Like Revis’s first two books, Shades of Earth hinges largely on the fact that those in positions of power are corrupt and that they lie. This is even more the case here, where the earthborn scientists and soldiers are no longer in cryo-sleep and are, generally, fulfilling popular anti-intellectual tropes in YA fiction. Our two narrators, Amy and Elder, stand in as the voices of reason, with the shipborn at their backs. That children and common laborers are portrayed as the sole source of right-mindedness in this book should not go unnoticed.
Plotwise, there’s not too much I can say. Shades of Earth is mostly about exploring the new world, and then getting ready to kill malevolent aliens who are already there. Now-deceased Orion has a few tricks up his sleeve, of course, and in the end everything comes together with a happy ending for all—except the evil scientists, of course.
Most of my dissatisfaction with the book has to do with the final fifty pages—not the final scene so much, as I think cheesy endings are a necessary evil. However, by the end of the book, I had no idea who Amy was as a person. I’ve always respected her as a protagonist, but in the end she was blinded by her own hurt (very realistic, I agree), and ended up refusing to see the other side of things, acting childish, and definitely regressing as far as maturity level goes. I was forced to wonder what I’d ever seen in her.
However, Shades of Earth is still a great book. Beth Revis can definitely write, she has the ability to engage readers and keep them on their toes. I may not agree with the choices she made here, but this book is still successful and I’m happy with how things turned out. It was definitely nice to get all the answers I wanted, and everything came together smoothly.