If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen that the author, Beth Revis, accepted my proposal after I finished Shades of Earth. So, uh, the tl;dr is that I like the book. YA is full of trilogies and not all of them remain quality throughout. Second books are often rough and third books can disappoint. Beth Revis fulfilled the promise of the amazing first book and kept the bar high right until the end.
Quick summary: Amy gets cryofrozen along side her parents on a 300-year journey to an Earth-like planet. She wakes up three months early, and discovers that the ship is nothing like her expectations and, oh yeah, they’ve been orbiting the planet for something like 200 years because of the captain’s fear that his people would be turned into slaves or soldiers. In Shades of Earth, 2/3rds of the shipborn and all of the Earthborn that were cryofrozen land and find that the planet is way more dangerous than they expected. It’s chockfull of just as much intrigue and as many shocking secrets as the first two books.
The most frustrating part of Shades of Earth was that I kept wanting to punch everyone in the face. The Earthborn, mainly military, wanted full control and treated the shipborn as less than human. The shipborn let their fear of the unknown control their actions and lead them into panic, and they fear and distrust the Earthborn for being different. (Note that after five hundred years on a ship and being genetically altered to be monoethnic, the shipborn and Earthborn look and talk entirely differently.) It’s generally my instinct to side with civilians over the military, but both sides have prejudice and act in ways that make me headdesk.
After her parents are thawed out, Amy acts really annoyingly selfishly. All she cares about is being back with her parents, and for a little while she abandons her boyfriend, Elder. She even starts flirting with one of the soldiers right in front of him and doesn’t seem to acknowledge that hey, that could hurt. Elder is in charge of the 1000+ shipborn who are all freaked out and confused, he abandoned the ship he grew up on for Amy, and he needs her help, but all she can think about is being back on a planet and having her parents.
For awhile, Amy’s attitude infuriated me. It still kind of does, but I got to a point of understanding it. Yeah, Amy’s being selfish, but she’s been on a huge roller coaster ride of emotion since being unfrozen. First she thought that she wouldn’t see her parents until she was old, then she thought she’d die before they were unfrozen and she’d never leave the ship, and now she’s finally on land and with her parents. She loves Elder but she’s only known him for a few months. The Earthborn are familiar to her, and the shipborn are still a little scared of her. It makes sense that her priorities would shift and take time to even out.
Shades of Earth is definitely an emotional ride, and if you’re anything like me you’ll want to punch a lot of the characters in the face. You’ll also cry and get excited romance shivers and, if you’ve read the rest of the trilogy, I think you’ll be satisfied with this ending. I definitely was.
Favorite quote: “It will be better to die quickly with only the taste of freedom on our lips than to live long lives pretending not to see the walls that imprison us.”