Unearthed by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I've been looking for the CS Lewis quote about science fiction, the one where he mentions that really good SF posits a really different world, and that writers should do something different with that world rather than setting, say, Romeo and Juliet out in space. As I read Unearthed that quote kept tickling in the back of my brain because this book? The world isn't new. Neither is the plot.
Set on an earth-like planet, one we're interested in because something (it appears to be global warming, but isn't explicit) has greatly disrupted life on Earth and we could use technology and/or a new place to settle, we meet our two narrators, Mia and Jules. One is the scrappy scavenger doing an illegal heist, the other is the genius teen looking to explore a new civilization. They meet, they join forces, they argue, etc.. There are glyphs to deciper, puzzles to solve, etc. And that's one of the biggest problems - so much of this is visual, and yet we're dealing with print. Imagine the Indiana Jones movies as books and you've pretty much got it. And if readers don't get the Huge Cliffhanger Plot Twist before it's explicit, they haven't done a lot of reading before. I'm not talking about subtle signs, I'm talking it's pretty much spelled out towards the end (before the ending, that is).
The other problem is that this has chapters alternating between Mia and Jules' POVs, and as a result there are far too many instances of information being repeated. Once was fine, twice was too much. If only there'd been an editor or pre-reader who had asked why we needed to have relatively minor things reiterated... but there wasn't.
So points for some of the plot, loss of points for repetition, the cliffhanger and the need for visuals.
E-ARC provided by publisher.