Unearthed (Unearthed, #1)by Published 09 Jan 2018
|Unearthed (Unearthed, #1).pdf|
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...
"Unearthed (Unearthed, #1)" Reviews
I totally understand the pitch of "Indiana Jones in space", because YES. Also you know that dumb iphone game Temple Run? This is Temple Run but the occasionally stop and make delicious snacks. Anyway. Overall I thought the story was fun! It's not super deep or ever very scary, but the characters were great! I just unravelled for the sole reason that reading about people running through booby traps and sorting mathematical puzzles is...not...my thing. I was a little bored. Just a smidge.
L I K E S:
✓ I loved the whole scavengers and raiders in space vibe! It was really different, ergo exciting. And we totally have that moment where the geeks are like: "OMG AN ANCIENT AMAZING TEMPLE." And the raiders are like: "wow sorry ok but I just blew it up." This is so true to the heart of Indiana Jones. See something precious and archeological? Ruin it. Bless you.
✓The characters were both super winning! I particularly loved Jules who is like the kind of guy who wore ironed and neat clothes to explore a deadly planet and temple, and is an EXTREME nerd in all things. He even brought a stove. And spices. Anyway, he's a super genius and a cute dork (also POC) and he's here to save his dad's honour or something.
✓ Amelia is also hilarious and clever. She was kickass but still with a ton of emotion and wry humour and here to save her little sister. SO NICE.
✓Their banter and dialogue were A+ the whole time. I just wish there'd been MORE. Like less internal monologuing and description and more banter, #Please.
✓ The ending was WILD. I want book 2 immediately. Which won't come out until 2019 please hit me in the face.
✓ So basically everything about the premise and the characters was EPIC. And totally won me over so I did really like a lot of it. I also felt it was pretty lowkey at times, which is great because it's totally suited to younger YA as well.
D I S L I K E S:
✗ Awkwardly...I was a bit bored. It's just the plot was a real VISUAL one and full of walking (snore) and solving puzzles (wat is going on) and battling booby traps (which seemed lowkey still) and while I could imagine this as a great movie, reading it was lacking for me. Apparently I have no imagination or ability to visualise so much. WELL DONE, CAIT.
✗ And then all the description + internal retrospective monologues?! I swear they went over the SAME FACTS 50 times and just had all this telling about their thoughts and feelings the whole time. I think I am an unemotional piece of bread, but I wanted to get back to the banter.
✗ I did struggle with the romance. Adrenaline-flooded-because-it's-been-3-days-and-we're-running-for-our-smol-lives style of romances are hard for me to get invested in. They don't even know each other?! However it WASN'T all smooshy fall into each other's arms by the end, so it was tolerable. I loved them individually, but will need to be convinced more to see them together.
✗ OK is it just me or did the ending contradict itself. Maybe I just missed something huge?! But right now I'm squinting suspiciously with many questions. Because the whole point of the book was [spoilers removed] So either (a) I missed something, or (b) more will be revealed in the sequel.
ALL IN ALL: this was a really fun adventure, but I'm not a visual enough reader to enjoyed it fully. My bad. There were great action sequences and the exploring and raiders were exciting. Lots of shooting and oxygen deprivation. #Nice And it still managed to feel light. Sadly, I'm just not particularly convinced.
(It would make a really cool dramatised audiobook tho.)
(Also is it weird that Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff are obviously super famous co-authors for Illuminae, but Kristoff has a character named "Mia" in Nevernight, and now Amie Kaufman has a character named "Mia" in Unearthed?? ARE THERE NO OTHER NAMES, FRENDS.)
Lara Croft meets Indiana Jones...IN SPACE.
It’s easy for the international alliance to say they’ll be careful on Gaia. It’s easy for them to dismiss the warnings from the Undying, the stories of their own civilization’s downfall. But the human race has been dismissing the decline of our planet and the destruction of its resources for centuries now. We’ve gotten pretty good at it.
This book is entertaining and nothing more. Honestly, my feelings here were basically a more extreme version of my feelings on Warcross earlier this year - good potential, entertaining story, not much more than that.
Okay, first off, and my most basic solid complaint: the first person pov does not work here. I remember thinking the same thing with An Ember in the Ashes - first person pov just does not work when you have two characters.
Also, that blurb is misleading. The traps and tricks in this book are not that unsolvable, and frankly, I found them only a bit interesting - it was the obvious potential of the story’s first half that kept me going, and not the actual payoff.
And okay, let’s throw in our first solid compliment! While Unearthed didn’t focus on this theme as much as I would’ve preferred, I appreciated that this book very much does try to question elitism, and moreover, questions the judgement we place on others. Mia’s assumptions that Jules’ father was simply an academic who cared nothing for the people, and more importantly, Jules’ judgement about Mia’s smuggling as completely immoral and flies in the face of academia.
The two lead characters here are both fairly compelling:
🌺 Mia - a smuggler and a desperate soul trying to save her sister (a trope, but whatever)
🍀 Jules - a clever linguist who still has common sense
While I did think this relationship developed overly quickly, it was offset by a few dynamics that worked for me. First of all, the two lead characters here have a good dynamic for the most part. There’s a touch of good banter towards the beginning - though I would’ve preferred way more - and their relationship wasn’t so committed as to be unbelievable.
And second, I liked that Jules and Mia don’t fit your typical bad-boy-good-girl YA couple dichotomies. Jules’ characterization avoids much of the toxic masculinity common in YA books - he’s probably the more emotional and less physical of the pair. And I loved that Mia, despite being a very physical person, is more STEM-oriented: Jules is more of a linguist, while Mia is a self-proclaimed math lover.
Listen, guys, I’m not going to pretend this book is anything that it wasn’t. My enjoyment of this book, though substantial, was not because of some deeper message I found. But with an interesting ending and a romance that I know the target audience will appreciate, I think this will be a super succesful release.
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This really was like Indiana Jones in space! With a bit of Doctor Who maybe? I used to say I'm reallllly not a sci-fi person, but Amie Kaufman made me second guess that with Illuminae. And here we go again. I'm actually starting to like space...
The idea of the story is pretty simple when you look back on it, but there are so many twists and things to solve while reading that it feels like a huge adventure. I think the characters were what really made this story so strong for me! They both get a POV, so you can really see what drives them. I loved how they were both so intelligent and well-defined. The worldbuilding of the planet they were on was amazing, too! I don't want to say much about the plot because the description kind of covers it all and anything else might spoil the whole reading process... so definitely check this out if you liked Illuminae or Starflight!
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner team back up for the first time since their Starbound series. Taking place on a distant planet, this story follows Jules and Mia as the navigate the ‘temples’ of an extinct alien species who ironically were called the ‘Undying.’ (Basically it started out Indiana Jones in space and somehow turned into Doctor Who.)
The plot itself is fun. These are the sort of zany, broad spectrum adventures that make me love sci-fi. And the interesting take on exploring a new planet with archaeology really is suppppeeeer fun. All the comparisons to Indiana Jones or Lara Croft or The Mummy (the fun one with Brendan Fraiser, not the one where Tom Cruise looks upset the whole time) are well deserved, as this exists as an exciting adventure story that happens to include: futuristic grave robbers, ancient booby traps and alien technology.
While fun, I think the plot was too narrow. This is a huge setting where earth is overpopulated and humanity was dying until this new undiscovered planet. But most of our time is spent in a very, very, small space following Jules and Mia work through puzzles. While the plot gets to the big stuff eventually, I wish it’d been the primary focus. Odd enough, I also felt this story could have benefited being in graphic novel format-- as all the puzzles are so visual and we’re left soley with lengthy descriptions.
Our main characters weren’t anything revolutionary-- a self proclaimed scholar and scavenger who both have trust issues, but they are solid with fun interactions. My main problem was the kinda-quick romance that distracts from the plot. Again, their interactions were fun, but there was so much focus on ‘wow-they’re-hot’ and ‘oh-no-should-I-trust-them’ in the worst places. Like you’re both on a time-crunch in a dangerous, unknown location… is now really the best time to have this conversation? Should you really make out with explosions so near? It’s not totally instalove-- but it happens fast and took up a large portion of the book. (I just wanted more interesting technology and deep ethical sci-fi stuff, because I’m a nerd.)
I did love that the character’s rely on non-traditional strengths. Jules and Mia solve things using math and linguistics, instead of being the most agile or strong. I love smart characters, and this felt refreshing rather than a school lesson.
This not only features an interesting world and entertaining characters, but the plot twist-and-turns quite a bit. I had my theories, but wasn’t ever certain what was about to happen. Definitely engrossing, and something I’d have flown through if life allowed.
I received an ARC of this through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, thanks to Disney-Hyperion for the opportunity!