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Shades of Earth - Beth Revis Can also be read on The Social Potato.

We have to go. We have to face the world below. It will be better to die quickly with only the taste of freedom on our lips than to live long lives not to see the walls that imprison us.

We send them to the stars. We might not believe in god, but we all could see the beauty of an eternity floating free, away from the confines of the ship, drifting across the universe. - Elder, after being asked what they do to the dead

Sniff. Aren't these quotes just beautiful? Thank you Beth Ravis for writing such a magnificent, heart-stopping and thought-provoking series. I've never loved a series this much, and with Shades of Earth, you've ended it with an amazing conclusion whose messages will stick to me for a long time to come.

If 172 Hours on the Moon has left me a little unenthusiastic on space travel, Shades of Earth reignited it once more, with a kindled flame so bright and powerful that I was just deeply engrossed in this last installment of Across the Universe. Unlike the first two books, the setting here no longer unfolds in the ship of Godspeed, but instead in the Planet of Centauri-Earth, where their next home awaits them, as well as mysteries they will need to uncover before it's too late.

I admit that I was a little bit nervous on reading this. In A Million Sun, there were just so many things that made me uneasy, to the point that I was unsure how it could possibly be resolved or attended to in the last book. First of all, I didn't really think Orion was absolutely evil, and that his claims and fears about the possible outcome of the shipborn had some basis that needed to be considered They may have manned the ship for centuries, but when the time comes they need to unfreeze the men and women from Earth, the rest of them may have their powers stripped off and simply become their slaves. And I thought to myself, this was definitely plausible. Hasn't this happened many times before in the history of mankind? I don't want to write a History book or anything or indulge into a topic I'm not an expert in, but it has happened many times before, why not now, even in this entirely new yet familiar context?

With that said, I was terribly afraid for Elder and the rest of the Godspeed citizens. Orion may have been cast aside for now, but his fears ring true, and fortunately enough, Elder realizes this after they have landed. And truth be told, as much as I was uneasy for them, I also loved it. Ah, the intrigue! The tension! The drama that resulted from the confrontations! They were simply a joy to read, and needless to say, I couldn't put the book down. There were so many things going on aside from this issue and Orion's warnings, twists and turns that I absolutely didn't expect to happen. The mysteries of Centauri-Earth were indeed mindblowing, and I'm absolutely certain that those who enjoyed unraveling the riddles and secrets of Godspeed would find themselves entertained to the very end in Shades of Earth, all of it leading to an amazing finish that will make the rocky ride all the way from Sol-Earth worth it.

While the overall flow and plot of the story was phenomenal, I didn't like Amy's character here very much - at least in the first half. While A Million Suns was amazing, I felt Amy was too selfish and driven by her emotions that her clouded judgements in critical situations left a bitter taste in my mouth. I was hoping that she'll change in Shades of Earth, and unfortunately, it didn't - for a while, anyway. This can be seen when after they've landed (not smoothly, if I may add), she immediately wanted to wake her parents, not even caring about the welfare of the shipborn people. Only when Elder forcefully made her look at the injured and the dead that she finally realized the whole picture. Huh. Stupid Amy. Thankfully, she doesn't remain stupid and selfish for long and I am grateful for that. She grows and matures a lot, and this made me ultimately admire her character and for what she is. Here's an awesome quote from her that I truly like:

I learned that life is so, so fragile. I learned that you can know someone for just days and never forget the impression he left on you. I learned that art can be beautiful and sad at the same time. I learned that if someone loves you, he'll wait for you to love him back. I learned that how much you want something doesn't determine you get it or not, that "no" might not be enough, that life isn't fair, that my parents can't save me, that maybe no one can.

Definitely stimulating and thought-provoking insights. What makes me love this book even more are the messages it wants to put across to us readers. There are certainly a lot of discernment that can be concluded from this, like what it means to love, to live free, to become a community, to become yourself, away from the confines of someone else's manipulation, and how much you're willing to fight for that freedom.

"And what's my job?" I ask, gently breaking free of her grasp. "To protect my people. I have to do this." My people need to see me facing the world and whatever dangers it might hold. If I do, then they can, too. But if I stay here, cowering, waiting for the frozens to save us, that will become their first instinct.

Overall, Shades of Earth was an excellent read. I bought the kindle version, and I'll definitely buy a paperback, too - of ALL the installments! This is a must-read, and a conclusion that should not be missed.