Sunday, February 18, 2018

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Mia has managed to get herself to Gaia, a planet that was home to a long-dead alien race called the Undying.  Just one power cell from Gaia is enough to power all of Los Angeles and the rest of Earth needs help as well.  If Mia can find some artifacts, she will be able to help save her sister from a bad job that is only going to lead to female exploitation.  When other scavengers almost get the drop on Mia she runs into Jules, a boy who is on Gaia to prove that his father wasn't crazy when he claimed there was a secret message in the Undying's writings that warned of extreme danger.  The two join forces to explore a smaller, unknown temple.  Jules hopes to find the answers to his questions while Mia is looking to cash out.  But the Undying secured their buildings with deadly puzzles that must be solved to get to the treasures and Jules and Mia are being followed by some other collectors who will stop at nothing to get loot for themselves.

Once again, a book for which I had some expectations that did not live up to them. In fact, if I wasn't already 3/4 of the way through the book, I would've put it down.  I struggled with:  
the characters
the romance
the puzzles
the constant on-the-run edness
the plot that didn't capture me

Are there other parts to a book?  Not really.  I can break it down a bit.  Neither Jules nor Mia interested me much at all although Jules had more possibilities for me since he had the knowledge of the Undying.  Unfortunately, we never learned much about this alien race and I had questions, dammit!  But given the ending, I can see that if we knew too awfully much, that might've resulted in some serious spoilers.  I also cared absolutely nothing for their romance which was completely YA lit formula and insta-love.  Will they?  Won't they?  Oh no - what about this misunderstanding!  I cared exactly zero because none of it felt real.

The puzzles left by the Undying could've been super cool but we were left to read long passages about how Mia and Jules solved them rather than being given the tools to figure them out ourselves.  I like puzzles.  I'm willing to bet that most avid readers like puzzles AND love when we figure out a twist or turn in a story before it is officially revealed.  Give me some hints about the glyphs or the pattern on the floor and I would've spent all kinds of time trying to prove how smart I am.  Instead, I was bored and skimmed quite a few of those passages.

I know there has to be some danger but I grow weary of a plot where the only thing moving the action forward seems to be the need to keep on the move because the bad guy is coming up behind you.  When I reviewed Illuminae I said that one thing I loved the most about it is that it is a great example of "show, not tell".  In Unearthed, Kaufman has lost that ability.

No comments:

Post a Comment