Lacklustre Space Looting in Unearthed | Spoiler-Free Review

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman

5 Star Rating System 2 stars

Genre: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Published: December 2017
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Pages: 331 {paperback}

Review on Goodreads

Thanks to Allen & Unwin for sending me a copy for this in exchange for an honest review!

Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing

Welp. I was so ready to read a book by Kaufman & Spooner and I feel like I tripped up on my shoelaces and landed face-flat in the dirt. This was hugely lacklustre. I was bored for the first 100 pages, I was hooked for the next 150, but after that, when nothing *really* happened, I was just ‘eh’. It’s a cool concept, but it sure isn’t Lara Croft + Indiana Jones (the comparison it’s dubbed as). Certainly, after reading epic sagas like The Forever War, this was maybe not the best book to follow that up with.


Unearthed

This is a YA sci-fi set in a time where Earth has gone to shit. Resources are running out, especially clean water, and it seems that the population has also grown too large. Our MCs are Mia and Jules. Mia is down on her luck, no parents, dropped out of school to work illegally to buy off her sister’s contract which basically means she’s a prostitute at the age of 14 (the sister, not Mia).

Jules is an Oxford boy, the son of the world’s genius who decoded a message from an alien race that could potentially save Earth. A race called the Undying left an encrypted message to lead mankind to the stars and potentially solve all their problems. Except Jules’ dad found another layer to the message that warned of a great danger.

Both end up on a planet (unimaginatively) called Gaia. Mia is there to scavenge goods to sell to buy off her sister’s contract, Jules is there to study/uncover the great mystery of the Undying. And absolutely nothing goes to plan.


What Was Enjoyable/Why I Didn’t DNF

The book certainly has an interesting concept. The idea of archaeology in space and looters in space was fun. The characters were almost likeable (Jules is, Mia is not). The threatening danger of looters stealing artefacts and potentially bringing doom upon Earth because they’re not careful (because Jules doesn’t yet know what the danger the Undying warned them about, is) was tantalising.

This was a book of promises that delivered things a little too late. I only wanted to DNF this at the very beginning. Whilst it didn’t blow my socks off, I did enjoy reading the majority of the book. But I am let down now that I’m at the end.

I feel like this book could have done with the big reveal that was the cliff-hanger, sooner, and come up with some other exciting ending. Not to mention, I fully anticipated the ending. This never happens. I tend to be even less impressed with books if I find mysterious endings obvious. But still, it was an exciting reveal that made it worth it (I think).


My Problems

My main issue when reading this book is the way that alllll my problems and disappointments in it, just flooded out of me. I couldn’t push them to the side and enjoy this for face value. I’m terrified to read more books by this duo because they’re supposed to be a YA holy grail and I’m unimpressed?

The book is just over 300 pages and most of the book is injected, hardcore, with insta-love between characters who are inexplicably drawn to each other. And AHEM, excuse me? I signed up for badassery, heads on spikes and aliens betting your life on a game of chess. Not two hormonal teenagers discovering repetitive and uninspired booby traps in an alien temple that wasn’t very alien.

What happened to Earth? Are we ever going to get more of an explanation as to what happened? What are people doing? Why isn’t their anarchy? Are people chill with slowly dying? How are there still resources to fund interstellar voyages? What in the heck is going on with this universe and how long has it been going on for?

I think what it boils down to really, is that this was just unexciting. It was addictive to read because of the promise of a span-dangled finale, and the cliff-hanger was promising, but I wanted more action, better booby traps, better space-y things and just more. My determination to discover this at the end of the book was the main reason I didn’t put it down. I came real close to DNFing this at page 50, not gunna lie.


Summary

If you’re not fussed about the logistics of this book or put off by the excess of lovey-dovey, then you’ll likely enjoy this. It’s a well-written book in the sense that a cool story is being told. But if you’re likely to pick things apart, like myself, then perhaps I would recommend setting this aside in favour of a different read.


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Have you read Unearthed?

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Are you planning on reading it?


Happy reading!

~~ Kirstie ~~

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