Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Review: UNEARTHED by Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner

UNEARTHEDWhen 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…

3 Stars

Science Fiction |  Dystonian | Young Adult 

Can I get a ‘YES’ for the synopsis, seriously I need a HELL YES! When I was told this was Lara Croft meets Indiana Jones in space I couldn’t help but squeal. I was a pretty decent fan when it came to Lara Croft on the console gaming (not so much the movie…. ick) but definitely hardcore boner for Indiana Jones fan, so this was something I had to give a whirl in my TBR. I mean seriously, all these retellings and synopsis with space gets my goats.

Where to start… now that my goats are all swarming in excitement.

Firstly, I LOVED The world building verses the dynamics of the raiders and scavengers exploring space. The thought process behind exploring the temples for archaeology purposes was interesting with the fact that there are other motives towards exploring, like finders keepers makes the money. This is definitely where my geek-dom fangirl for Indiana Jones really comes into play. Definitely a spot on assessment of what I would expect – everything from the grave robbers, swoon worthy sparks, cryptic traps, alien technology, questionable team members, death defying puzzles… the works. 

Although with the phenomenal world building I had slight pet peeves because I felt there were plot holes in the midst of the excitement. The set up with Earth being overpopulated, issues with poverty and the decrease in humanity, it was underplayed. Mentioning this briefly yet there was no real atmosphere to aid in the visual, at least for me. The main focus (with just cause) was more so focused on Mia and Jules adventure plus their connection, yet still had an under development with the world building that I had hoped for a better explanation. Another side note was that at times the building dragged on to a more tedious read. At some points I had to re-read sections because I found myself slightly bored for a better lack of a word. The excitement of the adventure came through rapidly yet was not enough to satisfy my undying desire to want more of the novel. There was some moments of just chatty build vomit, useless inner monologue to create a semi-angst feels with a dash of anti-climatic plot twists that seemed almost forced or half developed.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book, but there were some conflicts I had that caused me not to invest in everything to the full potential or perhaps made certain aspects more confusing. More simply, it was like at some points everything was over-compensating for lack luster moments which made things seem less relevant to the plot and more for the convenience of potential future build that just hasn’t been presented to the reader yet. I don’t know how else to describe it, I was either overloaded with descriptive, edge of my seat adventurous moments to rather dull, yet overly descriptive situations that were more or less useless to the current situation.  

Speaking of the chatty build vomit – the characters. I personally enjoyed both Jules and Mia, both separately and as a unit. Mia is most definitely a kickass chick who really just hilariously clever personality with a means of survival. I liked this about her a great deal. Jules on the other hand wasn’t a typical alpha male, he was the genius, sweet, kind with a sense of naive stigma. Yet both clashed on the best levels. The banter between them, was honestly some of the best moments within the novel. However I had wished for more – just more dialogue between them and less inner monologue to themselves. As a reader, we were constantly in their heads, which can be good on a certain level, but really majority of the time it is personal conflicts and deciding on their feelings: do I like him, can I trust her, stop thinking about him… on and on…

To this point though I will be honest in saying I really enjoyed their romance that developed. I would have been just fine with a more platonic approach or slow blossoming feelings between the characters, I nonetheless really enjoyed their connection. May sound lame, but I liked the adrenaline rushed sparks. It was a fun catch between the puzzles and life threatening twists of events, they really clashed yet meshed well. I know what you might be thinking, these two JUST met, their chemistry couldn’t be that great? But really, I think their characters and growth towards one another made the novel so enjoyable for me. 

No matter how I slice it, even with my slight dislikes, I thought this was pretty fun adventurous book. I think it captured the essence of what I expected and to a degree, more. I am anticipating the sequel at this point, I really hope there is more development on the world building that lacked in UNEARTHED, not to mention more headway on some of the plot holes with the world building are explored in more detail. What can I say, I am a sucker for building, I like back stories, I like understanding the current world that the characters are living in, really need more aid to my imagination – I need the backbone. I also won’t deny that I hope to see where the relationship will pan out between Mia and Jules. Again, I really liked their chemistry, definitely flowed nicely. 

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