This review may contain spoilers for the previous two books in the trilogy.
Title: Shades of Earth, Across the Universe #3
Author: Beth Revis
Publication: January 15th, 2013 by Razorbill
Format, pages: Hardcover, 369
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
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.
FUELED BY LIES.
RULED BY CHAOS.
WHY DID I PUT Shades of Earth OFF FOR FIFTEEN DAYS?!!! ARGHHH! Yes. Fifteen days is a long time to put off a book that was number five on your ten most anticipated books of the year. And a book that. Was. Just. Soooooooo. Good. And evil! And Good! No… IT WAS AWESOME!
‘What is in our hearts is real whether we name it or let it exist only in darkness or silence.’
Okay. So. Beth Revis is
evil … a genius … an evil genius. Why can’t all YA authors be like her? Seriously. All those other authors need to step up to the plate and show some true bravery and release their inner mad[wo]man. It’s the words written by the psychopath side of you that will surprise whoever reads your book. It’s true. That’s something that will make me buy and read a book immediately. Speculating about what might happen would just be a huge waste of time and preparing yourself is the best that you can do – I knew since Across the Universe that Beth Revis’s books are just those you have to prepare for. But in Shades of Earth, I didn’t even think to prepare myself – there was no time to. Revis – literally – blew my mind before I had time to prepare my fortifications and protect what little innocence I had left. Her fiery barrages of surprises, twists and turns, smouldered that innocence to ash.
Across the Universe introduced us to Godspeed, to its functioning and purpose, to Amy and Elder, and to a mysterious and thrilling new story in space. A Million Suns raised the stakes aboard Godspeed higher, tearing the civilians in two, while more revelations about Godspeed came to light. Shades of Earth raises the stakes even higher, as high as they can possibly go, as high as the tallest building in the world. Yeah, that’s high. In Shades of Earth we see the shuttle with Amy and Elder, the thousand-and-something other Godspeedians, and the eighty-or-so cryogenically frozen people land on Centauri-Earth despite a few malfunctions. Once they land a number of events occur… And that’s where I’ll stop… Shades of Earth is no happily ever after.
What I would’ve liked to have seen is much more of Centauri Earth and the creatures that inhabit it. There certainly was quite a few twists in what little we did see of it, but just more of it would’ve been nice. Despite that, the world building is pretty incredible. Amy and Elder, the shipborns and the Earthborns, had no idea what they were getting into, had no idea what Centauri Earth is like. So Shades of Earth was quite an absorbing book as we discovered this new planet – or like I said, this corner of it – at the same time the characters did. Revis instills fear in the reader just as she instills fear in her characters, experiencing things together at the same time.
So much has happened to these characters we’ve grown to love or despise since Across the Universe to the end of Shades of Earth. I feel like there’s much more that can happen in this universe, on this planet, with how the trilogy concluded. Beth Revis could write another trilogy or other books, further expanding, further developing, further exploring the entirety of Centauri-Earth. I have already in my dreams thought about story lines that could be written post-Shades of Earth, story lines that a season 4, a season 5, a season 6 could possibly use if these books were ever adapted for the TV. I’d even alter the very ending of Shades of Earth so that the story would further develop and continually roll out the surprises that Beth Revis is known for. If I’m given the opportunity to adapt these books to the TV I would do it with dignity, with respect, with a love for the source material. But I digress.
The plot in Shades of Earth continually evolved, continually kept you questioning, on your feet, running, hiding, gasping for air, in astonishment, in terror, in shock. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! this book went, the explosions galore helping me since I did not have to shave before work the next day. The trilogy arc is something I’ve been quite impressed with – one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Whoever at Razorbill/Penguin told Beth Revis that the story could develop after Across the Universe, whoever pushed Beth Revis to write another two books, whoever believed in Beth Revis and her divine storytelling and the potential in life after Across the Universe should be awarded a medal of some kind. Seriously. Revis had a plan since the start and it ended in ways I did not expect. Shades of Earth was an explosive conclusion, raining down revelations and debris all around.
I must add something that I took notice of and must spotlight. There was this new character Adam. He was made to be a new love interest for Amy, someone to cause tension and conflict between Amy and Elder. But to be honest, whoever calls that a love triangle is seriously mistaken. Yes, she was attracted to his looks. Yes, she flirted. Yes, they spent some time together. But there was a moment where Adam leaned in towards Amy to give her a kiss. But Amy refused it, turning her head away. I had always loved Amy since the beginning, but this moment proved that she was mature, not constantly seeking attention, not wanting to make out and be with every guy she finds attractive under the sun. Because she is with Elder. And Elder is with her. This shows that she’s head-strong. This shows that she’s loyal – to Elder, as well as to others. It was a trait of hers that I found to be the most memorable. I guess I have to talk about Elder now too? Well, Elder was great. He was loyal, driven, brave, and determined to protect Amy and everyone, even those he had rivalled with in the past, putting himself in harm’s way for the betterment of everybody else. He was a hero; she was a heroine. Together they were gold.
‘I learned that life is so, so fragile. I learned that you can know someone for just days and never forget the impression he left on you. I learned that art can be beautiful and sad at the same time. I learned that if someone loves you, he’ll wait for you to love him back. I learned that how much you want something doesn’t determine whether you get it or not, that “no” might not be enough, that life isn’t fair, that my parents can’t save me, that maybe no one can.’
The conclusion to this trilogy is one not be missed. Although it might leave you with post traumatic stress disorder for the rest of your life, Shades of Earth is worth it. Whatever other book Beth Revis comes out with will be worth it. Being Beth Revis right at this moment would be a pretty good feeling. If I ever meet Beth… When I meet Beth… oh, man, I cannot fathom not meeting Beth and not being able to stroke the head that holds that brain built from epicness, the brain that produced such an awesome trilogy that is the Across the Universe trilogy.
Hi, Beth! … … … … *flails*
What others have said about this book:
Author Amie Kaufman:
I just… I loved this book. The author was brave. She went places. Get it, read it. Gosh, just read it.
Other books in this series:
1. Across the Universe (January, 2011)
2. A Million Suns (January, 2012)
3. Shades of Earth (January, 2013)