Tag Archives: Beth Revis

Review – Shades of Earth (Across the Universe trilogy)

6 Jun

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis.  Razorbill, 2013

Book cover courtesy of www.bethrevis.com

Book cover courtesy of www.bethrevis.com

Shades of Earth:

The plot

Part of Godspeed has finally landed on Centauri Earth, the new planet where the threat of the “monsters” revealed in book two (A Million Suns) becomes a frightening reality for Elder and Amy.

Despite being unnerved by the mysterious sounds of the unknown creatures outside of the ship, Elder resolves to bravely help his people to re-settle on Centauri Earth and begin a new colony.  Tensions arise when the “frozens” thaw out, and the Earth-born humans, including Amy’s parents, wake up from their frozen sleep and begin to initiate the military operation they were trained for, with no regard for Elder’s rule of the colony.  Distrust quickly builds between the Earth-born and the ship-born humans, but the biggest enemy for all of them lies beyind the walls of Godspeed.

Book Snitch’s thoughts

This book focuses on the moment that readers had been waiting for throughout the last two books in the trilogy; Amy’s arrival on the planet she had travelled across the universe to get to.  Revis doesn’t disappoint, and continues to build the sense of claustrophbia which we experienced when Elder and Amy were trapped on Godspeed in space.  Now though, the tension mounts from their being trapped on an unknown planet where there are more secrets and more threats to their survival.

Revis doesn’t miss a beat with keeping up the tension in Shades of Earth.  First, Elder and Amy have to land the shuttle in a white-knuckle ride where everything that could go wrong, does. Then they hear unfamiliar noises beyond the walls of the shuttle which signals the arrival of the “monsters” which were spotted on Centauri Earth.

The alternating narrative perspective between chapters gives readers a chance to see the conflicting problems which Elder and Amy experience.  Elder struggles with a sense of guilt about leaving behind half of his people on the orbiting part of Godspeed, and the introduction of Amy’s father as the leader of the frozen military personnel from Sol Earth makes things even more difficult for Elder.  Amy is caught between the Earth-born and the ship-born people, trying to unite them in their common purpose: to survive on their new hostile planet.

The final installement of the Across the Universe trilogy is a thrilling read, and Revis cleverly switches the setting and introduces new characters to keep the plot interesting and fresh.  Romance fans will be pleased about the increasingly feverous kisses between Elder and Amy.  Sci-Fi fans will enjoy the descriptions of Centauri Earth and the hints of the non-human life forms which remain largely hidden for the first half of the novel.  Mystery fans will relish the inexblicable clues which continue to point to that fact that Godspeed’s mission is certainly not all it seemed to be when Amy and her family were frozen and stored on the ship.

5 stars


Who should read this?

Book Snitch recommends this final installement for fans of the Across the Universe trilogy.  It doesn’t function well as a stand-alone read, as much of the plot is tied to events from the first two books in the series.

Notes for educators

This trilogy would work well for independent reading projects or student book clubs.  There are many activities which could stem from reading this trilogy, such as:

  • Creating map of Centauri Earth, adding quotations containing descriptions from the novel
  • Create a timeline of events in the novel using Timeglider, an interactive Edtech tool that allows students to create timelines, adding images, videos and URL links.  You could ask students to imagine what they think happens on Sol Earth between now and when Amy leaves on Godspeed, to her arrival on Centauri Earth.
  • Recording verbal ‘clues’ for Amy and Elder from the perspective of Orion or another character who lived on Godspeed and discovered some of the secrets of the ship.  Try recording students’ voices using Voicethread and sharing their recordings with other readers to get feedback on their clues.  Alternatively you could ask students to record a verbal book review and share these on your school library blog for other student readers.

Review – Across the Universe

23 Apr

Across the Universe by Beth Revis.  Razorbill, 2011.

  • Book one of the trilogy
  • YA adventure; fantasy fiction; sci-fi; adventure romance
  • ISBN 1595143971 (ISBN13: 9781595143976)

The Plot:

Sixteen year old Amy has been voluntarily frozen and placed as cargo on the spaceship, Godspeed, which is travelling to a planet where humans will create a new world.  Amy is suddenly woken from her frozen sleep, and she discovers that Godspeed still has fifty years before it reaches it’s final destination.  Trapped on the ship, with her parents still frozen, Amy must work out why she was woken up and discover the secrets that Godspeed and it’s inhabitants are hiding.

Book Snitch says:

This novel was compelling right from the first chapter where Amy describes the emotional turmoil she felt watching her parents being frozen and stored as cargo on Godspeed.  Revis writes using alternating first person male and female narratives which keeps the reader’s interest throughout, and builds up suspense as we follow these two characters and see their different perspectives.

The second protagonist is sixteen year old Elder, who was born on the ship and is second in line to rule the inhabitants of Godspeed.  Elder is transfixed by Amy from the moment he sees her. Eldest has his own problems, like dealing with the current ruler, Eldest.  Together, Amy and Elder try to navigate their way through the mysteries of Godspeed and being the only two teenagers on a ship that still has years before it reaches it’s destination.  The dynamics between the characters definitely work to raise the tension in the plot, and you’ll find yourself rooting for them.

The plot is cleverly crafted to make you imagine the futuristic world of Godspeed.  Thanks to Amy’s contrasting memories of Sol-Earth and life as we know it, you will also feel the claustrophobia of being stuck on a ship in the future with years stretching out before you and nowhere to hide.  The end of this book will not disappoint, and you will be hankering to read A Million Suns (the second book in the trilogy) as soon as you can get your hands on it!

Who should read this?

Classified as YA lit, Book Snitch recommends this to readers aged eleven upwards.  Fans of dystopian lit, fantasy or sci-fi should also check this out.

5 stars