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Shades of Earth Brings the Across the Universe Trilogy To a Soft Landing

Shades of Earth Brings the Across the Universe Trilogy To a Soft Landing

By Swapna Krishna

It’s really difficult to review the final book in a trilogy without giving away all the answers; after all, the whole point is to make sure that the plot builds through all three books. Shades of Earth is the third book in the Across the Universe trilogy, but we’re going to take a different tactic when reviewing this one. Instead of talking about its specifics, we're going to review the trilogy as a whole. No spoilers, so you can decide whether you want to pick up all three of these books.

Across the Universe (with books Across the Universe, A Million Suns, and Shades of Earth) starts off on the spaceship Godspeed, which is hurtling through space, headed toward a new colony. One hundred humans are cryogenically frozen, programmed to awaken in 300 years, when the ship is supposed to reach its final destination, while a generational colony on board the Godspeed maintains ship functions. But Amy, a young teenage girl, is woken early, and she is forced to adapt to the strange circumstances she finds aboard the ship: a homogeneous population, a murderer who’s killing her people, and a leader named Elder who isn’t much older than she is now.

This is what you find when you pick up the first book in the trilogy. From the beginning, Revis does a great job with the mystery: you know there’s more going on than what Amy sees. It’s told from two perspectives of both Amy and Elder, and while it’s obvious that Amy and Elder are going to have a little fling (that’s clear from just the description on the back of the book), this isn’t a story just about teenage angst. Yes, Elder likes Amy, but he also knows he’s a leader, and as much as he hates it, often, he has to put his people first. It's always frustrating when a character, who is facing death and destruction, spends an inordinate amount of time worrying about whether their crush likes them or not. This has become a staple of many YA novels, and it’s so nice that Revis deviated from the norm here.

The best part of this trilogy is the freaking CRAZY twists and turns. Each book moves at a non-stop, breathless pace, and Revis isn’t afraid to take wild, insane leaps with the plot. But somehow, the craziness works because the twists are awesome, amazing, and completely unexpected.

If that’s not enough, the Across the Universe trilogy has interesting moral questions. We can’t go into them here, lest we risk spoiling one of the aforementioned awesomely insane twists, but this is not only a fun series to read, it will also make you think. And what’s more, there are no easy answers here.

Will Revis write another book in the Across the Universe series? It’s a good question. It’s open-ended, so she could possibly return one day. But for now, this is an awesome trilogy that’s definitely worth your time. It has its rough spots (Shades of Earth definitely moves more slowly than the first two), but as a whole it’s really smart and well done YA fiction.

What's your favorite sci fi book trilogy?

Tags: sci fi, reviews, books-and-comics, space, across the universe

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About the Author
Swapna Krishna

Swapna is a Washington, DC-based freelance editor who loves all things space and sci fi. You can find her book reviews at S. Krishna’s Books (http://www.skrishnasbooks.com) and on Twitter at @skrishna.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.