dragons beings the obstacles Amy & Elder overcame. Okay, I need to stop and just… let go. Time to store this trilogy in that special little place in my heart.