From the New York Times best-selling author duo Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner comes a "literally breathtaking" new sci-fi series about a death-defying mission on an alien planet. When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution humanity has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and their message leads to the planet Gaia, a treasure trove waiting to be explored. For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an ancient alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Despite their opposing reasons for smuggling themselves onto the alien planet's surface, they're both desperate to uncover the riches hidden in the Undying temples. Beset by rival scavenger gangs, Jules and Mia form a fragile alliance... but both are keeping secrets that make trust nearly impossible. As they race to decode the ancient messages, Jules and Mia must navigate the traps and trials within the Undying temples and stay one step ahead of the scavvers on their heels. They came to Gaia certain that they had far more to fear from their fellow humans than the ancient beings whose mysteries they're trying to unravel. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more Jules and Mia start to feel like their presence in the temple is part of a grand design--one that could spell the end of the human race...
What worked: I really loved the idea of going through an alien temple and trying to find a secret that might help Earth. This is where the book reminded me so much of a popular video game Myst. Each room has secrets. Some deadly. I liked the premise of a tough scavenger who was parts Lara Crofts with her own goals of trying to find something on the planet's surface that might save her sister. The mystery and the whole ancient alien's messages that might not be all they seem is something right out of a Sci-Fi movie.
I did have issues though with the romance. It felt too rushed. I get that Amelia is street smart and will use anything she can in order to save her own skin and her sister. Jules at first comes off as that arrogant sheltered professor's son. They do have to work together to survive, especially when the people Amelia thinks she's working with turn on them. But the romance? I just felt it comes too soon and fast. But that's just my opinion.
Also the ending? I had to go back and reread to make sure I didn't miss something. I won't spoil it here, but it felt a tad bit anticlimactic to me.
Some of the descriptions are great like when they enter an alien temple for the first time. Jules's stands in reverent fascination of it all. The whole alien landscape is haunting and chilling. Add to that the other alien message warning of doom. Yeah, great edge of your seat action!
Engaging Sci Fi tale set on an alien planet which might have the secret to helping Earth survive, but with the twist that not all is what it seems.