During the first two books we’ve met Elder and Amy and the spaceship Godspeed, soaring through the universe, toward Centauri-Earth, their new home. Amy was a frozen passenger and not meant to wake up until the spaceship landed, but was woken up early by a mistake. Elder was born on the ship, meant to be the new leader after Eldest stepped down. But when Amy woke up, everything changed. She was nothing like the people on the ship and her mere presence made people uncomfortable. Everyone but Elder. And the more they got to know each other and the more Amy got to know Godspeed, the surer they both became that there was something on the ship not quite right.
In Shades of Earth, when Amy and Elder finally have discovered that the ship actually already are at the planet, instead of still on the voyage like Eldest said, they decide to leave the ship in the escape shuttle, along with one hundred frozen people and fifteen hundred of the shipborn people. Both Amy and Elder are excited, Amy to finally get off a ship that has been nothing but unkind to her and Elder to see the real world for the first time. But when they step out on Centauri-Earth, they discover that not quite everything as they thought and had hoped. The frozen people, now awoken, takes control and makes Elder and the shipborn fear that they will be turned into either slaves or soldiers. And Centauri-Earth is a strange place. The sky is full of pterodactyl-like birds, flowers that will numb your body if you smell them and, strangest of all, ruins that fit perfectly for humans, which makes them think that they were built by something similar to what they are. And it doesn’t take long before another, stranger and even more dangerous creature then the pterodactyl-like birds makes their presence known. Some kind of alien, determined to kill Amy, Elder and their struggling colony.
All I knew when I started to read Shades of Earth was that they were going to land and see Centauri-Earth, something I was excited for and curious about. Though I didn’t doubt that Beth Revis would let me down with the last part of the Across the Universe trilogy, I have to admit, I was a little scared. I have never read a trilogy that was great through all three books. There’s always something I don’t like, a part or even a whole book. And most often, that book is the last. Because that’s when everything is supposed to explode, when all the answers comes, when all the pieces are finally put together. And when you’ve had two books to imagine exactly why the world looks like this or why the country is ruled the way it is or why they’re at war etc. etc. it’s quite easy to go a little too big. To think and fantasize and imagine things that are too huge and then, when reading the last book and getting all the answers, ending up disappointed. Or at least, that’s how it is for me. So, naturally, I was a little afraid. It turned out that I had absolutely no reason to be afraid at all.
Of course, I had some ideas of what I thought would happen when Amy and Elder finally set foot on Centauri-Earth, but I think what I was most afraid of was that it would be some kind of Pocahontas story. Something with them coming in and taking something from some kind of species that had lived on the planet for a long time. But, again, I just needed to trust Revis and in the end, there was no Pocahontas vibe to Shades of Earth at all and that was a relief.
There was, instead, a mystery. In both Across the Universe and A million suns, Amy and Elder have been trying to see through all lies weaved around Godspeed and Centauri-Earth. Now they have yet another thing they need to discover; exactly what built the ruins on the planet and what kind of creature are the aliens, really? They have to work hard and fast, because for every day that passes, people are dying. And all the clues they collect only makes them more and more confused.
It was, truly, really fun to read Shades of Earth. This is one of those novels were you just flip page after page, sucking in every word like a vacuum cleaner. Amy and Elder, their story told by alternate chapters, were really fun to follow. They were both strong characters who knew what they wanted and knew what they had to sacrifice to keep the people they love safe. They never gave up in finding the answers they needed and I loved being on this journey with them.
The whole trilogy is the first one where I liked all three books and every little piece in them. It was amazing, from beginning to end and everything in between. The end, in particular, was wonderful. After everything exploded and things started to settle and the book drew to a close, the last piece of the puzzle was found and put back where it belonged. It was sad, very sad, when I finished that last chapter, that last page, the last sentence. But sad in a good way. Because I can’t think of a better way to end a book and a trilogy than how Revis did and I’m so happy that the whole trilogy lived up to my expectations. It was amazing and I know I will come back to this story again and again and that I will love it just as much then as I do now. It is, truly, a masterpiece among the stars.