Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shades of a New Beginning

Shades of Earth: An Across the Universe Novel
When your options are dying in a spaceship that is slowly shutting down or descending to an unknown planet possibly full of monsters, you realize your choice will be life or death either way. Amy and Elder chose the latter, and the new planet might be scary, but in Beth Revis's Shades of Earth, the real fear comes from the things you know rather than the ones you don't know.

The landing is far from smooth, but Amy knows landing means she can finally unfreeze her parents and the rest of the Earthborns. The problem is the shipborns- they don't trust the Earthborns. When they finally unfreeze the group that was meant to make the transition to the new planet safer and more efficient, Elder realizes Orion's prediction may have been correct: the Earthborns were either going to make them slaves or soldiers. But the Earthborns know how to use their weapons, and with crazy pterodactyl-like creatures trying to eat them, guns can come in handy.

But the creatures on the planet aren't the only thing to worry about. When people start going missing, and Phydus (the ship's crowd control drug) is found in the systems of the dead and the creatures, the group begins to realize something fishy is happening on the planet. They find ruins that were clearly made for humans, and Sol-Earth still hasn't contacted them. They fear that the extra 200 years they were trapped in the ship may have made them a lost cause and they are now left to survive on their own. But people keep disappearing and an explosion on the shuttle destroys all their food and weapon reserves. So whether or not Earth can hear them becomes the least of their problems. Instead, the Earthborns and the Shipborns have to come together for one purpose: survival. 

This series was one of those runaway successes that just got better and better with each book. The story was interesting on a claustrophobic ship, so with a new planet to explore, it was even better! My one criticism was that I wanted more of the new planet. I wanted more and more creatures! But I suppose I have to be satisfied with what I got, which was still pretty great! The added conflict between the Earthborns and Shipborns just made the story that much more interesting. After all, the idea of who has the upper hand in such a situation is so subjective, you will find yourself rooting for someone different with each turn of a page!

This is a fabulous story for either a science fiction fan or someone who prefers modern novels. The series is gripping enough to hold anyone's interest over the three books. In fact, while the ending was solid, I still wish the story would continue on the new planet. There are some interesting discussions to be had regarding the technology in the book as well. For instance, how fast does technology out-lap itself? Become obsolete? While we don't have 500 years to run an experiment, I am sure showing our students a cell phone from 10 years ago, or better yet, one of those car phones in a bag, will certainly drive the point home! This series is a beautiful expression of technology, human emotion, and basic human instinct all wrapped into one!

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