I should preface this review by saying that I’m not a fan of the romance genre. I roll my eyes at the scandalous embraces and rippling torsos on the covers. I laugh at the ridiculous titles. No, seriously. Out loud. I think they’re hilarious. Half this series focused on a romance. …And I liked it. I feel like this has been some kind of guilty pleasure that I’ve had to justify to myself with the sciencey bits. And without the sciencey bits, I probably would have hated it. I certainly wouldn’t have read the whole trilogy. But the sciencey bits were good. And the romancey bits were good. And mashed together it was a good series.
Shades of Earth, the third book in the Across the Universe trilogy, takes up precisely where it left off. Amy and Elder are sitting in the cockpit, about to embark on their one way mission to Centauri-Earth. And everything immediately starts going wrong. Which I appreciated very much.
I find myself comparing Shades to Allegiant, the third book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. Except everywhere that Roth went wrong, Revis went right. Both books switch perspectives every chapter back and forth between the in-love couple. But where in Allegiant, I kept having to check back to remember who’s perspective I was reading, I had no trouble telling an Amy chapter from an Elder chapter. All of the logic was sound, the characters stayed true to themselves, and the plot twists and foreshadowing were on point. Completely unlike Allegiant, where the “twists” felt like they were made up on the spot and the character’s choices became completely illogical. The books even have events that can be paralleled near the endings. But instead of the moment feeling unjustifiable, and the end of the book feeling empty, Shades makes total sense and has you feeling all the feels at the end. When I put down Allegiant, I felt hollow, listless, dissatisfied and utterly disappointed. At the end of Shades, I let out satiated sigh and found myself smiling. …And the sciencey bits of Shades are rooted in science. Allegiant, not as much.
Like I said, I’m not big on the romance genre. And I have an extremely low tolerance for saccharine sap. (Slow clap scenes make me angry, and scenes with singing make me slightly homicidal.) But there was so much more going on than Amy and Elder’s relationship. …And there were deaths. One of them gruesome and bloody and horrifying. Which is always a big plus in my opinion. Amy and Elder could never be alone for five minutes without someone getting maimed or dying tragically or violently. …Oh! That’s why I liked this series! 😛
Considering that, as I’ve already mentioned, this book is half romance, Beth Revis retains her crown and title as queen of creating sexual tension. It wasn’t quite as intense as the second installment of the series, A Million Suns, where the characters literally don’t touch for half the book, but it was definitely there. Usually the reason for the characters not getting together was their lives being in danger as they snuck around to not make out and gather clues instead. I always appreciate a book where the characters can set aside their hormones when they’re in mortal peril. (Hunger Games, I’m lookin’ at you!)
I’ve read a few other reviews that say the ending is good except the cheesy last chapter, but since it involved my favorite character, I was completely fine with it. Quite happy with it actually.
So, start to finish, this book- and this entire trilogy- was full of suspense and really good. I’m eager to see what Revis comes up with next.