Book Review: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
(If you haven’t read Across the Universe & A Million Suns, look away!)
After Beth Revis dropped an a-bomb of a revelation at the end of A Million Suns, the future of Elder, Amy and the Godspeed passengers changed dramatically. When we left them, the ship had divided into two groups—those who left with Elder and Amy to explore Centauri-Earth, and those who stayed behind on the Godspeed under Bartie’s rule. After all the secrets and lies and half-truths Amy and Elder have endured since she was unfrozen, it is a thrill to finally have this planet in our sights—but then, boom! it’s the end—time to wait for Shades of Earth. The last time I finished a book and wanted to scream maniacally that I must have the next book NOW or I will explode, I had just read an ARC of Catching Fire and knew I had to wait for a year and a half for Mockingjay. Now Shades of Earth is finally here, and of course I’ve blown through it much too quickly (the writing is kind of addictive). This is a bittersweet review to write, because I am SO going to miss this series, but I am also beyond thrilled at the way it ended—it was the perfect close to a a truly epic space opera.
I don’t want to spoil too much about the plot because every little detail was so expertly divulged within the story, so I’ll try to keep my review in the broadest strokes possible. I love how in Across the Universe and A Million Suns, Revis used the difficult setting of a contained ship with thousands of passengers to tackle thought-provoking dystopian themes. In Shades of Earth we get new, thrilling power struggles between Elder’s people and the large number of new faces we meet on Centauri-Earth. Some of these new characters are now beloved to me, and others were unexpectedly vile.
When we first set out on this cryo-ship adventure in Across the Universe, it seemed so well planned out, so organized, and so utopian. But this kind of self-contained generation ship doesn’t get built and hurtled through space for centuries without some serious motivating reward on the other end of it. And the mission laid out by the originating FRX organization may not take the welfare of everyone from the Godspeed into account. Once again these people struggle to maintain that delicate balance between freedom and order/survival.
Centauri-Earth, built up in my mind over the last two books, does not disappoint. Revis knows how to make a planet seem like a wondrous yet menacing place, full of Lost-style danger and intrigue, and rich in scientific detail.
Another strong point is the romance. The moments between Elder and Amy in this installment are by far the most toe-curlingly sexy of the series. I’ve always found their romance sweet and heartfelt and deep, but Revis really brought the swoon in this book. Tipping my hat.
One amazing feature that I’ve maybe come to take for granted when I read her books is the mystery. Each of these novels contains a delicately plotted whodunit—if this story weren’t set in space, it would easily be a popular genre mystery/thriller. I am continually surprised at where the mysteries take us plot-wise, and who turns out to be responsible for the mayhem aboard the ship and on the ground.
Revis managed to surprise me with where she takes Amy and Elder in Shades of Earth (and I have been theorizing quite a bit about what might happen on Centauri-Earth over the past year). The ending was an unexpected yet perfect way to wrap all the loose ends up. I can’t wait to read what she’ll write next!
Pre-order Shades of Earth:
- Indie Bound
- Barnes & Noble
- The Book Depository
- Would you like a signed copy? Contact Malaprops.