“Unearthed”: A Page-Turning Thrill Ride

by Shelee Juarez, Staff Writer

Filled with heart-pounding action & adventure and two engaging characters, Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner felt like a wonderful sci-fi version of a mash-up of Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider and Drake’s Uncharted video games in written form. If you’re not a gamer and don’t understand the reference, think of it as a race to save humanity paired with extraterrestrial landscape covered in deadly puzzles to solve and an entire cast of shifty characters. What I adored most was that slow-to-build connection and attraction that was mired with secrets, distrust, and personal agendas between Jules and Amelia as they embarked on this adventure together.

With two main characters after entirely different objectives but pushed into working together due to outside circumstances, their dynamic fueled the pace of the story; their trajectories, so dissimilar but mockingly on the same path, led to a lovely push-pull between them that not only amplified their attraction and differing paths, but also the obstacles affecting their journey. They were each humanly-flawed people, but likable from the instant they came onto the page; both unlikely characters to get along–let alone race together across a strange planet fighting the planet itself and other scavengers–the fun was in watching them battle that growing tension.

Amelia’s hardened personality blossomed as the journey grew on, and complemented the naivete of bookish Jules so well. With everything pushing them together and then instantly pulling them apart along with the ever-expanding mystery of the planet and its secrets, it became an un-put-down-able story very quickly. Amie and Meagan found a brilliant way to weave romance in a complex tale, keeping the relationship’s path just as tumultuous as the answer to the final puzzle.

Yet it wasn’t just a story about Amelia and Jules’s wants and needs nor that of the other scavvers, but rather the subtly and carefully placed reference to the real-life issue of our footprint on Earth and the consequences of misuse–a thought-provoking and clever plot point for a story. The writing was seamless, the story full of surprises, and I am left with a bevy of unanswered questions and guesses for the direction of the story that I am absolutely excited to have answered with the second, and final, installment of the series. Boldly inspiring and wonderfully plotted, Unearthed was a crazy thrill ride from start to finish.

This book gets 5 out of 5 stars.

BLURB:

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…

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