Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book Review: Unearthed (Unearthed #1)

Release Date: January 9, 2017
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Length: 336 pages
Source: Purchased Australian Edition

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...



Protagonists: Mia and Jules find themselves on Gaia for very different reasons, Jules wants to study the lost civilization of the planet and Mia wants to scavenge it for all it's worth. These two characters collide in a fantastic way that really shows off just how well they work together. As the story moves forward we learn more about each character and why they decided to take a rather illegal trip to a mostly unexplored planet. I loved these characters so much, Mia is a serious firecracker who will put you in your place while Jules is a strict academic who's spent nearly his whole life dreaming of Gaia. These characters are fantastic separate from one another, but it's when they work together that they truly shine.

Romance: It's almost immediately clear from the moment they meet that Mia and Jules are attracted to one another, in fact, if I had to say anything bad about the romance in this book it would be that the attraction between the two was brought up a little too often and felt a bit heavy-handed at times. That doesn't, however, affect their chemistry in any way. These characters fit together in a way that's really hard to describe. While I've shipped my fair share of YA couples, there's something about this couple that sets them apart, a sense of rightness in their relationship, both before and after it becomes romantic. While the attraction between the two is clear from nearly the beginning, this is a rather slow burning romance as the secrets these two characters hide could very well tear them apart.

World Building: So, when I first read that this was comparable to Indiana Jones meets Lara Croft in space, I have to say I was almost instantly hooked. Now I've never really seen an Indiana Jones/Lara Croft style team up before, but if there's another one out there somewhere I'd love to see/read it because it seems so perfect after reading this story. I mean, I can't believe no one's thought about it before (maybe they have and I just don't know about it) because once things get going in this story they don't really stop. The Sci-Fi element to this story is amazing, a dying Earth in need of a miracle and a distant planet that just may hold the key to humanity's survival, it was incredible. I loved learning about the alien race on this planet and seeing how they would test the beings who received their call. These authors do suspense like no one else and there were many times throughout this story where I was genuinely worried about our protagonists and they narrate the freaking story.

Predictability: I feel that the perfect book is one that you can both solve some of the puzzles to while being completely caught off guard by fantastic twists and turns. This is one such story, or at least it was for me. If you know how to pick through foreshadowing, then one of the biggest twists of this book will be very apparent to you, that in no way means you shouldn't read this book, in fact, it's that reveal that even though I figured it out, still sent me reeling. Plus, there are all sorts of other twists this story has to offer. There was one twist in particular that had next to no foreshadowing, but utterly blew me away with how much it made sense once revealed. This book will take you on a wild ride, that's for sure.

Ending: So, going into this I expected a more or less standalone story, thinking that this was similar to the Starbound trilogy by the same authors and that the next installment would be a companion novel following the same threads that this story did. However, this is the first installment in a duology that from everything I can tell will have the same narrators and that completely changes how I went into the end of this story. The final climax is a high adrenaline and suspenseful ride that ends with a cliffhanger so crazy, that it just might make sense.


Even with being a little heavy handed with the attraction between our two main characters, this story didn't fail to delight, entertain, and thrill. I can't wait until the next and final installment releases so I can figure out what will happen to these characters.


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