Review Blog

Oct 01 2013

Shades of earth by Beth Revis

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Across the universe, bk 3. Penguin, 2013. ISBN 9780141333700.
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Science fiction. Dystopian fiction. Romance. Amy and Elder have left the spaceship, Godspeed, behind and have landed on Centauri-Earth hoping to build a new life for themselves and the people who have journeyed with them. But life is dangerous on Centauri-Earth - there are purple flowers that numb the mind and giant pterodactyl-like birds that hover overhead. There are ruins that indicate that there was human occupation in the past and it appears as if they are not alone on the planet.
This is a very satisfying conclusion to the series. Many new elements are introduced that propel the plot forward and keep the ideas new and fresh. The action is thrilling as Amy and Elder try to find out what is happening on the planet and who they can trust. The world building is also engrossing, with its strange plants, buildings and animals that can be terrifying but at the same time fascinating. As a reader I had no trouble imagining this strange world and the effort that would go into surviving on it.
The introduction of adults into the character mix, including Amy's parents and other military personnel who have awoken from their deep freeze, add a new element and test both Amy and Elder's leadership skills and abilities. Elder's self-sacrificing and noble character shines through the trials that he has to face. He is able to compromise and think things through but always he puts the life of his people first. Amy has to decide who she trusts, her parents or her own intuition, and the love between Elder and Amy is sorely tested as a handsome young soldier becomes interested in Amy.
The shattering finale brings with it many questions, not the least is what does it mean to be human?
This is excellent science fiction that should appeal to both boys and girls and provide lots of food for thought. I look forward to reading Revis' next book and was sad to see the end of this series.
Pat Pledger

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