Strong on setup and plot, weak on human complexities and characterization, this still brings it home on a planet far from...

READ REVIEW

SHADES OF EARTH

From the Across the Universe series , Vol. 3

Though not “frexing brilly” like Across the Universe (2011) and A Million Suns (2012), this conclusion nonetheless supplies plenty of suspense and twists to satisfy readers already on the ride.

Desperate to live on a planet, even one with unidentified monsters, Elder and Amy gather 1,456 terrified people onto a shuttle and break away from their life-supporting spaceship to land on Centauri-Earth, a planet with two suns. There’s no turning back: shuttle operation is dubious, and only the prematurely awakened Amy’s ever lived on a planet—Elder’s people were born on Godspeed, a generation ship. Also aboard the shuttle are “frozens,” earthborn scientists and military personnel—including Amy’s parents—who’ve been cryogenically frozen for five centuries, waiting for arrival. On Centauri-Earth, pterodactyllike creatures, toxic flora, sentient beings who won’t reveal themselves, and hostility between earthborns and shipborns (“They’re not our people”) all bring danger. Death tolls soar as Elder and Amy—alternating first-person narration in virtually indistinguishable voices—race to unravel history and mysteries. Romantic focus and purple prose exceed that found in the previous volumes (“I die at the end of each kiss and am brought gasping back to life at the beginning of the next”), which is a pity. Interpersonal relationships and motivations aren’t Revis’ strong point, but action and revelations are.

Strong on setup and plot, weak on human complexities and characterization, this still brings it home on a planet far from home. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59514-399-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

Though constrained, the work nevertheless stands apart in a literature that too often finds it hard to look hard truths in...

DEAR MARTIN

In this roller-coaster ride of a debut, the author summons the popular legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. to respond to the recent tragic violence befalling unarmed black men and boys.

Seventeen-year-old black high school senior Justyce McAllister, a full-scholarship student at the virtually all-white Braselton Prep, is the focus. After a bloody run-in with the police when they take his good deed for malice, Justyce seeks meaning in a series of letters with his “homie” Dr. King. He writes, “I thought if I made sure to be an upstanding member of society, I’d be exempt from the stuff THOSE black guys deal with, you know?” While he’s ranked fourth in his graduating class and well-positioned for the Ivy League, Justyce is coming to terms with the fact that there’s not as much that separates him from “THOSE black guys” as he’d like to believe. Despite this, Stone seems to position Justyce and his best friend as the decidedly well-mannered black children who are deserving of readers’ sympathies. They are not those gangsters that can be found in Justyce’s neighborhood. There’s nuance to be found for sure, but not enough to upset the dominant narrative. What if they weren’t the successful kids? While the novel intentionally leaves more questions than it attempts to answer, there are layers that still remain between the lines.

Though constrained, the work nevertheless stands apart in a literature that too often finds it hard to look hard truths in the face. Take interest and ask questions. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93949-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

more