Written by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Published by Disney Hyperion, January 9, 2018
My star rating: 3.5 Stars
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…
This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018 and, sadly, it didn’t live up to my expectation. It wasn’t bad! It was very entertaining and I really did enjoy it! But it was one of those situations where the premise is more exciting than the execution. I personally felt like there were some flaws and things missing that took away from my overall enjoyment of this book. But there was a LOT of action – kind of reminded me of The Goonies but in space, but if there was just a little more “meat” to the story then this could have been outstanding.
My first (and smallest) issue was the perspective. With each chapter we switch between Amelia and Jules, all of it being in first person. It took me a while to figure out who “I” was. I had to get used to their personalities and register that there were two different narratives. But after a few chapters it gets a little easier.
My second (and biggest) issue was the pace. It was very stop and go, with extreme highs and lows. One minute we would be on a wild chase through an alien temple, trying to figure out puzzles and booby traps, and then the next minute we would be hearing from Jules that he’s lying to Amelia (for the 200th time) and how Amelia has to save her sister (to which I still don’t know the details as to how/why she’s in danger). As I said in the beginning, I wish that the lulls between action could have been filled up with just a little more detail about the worlds, the Undying, and the characters background.
There was a TON of action but lacked substance to really connect me emotionally to the characters and their lives. I wished there was more information about Amelia’s sister (what happened to her, how she got where she is). I wanted to know how Jules’s father decoded some of the alien messages. I wanted more political intrigue. And I wanted more information about how the earth was destroyed. We were given small bits of information but it was just enough to keep us informed and not enough to make my brain keep thinking. I spent a lot of time wondering when we were going to learn certain things and it never followed through. It was the anticipation of something that never came that took away from my overall enjoyment.
Now I know that it sounds like a whole lot of negative opinions but trust me when I say that I really did enjoy this book. Jules and Amelia gave great balance as characters. Jules is the brilliant science mind while Amelia is the wild, carefree street smart mind. The two of them together made such a great team as they had so much to offer each other. I loved the mystery of the temple and the Undying. We uncovered the secrets along with Jules and Amelia and combined it with the things they thought they knew before they landed on Gaia. Both of them were so cemented in their reasons for being there that they were completely blind to the reality of the situation.
But the ending of this book………… HOLY CRAP!!!!! I was absolutely thrown off guard about the truth of the situation! As I just mentioned, these characters were so convinced in their missions and why they were on this planet. But by the end EVERYTHING changes and it will seriously blow you away! The pieces of the puzzle were all pointed out in plain daylight, but I never thought anything of it. When the ending shifted into place I literally sat there with my mouth wide open for a few minutes letting all of the details of the story flash through my mind like a movie. It was one of those AHA! moments and you feel a little stunned knowing what’s really going on.
I wish that I could say more but there’s just so much that happens that’s all related to other things. I’m very fearful that I will mention something that will spoil even the slightest of things. This is a book that needs to be consumed with no prior knowledge and you reveal things for yourself. I look forward to continuing with the series. Now that the ground work has been laid, I hope that as the series continues we get a little more of the details and emotional ties that I felt like this book was lacking.
Until next time, happy reading!