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A Reader of Fictions: Joint Review Discussion: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Joint Review Discussion: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

As part of the always epic Dystopian February, Lenore Appelhans and I will be doing a couple of joint review discussions. We'll really dive into some of the main subjects. We endeavor to keep it at as non-spoilery as possible, but you might learn a few things. Lenore gave Shades of Earth the merit badge for Twists, and I rated it 4 stars.


Description from Goodreads:
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.

Lenore and I are discussing 4 topics: Plot, Elder, The other characters, and The ending. The first two are over at Presenting Lenore, so pop over there to check those out, if you haven't been there already. Just keep reading to hear our thoughts on all the characters aside from Elder and the ending of the trilogy.

The Other Characters

Christina:
Beth Revis introduces several new characters in SHADES OF EARTH, which can be daunting for readers, but I think she keeps them all quite distinct and clear. Amy’s parents and Chris are the most significant additions. After two books with the same fairly small set of characters, I think the introduction of these new ones made some delightful changes to relationship and power dynamics. Thinking about it now, though, I really don’t think I have a favorite character in this series. I’m entertained by them, but I don’t think I ever loved or bonded with a single one, which kept these books from being among my all-time favorites. Actually, I think I like Chris best of everyone. And the first Elder was the worst one for me.

Of course, I think we all know that Revis’ favorite things to do with characters are to kill them in nasty ways. Well, she does not disappoint in this installment. The deaths come at a nice, constant pace. One in particular is even seriously gruesome. Most readers will probably find that pretty satisfying, though, because the character definitely had it coming!

Lenore:
I’ve always really connected with Amy, but I know what you mean about the lack of bonding. I was never in danger of crying over anyone’s fate despite all the death. I mean, most of the shipborns were awful to both Amy and Elder, and with the exception of Kit and Bertie, I wouldn’t be able to identify them in a line-up (which is fine - there are a lot them and I have a bad memory for redshirts). We also never get much of a chance to know Amy’s parents or their fellow frozens on a personal level. They are mainly defined as a group by their antagonism toward the shipborns.

But Chris --- wowzers! He has such a fascinating backstory. I would welcome a Chris-centric story in this world in a heartbeat. Bring it on!

I thought there were two particularly gruesome deaths. The one you refer to, but also the one with the baby dino. LOOK AWAY!!

Christina:
Funny. I know a lot of readers were highly annoyed by Amy and liked Elder. You’re a weirdo, Lenore! Oh yeah, there was no one I wanted to cry for at all. In the scene full o’ deaths, I laughed maliciously. I like to imagine Beth Revis doing the same thing while typing furiously. The characters lack enough depth that I’m not emotionally tied to their life or death.

Maybe she’ll write a short story from Chris’ perspective! That would be fantastic.

Oh yeah, that one. The dinos were vicious.

Lenore:
I am a weirdo, I admit it! But Amy’s situation - being alone in the midst of foreign people - was kind of my life for awhile. You know I was a professional exchange student. I could relate to her in a way many readers probably couldn’t.

And even though she’s the sweetest person IRL, I can totally see Revis doing a little witch laugh of glee while she kills characters off.

The Ending

Christina:
 I will try to be non-spoilery as I can with this, but, if you’re concerned, best practice is probably not to read a discussion on a book’s ending. Use your own discretion.

From a plot perspective, I found the ending pretty satisfying. Revis does a nice job of wrapping up the plot threads. Throughout SOE, she reveals the underpinnings for everything that’s been happening throughout the series as a whole, and I thought she did a great job with that. This book, more than the others, really sells this series to me as dystopian, since we finally get a look at more than just life on the ship. Things do seem to wrap up a bit TOO neatly, and I would like to know more about what happens after, but, other than that, it’s solid.

From a character perspective, I am not thrilled with the ending. There’s one big spoilery reason for that, which I won’t reveal, but I think all of you who have read the book will know what I mean. For a moment there, I thought Revis had done something really daring and ended the series on a truly epic bang. But then she didn’t. I found that so incredibly disappointing, especially since I don’t think the explanation for the reversion to a stereotypical ending made any sense at all. It’s a damn shame in my opinion.

Lenore:
I personally would’ve LOVED it if the last chapter hadn’t happened, but I can understand why it’s there. It does wrap up the series arc nicely, and though it’s not the BADASS choice, it’s one that most people will like (or at least expect).

I was very satisfied with the way all the plotlines wrapped up, but I can totally picture a book 4: 10 YEARS LATER … dun dun dun.... that’ll be one epic battle.

Christina:
Oooh, I would read that book four. You cannot make me like that last chapter, though. You can’t. I want the badass ending! *pouts* BUT I still want that fourth book about what comes next.

Lenore:
Time for us to write some fanfiction, my friend!

Remember, there's more discussion at Presenting Lenore!

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Shades of Earth is out now, so you can go enjoy it now!

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14 Comments:

Blogger Lenore Appelhans said...

#teamchris!! (sorry, couldn't resist)

February 14, 2013 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

bahahaha! You should never regret being #teamchris!

February 14, 2013 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books said...

Ok I know I said I didn't care either way, but I see your point and I have to agree that the ending would have been much more awesome had she done the daring thing rather than the traditional thing that everyone does. The majority of the population would not have been happy with that ending though.

February 14, 2013 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Had to skip the bit about the ending - I'm only halfway through right now. But, I can say I totally agree about a certain detachment to these characters - I find them, and their stories, fascinating and I devour their stories BUT if one of them is killed off, it's not the end of the world.

Loved the image of Beth cackling over her keyboard as she kills characters left and right!

Surprised by the Chris love - right now, he's very suspicious!

February 15, 2013 at 7:05 AM  
Blogger Lenore Appelhans said...

Come back when you finish and let's discuss further ;)

February 15, 2013 at 7:13 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Very true. There would have been a lot of the loyal fan base that would not have approved. Still, the ending could have been so epic. Sigh.

February 15, 2013 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Chris is rather suspicious, but STILL. Elder's kind of boring, and I don't think Amy likes him that much. Either Chris or she needs to keep hunting!

February 15, 2013 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Knighton said...

I didn't like Chris at all, especially after he didn't try to stop Amy from going . . . (spoilers prevent me from saying). Although the ending was stereotypical, I liked it. I thought the world she created was pretty frightening on many levels.

February 16, 2013 at 6:13 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I do agree about the world, but the ending will never not annoy me. Glad it worked for you though.

February 18, 2013 at 9:55 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

Thanks for the review! I read Across the Universe and I didn't think it was that good so I never read the second book. But Shades of Earth sounds interesting, so I might give this series another try!

March 8, 2013 at 12:03 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I do think the next two are better than AtU. Whether you'll like them really depends on what didn't work for you in the first book.

March 8, 2013 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Vivien said...

I absolutely love this book! It was exactly what I had expected it to be. Really one of my favorite trilogies right now. It did not disappoint.

March 10, 2013 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

That's awesome! So glad it worked so well for you.

March 12, 2013 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger Marlene Detierro said...

This book was everything I hoped it'd be and more! I really wish there was going to be another book because I feel like the story has only begun! No matter, this was a great book and I loved every minute reading it!!

Marlene Detierro (Indianapolis SEO)

August 3, 2013 at 11:01 PM  

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