Series: Unearthed #1
on January 9th 2018
Genres: young adult, science fiction
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When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.
For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Mia and Jules' different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.
In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race's secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race...
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner write well together. This is my second book by them, after loving These Broken Stars. I didn’t finish that series–it’s not that I didn’t want to, I just didn’t have time, but they definitely write fun and exciting science fiction romps through space and dangerous planets. I didn’t like Unearthed as much as These Broken Stars, and I will get to the reasons why shortly.
Unearthed takes place on a planet called Gaia, and here is where we run into our first problem. View Spoiler » If you know anything about Greek mythology (and I am hoping most of us do), you know Gaia was the personification of the Earth. When written about in Greek myths, Gaia pretty much means “Earth.” « Hide Spoiler So I knew something was up with that right from the very beginning. And if you get to the cliffhanger ending, it becomes clear, but it wasn’t all that surprising because it was buried in the narrative from the very beginning.
Jules shows up on Gaia to study the Undying, an alien species that died out 50,000 years before humans. Or so they say. I didn’t buy it for a second. Get further in the book and our protagonists begin to suspect things are not as they seem either, but honestly, it’s sort of hard to believe that it takes them this long.
Amelia shows up on Gaia to scavenge it. She’s living in poverty and her sister has sold herself to a club as a waitress, and then later on a prostitute (I think as it’s a little unclear). She needs to steal important technology to get her sister out of that contract.
As one would suspect, Amelia and Jules run into each other and end up doing the temple run through traps and various pitfalls until they solve the mystery of The Undying. It’s exciting and entertaining, but it never went much deeper than that for me. I honestly did not care about Amelia or Jules, and I thought their characters were written poorly. They were just super flat and honestly pretty boring. I’ve come to expect more from my books. I think if I had read this a couple years ago I probably would have loved it, but things change. I was just overall underwhelmed.
To top it all off, it ends on a really crappy cliffhanger, and we all know how I feel about those. Unless extreme circumstances occur, a cliffhanger ending earns an automatic .5 deduction from me, sometimes more. I truly abhor books without a complete story arc and it feels like a manipulative and cheap way to end a novel. In this case, it bothered me even more. I felt robbed and pissed. I’m glad this has lessened a bit in young adult books, but for a while there I felt like every other book I was reading ended on a cliff hanger. I am not down with that.
I don’t know, guys. This book was disappointing. I can’t say I recommend it. I’ll probably ask someone for a spoiler when the next book comes out, but I doubt I will spend my time reading it.