Shades of the Earth by Beth Revis

10345937Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
Publisher
Razorbill
Length
369 pages
Genera:
 Science Fiction
Subjects
Space, spaceships, aliens, other planets, romance
How I obtained the book
Library, hardcover

Rating: 

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.
ALMOST HOME.

Actual Rating: 3.5 rounded up to four.

Wow. I am really speechless. I didn’t like the first two books so I was hesitant to pick this one up (read: I waited till it was overdue to read it). But, holy shit, when I did? I am now a strong believer in insta-book-love.

All my earlier problems are still here (Elder, idiocy, Elder, more idiocy) but it got better! One of the reasons that this book is 100% awesome than the previous two books is probably because well, they finally landed on Centauri-Earth.

This may not excite everyone but personally, I couldn’t tear myself away from SHADES OF EARTH. It was just too fascinating. I mean, they’re on another planet!

Other than my character-centered problems, I have one huge problem that isn’t that easily overlooked. Idiocy and inconsistencies. I’ll be going through my notes here (yeah, got all fancy with notes and stuff).

If you remember, in SHADES OF EARTH, the people of Godspeed finally decided to land on Centauri-Earth which means melting the frozen people to get them out of cryosleep.

When they do, predictably, they are quite confused over why these people of the Godspeed have leaders and aren’t the Sol-Earthians slaves. It’s all quite amusing, the little power struggles but when they semi-figure things out, everything is really crazy.

After some terrible happenstances, Amy becomes “acting commander of the Godspeed mission“.

Amy.

AMY THE SIXTEEN YEAR OLD IS IN CHARGE.

Why? I’m pretty sure in military doesn’t work like that. The whole bleeping concept of “military” is chain of command. A sixteen year old, no matter the reason, would become acting commander unless the strict militariness of the military has devolved into a primitive war group.

My next problem with idiocy is these supposed “intelligent scientists types”. So, this one scientists is excitedly telling Amy:

“It should be impossible. I talked to Frank, the geologist. He says there are minerals in the soil he’s never seen before. We’re talking about whole new elements to the periodic table!”
– page 190.

Um, no. Sorry but if you’re on another planet, why would you add the elements of this planet to the periodic table of Earth, another planet. What? No, that’s not how it works. I would think that you would make a new periodic table, not add onto a Earth periodic table, full with elements that may not even be on this planet.

But, hey, what do I know? I’m not a scientist.

Inconsistency one: Amy seems to love Centauri-Earth in one chapter and detest it in another. I don’t think your emotions can zip around like that every few minutes/hours. Weeks? I suppose but minutes? Nope, sorry.

The rest of my notes are centered on character problems.

Characters
Let’s start with Elder and why I want him to go jump off a space ship. If you’ve read the previous two books, which I’m going to assume you have for the rest of the review, you’ll know that Elder unhooked Amy from the cryochamber or whatever they’re called in this. The unhooking almost killed her and after she recovers, he pretends he doesn’t know how she woke up early. His reasons for unhooking her? He was horny.

No, I’m not kidding. The reason Elder unhooked Amy from her cryochamber was because he was horny and wanted to make out with her but was thankfully nice enough not to rape her while she was sleeping. In this case, I’m using “nice” lightly.

He’d also possessive, jealous, and assuming. Amy goes out with a guy and immediately Elder thinks that Amy is cheating on him and that they’re going out to make out. He then sneaks up on them right when this guy forces himself onto Amy and Elder’s like “OMG she’s kissing him and cheating on meh!”

He only accepted the fact that she wouldn’t cheat on him after she pushes him off of her.

W-WHAT

Elder somehow couldn’t see the fact that Amy was completely devoted to him. Why? I’m sorry but that doesn’t work for me. Elder, dude, she loves you so much that she followed you to a strange alien world. She’s not going anywhere.

Amy is fairly mediocre as a character. Though she’s not extremely stupid, she’s not exactly bright. She’s not witty or loveable. She’s just sort of there, for better or worse.

In terms of intelligence, everything is weird. She’s not the stupidest heroine I’ve ever read about but then again, she’s pretty irresponsible and seems to have something against thinking situations out.

Though this example is stupid on both Elder’s and Amy’s part, it’s a fine example of how much Amy thinks. Elder brings her a bunch of flowers, native to this new and exotic planet. What does Amy do? She sticks her nose in it and passes out because of some neurotoxins.

I suppose this is a case of plot needed stupidity but I’m sure Revis could have found another way to introduce the plants, as they are important to the storyline. Instead of thinking about how to introduce them, she just slaps them in, making her intelligent character unbelievably dumb.

Another prominent character who I find that I need to go over specifically is Chris, the seemingly mild mannered friend of Amy. For the first ¾, it seems like his only purpose in life is to make Elder and Amy’s relationship strain. That’s seriously how he’s treated.

He obviously lusts over Amy and is very close to her. Somehow, she doesn’t see his blatant flirting. Elder immediately sees his flirting and turns into Even-More-Possessive-and-Jealous-Elder.

I absolutely detest characters whose only reason for being in the story (well, that’s not exactly true for Chris but it’s very near that) is to cause trouble in the main character’s romance. It’s a cheap way out.

The many of the other characters were sadly what I predicted them to be. In ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, you can immediately tell that, by Amy’s extreme love, her father would be a complete asshole – which he was. By her lack of thought towards her mother, it was obvious she would be a minor character without any real definition – which she was.

Not many of the side characters were especially memorable but I don’t think they were bad. It’s just that the book was mostly focused on Elder, Amy, Amy’s Dad, and Chris.

Plot and Writing
Plot
As I said, I love the concept. Other planets in one topic we are severely lacking in YA lit. Novels set on other planets are more common but the whole “humans traveling to another planet” idea is much more rare. Lately, a lot of aliens on Earth YA books have been popping up but I honestly prefer the we-are-the-aliens books.

I have laugh at SHADES OF EARTH for being entirely hilarious with the presentation of the aliens. Apparently, they’re the bad guys, not the people who are taking over their goddamn planet. It’s so stereotypical really. Practically every alien book and movie in existence follows this humans-are-always-the-good-ones storyline.

The story isn’t bad, if extremely predictable. After they started finding the “things” I could tell the plot. I mean, ohmygod, was it predictable? Everything came true.

However, even though it doesn’t sound like it at all, I loved the story. I didn’t really care that I knew what was going to happen. I really ate SHADES OF EARTH up. I wish that the previous books were this amazing, but I guess you can’t have it all.

Writing
While it’s not elegant, or anything near elegant, Beth Revis’s writing is most certainly exciting and addicting. I decided to read the first chapter before returning it but in what seemed like a few minutes, I had read a quarter of the book and didn’t want to stop.

Likes and Dislikes
Liked:
– The Setting
– The Writing
– The Plot

Disliked:
– All the problems with stupid phrases and plot points
– The Plot
– Elder
– Lame characters

In conclusion
Though Revis needs to work out the inconsistencies with the plot and characters (not to mention, do her homework on how periodic tables work), I just adore this book. I don’t think it’s perfect, but it’s pretty awesome still. I recommend SHADES OF EARTH, and the whole Across the Universe series, as a good no-brainer read.

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