Finally delivering on the character development I had been wanting from Across the Universe, with Shades of Earth I finally fell in love with Amy and Elder. Revis has never shied away from making things difficult for her characters – Amy’s almost rape in Across the Universe, Elder’s thrust into leadership with a population on the verge of mutiny in A Million Suns – but in Shades of Earth, we finally get to see how these experiences have shaped these characters into the young adults they are now. Watching Amy and Elder face each new obstacle head-on and with determination, thinking of what was best for the colony versus what was just best for them, really and truly showed how different they were now versus when we first met them in Across the Universe. And while I enjoyed watching both Amy and Elder grow more comfortable with their relationship, taking it to a level one of them never expected and one of them could only hope for, I admired how easily Revis was able to keep it firmly in the background so as not to overshadow the main issues of survival on this new and dangerous planet, while solving the remaining mysteries Godspeed and Orion had to offer.
But as much as I found myself enjoying these refreshingly developed versions of Amy and Elder, they paled in comparison to my excitement for and enjoyment of Shades of Earths’ plot. Finding themselves on Centauri-Earth brought about even more secrets, dangerous dinosaur-esque monsters and dark shadows in the trees that hinted at something even more sinister laying in wait. As the puzzles of Centauri-Earth piled up and the body count grew higher, Amy and Elder found themselves questioning everything and everyone around them. Why did Godspeeds‘ leaders keep them from landing on this new planet? What did he know about the monsters, and is it possible that he know how to stop them? Why are they finding traces of Phydus on Centauri-Earth, if it was developed on Godspeed? What secrets is Godspeed still hiding? What happened during the centuries that Godspeed just hovered in space? And why does Amy and Elder feel like the monsters they’ve seen aren’t the monsters Orion has warned them against?
SO MANY QUESTIONS! But fear not, because Revis is a master at weaving, and weave she does. Tying up loose threads from Across the Universe and A Million Suns, Revis drops hints that nothing on Centauri-Earth is as it seems – or as we were made to believe – until piece by piece, the truth is uncovered. With Shades of Earth, Revis has ended her trilogy with finesse and style, luring us into a place of relative safety before destroying that illusion, gruesomely killing off several key characters and turning everything we thought we knew about Godspeed, its mission, and Centauri-Earth on its head!