Happy February! We're already into the second month of the new year--can you believe it? I feel like time is passing by so quickly, despite the fact that January was pretty hectic and stressful and exciting all at once for me. With the end of the first month of 2013 brings the end of an amazing YA sci-fi trilogy: "Across the Universe" by Beth Revis! "Shades of Earth" came out earlier in January, and takes readers on one final journey where humanity is at stake.
Amy and Elder have finally left the confining walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They--along with a thousand others--are ready to start afresh, build a home on Centauri-Earth, a planet that they have travelled 25 trillion miles across the universe to reach. But when both the newly arrived shipborns and earthborns are brutally and mysteriously being murdered, Amy and Elder know that this isn't the planet they've dreamed about. Together, they must find whatever--or whoever--is bent on killing their struggling colony. Or everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will all have been for nothing.
What I really liked about the "Across the Universe" trilogy is that Ms. Revis immersed her readers in the perspectives of both of her two protagonists: Amy and Elder. By being in both of their minds, I really felt like I was not only getting to know the two most important people in the book a lot better, but it was also interesting and exciting to see all of these different events happening concurrently from two different people. Despite the use of first-person narration in both perspectives, Amy and Elder each had their own unique voices and characters. Amy is a strong, determined heroine who was enjoyable to follow throughout the novel, and I felt that her emotions of love, sorrow and confusion were all palpable without being overwrought and overwhelming. One thing that almost annoyed me, though, was her momentary confusion about her feelings toward Chris. I mean, seriously? You love Elder!
Speaking of which, I really enjoyed seeing the struggle Elder encountered trying to be the leader he wants to be (wait, that sounds a little sadistic), and his desire to protect the girl he loves. I admit that when I learned in the very first book that Elder was younger than Amy, I was a little put off because I imagined him as an immature, whiny little boy with an infatuation for a strange girl with red hair. However, as the story progressed throughout the trilogy, I found that Elder's really developed into a strong, mature leader who is willing to do anything for his people and for Amy. He's a really turned out to be an admirable character, and I think Ms. Revis has done an excellent job with all of her character development.
As for the plot, "Shades of Earth" delivered and delivered good. There wasn't a moment when it got too boring that I had to force myself through the pages. In fact, the storyline was fast-paced and exciting, especially towards the middle when things on Centauri-Earth began to go awry. The inclusion of an element of mystery and horror really helped with the tension, not to mention those gory and grisly descriptions of the victims! There were quite a bit of plot twists that made things incredibly exciting, and the way Ms. Revis orchestrated them was skillful and very well done. The ending itself was a little bittersweet, considering what had happened to Amy and Elder throughout the entire book, but, as it should, it ended with hope and love, and that's more than anyone can ask for.
All in all, "Shades of Earth" is an incredible final installment to the "Across the Universe" trilogy, with strong and engaging characters and an exciting, compelling storyline. If you haven't read the first two books, I highly recommend it, especially for all the sci-fi lovers out there! This is a trilogy not to be missed.