Two young people join forces in the abandoned temples of the planet Gaia in this sci-fi series opener.
After successfully (and illegally) gaining passage to Gaia, Amelia, a white American, is raiding its temples to earn passage back to Earth only to be caught by other scavengers. She’s saved by Jules Addison, a young, black English archaeologist, who interrupts the tense encounter between Amelia and the scavengers. After temporarily escaping capture, Jules and Amelia decide to help each other. They carry their own secret motives about why they wish to access the temples. Jules wants to find clues his father knows exists on Gaia to save Earth, clues left by the coded messages of the Undying. Amelia desperately needs money to save her sister. It is their respective altruistic intentions that lead them into a dangerous plot much bigger than their own. Only slightly varying clichéd tropes—smart guy meets rebel girl—Kaufman and Spooner offer little imagination in this forced coupling, nor in the Latino side characters. Related in the protagonists’ alternating voices, the complex back story regarding Earth’s apocalyptic decline due to devastating climate change and how humans discovered Gaia tantalizes readers. Instead, these potentially engaging details are glossed over and compressed into Jules’ early chapters, where telling and not showing slows the story down.
Readers would be more invested in the ending if they could experience the actual beginning. (Science fiction. 14-18)