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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Audio ARC Review: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1484758056/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=onderherose-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1484758056&linkId=aa433583466867d34db297c5bdd32caf
Please Note:  I received a copy of this audio book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.  Also, I participate in the Amazon Affiliates program.  If you buy the book through the links on this page, I will get a small fee.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
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...


Review: 
I have been a fan of Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner for a while now, having read both the books they have written together, and the books they have done on their own.  They are most famously associated with the Starbound series.  This book, Unearthed, explores similar themes of rich versus poor, and survival on an alien planet, but goes way beyond for an entertaining romp through space.

What I Liked:
Setting:
The planet of Gaia is home to the ironically named Undying, a long-extinct race of beings that have been sending transmissions to Earth and seem to hold technological secrets that will save humanity.  The authors did a splendid job of showing how this planet would be set up and how humans could realistically explore it (portals, my friends).  I liked all the details that ground this book in a probable reality.  For instance, the atmosphere is just slightly different from Earth's so that the characters must use breathers for part of the day to add more oxygen to their bodies. 

The characters also try to enter structures they are calling temples to see if they can find any of that wonderful alien technology.  I loved the thought process behind how everything was set up.  Would we expect an alien race to think with the same logic as us?  Would they have similar concepts such as time, numbers, and spacial orientation?  I loved how the reader becomes an archeologist along with the characters. 

Narration:
As usual, Steve West does an amazing job of inhabiting Jules, the privileged Oxford boy.  His crisp British accent contrasts sharply with his attempts at Mia's American accent.  For the most part, it is successful, but I did find it a little strange. 

Alex McKenna has a tough, raspy voice that fits perfectly with Mia's character.  She also has to do a British accent when she is speaking as Jules.  I thought she did well being the posh academic.

Puzzles: 
As the Jules and Mia enter each room of the temple, they are put through a series of puzzles that they must solve or risk certain death.  Why would an alien race do this?  The characters are told the Undying want to see that whoever stumbles upon their world are worthy of their secrets.  But is there another reason?  The puzzles themselves run the gamut from logic and mathematics, to music and lock-picking.  It was fun to see how they solved them.

Characters:
I loved Mia and Jules.  Similar to the Starbound series, one of the characters, Mia, comes from poverty, while Jules has enjoys wealth and privilege throughout his life.  This dynamic illustrates what is happening on Earth.  With climate change, there are too many people and not enough resources such as water.  While Mia deals with water rationing in America, Jules plays water polo in his native England!

They also both have very different reasons to be on Gaia.  Mia is racing to find usable technology to get enough money for a family situation.  Meanwhile Jules, an aspiring archeologist, is trying to preserve the artifacts in order to study what this culture must have been like.  It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for each character.  So there is instant dislike and mistrust between them.  

I also appreciated that some of the secondary characters were well developed, and not just thrown in as caricatures.  Each has a believable motive for being there, whether it is saving mankind, or helping their families. 

Mystery:
There are a lot of plots and double dealings going on in this story!  It seems every time Mia and Jules start to trust one another,  a betrayal occurs that has them questioning each other's loyalties!  Who are they working for?  Why is an alien culture even able to be understood by humans at all?  Who sent the warnings they start to see?

Cliff-hanger Ending:
I am usually NOT a fan of cliff-hangers, but I will make an exception in this case.  I LOVED the surprise twist at the end of this book.  I will say that I did suspect some of the twist beforehand.  But it was executed in such a way that had me reeling (in a good way!).  Please tell me the sequel will come out in less than a year!
                
via GIPHY



What I Didn't Like:
Insta-Love:
While they never said the word "love", Mia and Jules got pretty close, pretty quickly.  Yes, of course I understood they would be attracted to each other, but I thought their bond grew too quickly to be believable.  I wish the authors had tempered this with hesitation that the characters still had a lot to learn about each other.


                                                              

Rating: 





Release Date: January 9th, 2018

Publisher:  Listening Library

Genre:  YA Science Fiction

Narrated by:  Steve West and Alex McKenna

Listening Length:  12 Hours, 43 Minutes

Page Length:  384 Pages

Source:  Publisher (Listening Library)

Format:  Audio Book

Recommendation:  A fun, action-packed adventure in outer space.  
 


 
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