Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Mar 23, 2013

Beth Revis’ fantastic Across the Universe trilogy concludes with this tightly-plotted and fast-paced book.  Shades of Earth begins with the harrowing crash-landing of the Godspeed shuttle, and the following power struggle between Elder as the leader of the Shippers and Amy Martin’s father, who is in charge of the newly unfrozen military personnel.  And after they crash, things really fall apart.  The shuttle is beyond repair, they can’t establish a connection with Earth, and the planet is seemingly hostile---rife with flying pteros and fatal flowers.  Not to mention the ruins scattered around the mountains, almost like someone has lived on the planet before…

I raved about the second book in the trilogy, A Million Suns, last year, and I’m going to rave about this book too.  Revis nails setting once again; the deadly environment of the planet felt real and threatening, and she doesn’t hesitate to unleash it on her characters, major and minor alike.  (Mild spoiler: This book has an enormous body count.)  Amy and Elder act like two people in love, but more importantly, they act like two young people in love, with all the jealousies and miscommunications that come along with it.  And while Amy’s character arc hits all the right notes, it’s Elder’s growth from an apprentice to a heroic leader that truly resonated with me.

Shades of Earth asks a lot of hard questions and it wasn’t afraid to drag its characters through pain and suffering to get to the answers.  I recommend this book (and the whole series) for fans of spaceships, aliens, conspiracies, heroes, love stories, behavior-controlling drugs, cryogenics, flowers, solar energy and genetically modified cows.  It’s a good read for both genders and also a good gateway book to the science fiction genre.

Reviewed by Library Staff