Review: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Rating: 5 stars!!
Pub Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group)
Genre: young adult, sci fi, romance
Format/Source: Hardcover, borrowed from the library
Status: Book 3 of the Across the Universe trilogy (aka The End)

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all?
Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.


YOU GUYS. If you haven't read Across the Universe and A Million Suns, RUN to your local bookstore or library and get them now if only so you can grab Shades of Earth, part three TODAY. I am hard pressed to think of a series finale that left me so satisfied as this one. While I have several beloved series, none of the endings have ever felt as complete and, well, final as this one. I think that may be because while I enjoyed (greatly) the first two books in the trilogy, I didn't obsess over the ending like I did with others (although I've spent the last six months in great anticipation), and I think that really improved my experience reading Shades. So if you haven't read the first two, you may not want to hop under the cut, just because some parts of the previous books will be spoiled.

I think it's safe to say that Shades blew my mind. Each revelation just seemed to completely shake what I thought I knew or assumed about Amy's relationship with her parents, the mission, Centauri-Earth, and...well, everything. The only thing I was ever sure of, entirely, was Amy and Elder's relationship. They were so solid through the whole thing that I knew nothing would break them apart. And people did try throughout the entire trilogy. I love that that was really one thing Revis left alone, more or less. Sure, there were some trying times, but it's nice that Shades concentrated on external drama rather than internal. For the most part.

I also loved Revis's realism with Centauri-Earth and the needs of the colony. So many times in entertainment the new environment is perfect and has abundant resources that fit colonists' needs. The descriptions of necessities really hooked me.

One thing that definitely stood out in Shades was Revis's writing. It's been a few months since I read AtU and AMS so they're slightly foggy, but I think Shades was the best out of the bunch. The writing was descriptive in the best way: subtle yet full of information. The dialogue, particularly between Amy and Elder, was so lyrical and gorgeous that I had to stop every five seconds to add quotes to my favorites on Goodreads.

One note concerning Chris: called it. He's one of those characters where you can tell there's more there than you think at first glance. I think he made a decent foil. Beth surely did a wonderful job using smoke and mirrors to keep information hidden at times!

As for Amy's parents, I don't know. They weren't my favorites by a long shot. I do like the challenges the Colonel gave Elder. Finally someone represented another option for leadership--because Bartie's play was pretty weak--but I love that Elder gave it to him right back and proved how capable he truly is. Colonel Martin just...seemed a bit flat to me. My dad's a military man so I do understand the focus, I just didn't like it so much. And Amy's mom was, I don't know, distracted too much by science? Wish I'd gotten a bit more about/from her.

I do like that Revis isn't afraid to kill off characters, even well-liked ones. It's brave. I hate it when someone is just GONE in an instant, but it shows that Revis isn't afraid to make changes to move the story forward or use a death to hide the truth, which is commendable. I think her shout outs to her former students are hilarious. I love that those kids kept begging her to kill them. It's so morbid yet really humorous.

My complaints are very few for Shades. I think my biggest annoyance was simply that Revis just said 'the military' ad nauseum. I wish she'd 1. used more synonyms and 2. used the soldiers a bit more as Amy's dad, Emma and Chris were really the only ones who were "real" characters. Again, I understand the reasoning behind it, but I think the execution wasn't exactly there and that another approach might have been used more effectively.

Seriously, though, that's about the only thing that bothered me with the book. Sure the science might not be there (Elder's little heroic moment, anyone?), but I don't read young adult books for 100% correct scientific data. That's what textbooks are for. If an author can interpret information and write it in a way that I can understand it and it not distract me and pull me out of the story, I'll go with it. In the film/theater industries, it's called the willful suspension of disbelief and it's a quality I posses in spades. To me, Shades of Earth was a gripping finale to a creative, unique and exciting trilogy. It had everything a sci-fi/fantasy/dystopian/space thriller/romance should have, and I can totally appreciate it. Well done, Ms. Revis!

Recommended for: Lovers of romance, space, exploration, and a new story.
Not recommended for: Die-hard science purists.

Book Links:

About the Author:
Beth Revis is the author of the NY Times Bestselling Across the Universe series, published by Razorbill/Penguin in the US and available in 17 countries. The first book in the trilogy, Across the Universe, is a “cunningly executed thriller” according to Booklist, and the second book, A Million Suns, was hailed by the LA Times as “a fast-paced, action-packed follow-up.” The final book of the trilogy, Shades of Earth, will be released in early 2013.

A former teacher, Beth lives in rural North Carolina with her husband and dog. Her goals include travelling around the world in 80 days, exploring the moon, and finding Narnia.
Author Links:


  1. I loved this book too! Great review, totally agree with you on the fact about it being the perfect finale!! Wasn't the author so creative? I can't get over the new world she described!

    1. It was pretty great. I can't wait to see what else Beth Revis has up her sleeve. I know I'll love it after reading this trilogy, SoE in particular!

  2. I nominated you for a liebster blog award. You can check it out here:

    1. Thanks for the nomination! I'm working on my post now and should have it up soon.

  3. I haven't started this series yet but after reading this I'm going to get on it! I didn't realize it was sci-fi.