Warning! Read Across the Universe and A Million Suns by Beth Revis before proceeding. I just finished reading the last book in this trilogy, and I will spoil things for you if you’re not caught up!
As you’ve gathered by the oh-so-subtle warning above, I’ve finally finished Shades of Earth, the final book in Beth Revis’ Across the Universe trilogy. While I’m sad that this journey is over, this finale, like the two books that preceded it, was nothing short of stellar. It was action-packed, it introduced some intriguing new (and not-so-new) characters, it addressed some societal issues we’re currently facing today (without being too preachy), there was lots of death and stuff blowing up, and, of course, the complicated relationship between Amy and Elder was further explored. I guess the big question is this: Am I satisfied with how things ended? The short answer to this question is yes. There was definitely a sense of closure when I read the final words, but what happened at the end opened up a whole new set of questions for me. I won’t go so far as to tell you what happens at the end, but I think a lot of readers will be hoping for even more from the characters we’ve come to care for in this series.
Amy and Elder are no longer within the walls of Godspeed. They–along with the frozens and shipborns willing to accompany them–are about to make a home on Centauri-Earth. But no one is really prepared for what awaits them on this strange and often frightening new planet. Large, reptilian birds roam the skies seeking prey to devour. Beautiful flowers emit toxins that render humans comatose. Oddly sophisticated ruins provide shelter for Centauri-Earth’s newest residents, but who created these dwellings (that seem to be ideal for human settlements)? There’s something–or someone–else in this strange new world. Something that is determined to destroy the new inhabitants. What could be out there, and what do they have against the newly arrived humans?
As Amy and Elder search for answers, they must also reevaluate their roles in this new home. Amy has gone from being an outsider to being the daughter of the military leader of the settlement. (Her father, now reanimated, is now the highest ranking military officer among the Earthborns. Her mom is one of the lead scientists.) Amy struggles with balancing her love for her parents with the loyalty she feels toward Elder and the shipborns. A new guy, who seems to have her father’s approval, only complicates matters even more.
Elder, on the other hand, must consider the welfare of his people over all else. He’s still wary of the Earthborns, and he continues to hear Orion’s warnings in his head. Elder is trying to do everything in his power to keep his people from being made into soldiers or slaves, but Amy’s father may have other ideas. It’s clear that the Earthborns–especially those in the military–view the shipborns as dispensable and as little more than animals. It’s up to Elder to look out for his people’s best interests because it’s becoming apparent that no one else will. How can he worry about his relationship with Amy when so much else is weighing on him? (He manages, by the way.)
Dangers abound on Centauri-Earth, and secrets, lies, and treachery are making this new home even more perilous. Some of the answers to the true purpose for this settlement are right in front of Amy and Elder’s eyes, but some are frustratingly out of reach. Amy and Elder will seek clues to what is really going on here–often at risk to their own lives–but will they be prepared for what they find? Or who their true enemies are? And will the search for truth bring them together or drive them apart…forever? Is the concept of making this planet a true “home” even possible when so much has gone horribly wrong? Seek the truth when you read Shades of Earth, the thrilling conclusion to Beth Revis’ Across the Universe trilogy.
As I indicated above, Shades of Earth is just as amazing as the first two books in this series. It threw some curveballs at me, and, to be honest, I’m still reeling from a couple of the things that happened in this book–and I really hope that the author decides to explore more of Amy and Elder’s story. I had the privilege of meeting Beth Revis at Fiction Addiction on Tuesday (as part of the Breathless Reads tour), and, while she didn’t indicate whether there would be more books in this series, she did say that she’d be open to the idea of more novella-type stories that explore other characters. (There’s already one, As They Slip Away, linked here, and I plan to read it as soon as I’m done with this post.) That’s something, I guess.
One thing that the author said on Tuesday really stuck with me as I was reading Shades of Earth. She said that, when she’s faced with writer’s block, she kills somebody off or blows something up, and that usually gets her back on track. (Of course, this made everybody in the audience laugh…and with good reason. Beth Revis is freakin’ hilarious.) As I was reading this final book, though, I had to think that writer’s block must have been an issue here. There was A LOT of death and explosions. (It was kind of awesome most of the time. Other times, though, it brought on intense cases of the feels.)
There’s also some sexy-times in this book. Nothing gratuitous or graphic, but, if you’re planning to promote this book to middle-schoolers, you should probably be aware of this. (I don’t think the scene took up more than a page, but it’s pretty obvious what was going on.)
If I have any real complaint about this book, I must say that it’s the cover change. I know the author had no say in this, but why would there be a cover change after two books are already out–with beautiful covers, by the way? Some of us use books in our decorating, and when the third book in a series looks NOTHING like the previous two, the entire aesthetic is thrown off. While I don’t hate the new cover, I would have preferred something more like the covers for the previous two books. (If you’re curious, the paperback versions of the first two books also have the new cover designs, but I’m not buying copies of books I already have just so my bookshelves will look pretty.)
You know what does look pretty, though? Autographed books! Here’s a quick pic of my autographed copy of Shades of Earth! (I got the other books in the series autographed, too.)
Awesome, right?! For even more awesomeness from Beth Revis and the entire Across the Universe trilogy, visit the author’s website. Go to the “Contact” page for all of the various ways you can connect with this amazing author!