by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

Genre: YA Science-Fiction
Published: January 9th 2018
by Disney Hyperion




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. 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...


When we allow ourselves to explore, we discover destinations that were never on our map.

Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s Starbound trilogy is one of my favorite series, so I was ecstatic to find out they were writing another science fiction series. Unfortunately, however, Unearthed doesn’t quite live up to the brilliance of their debut series.

Decades ago, Earth decoded a transmission from a long-lost alien civilization on the planet Gaia. They are thrilled, thinking that this save the Earth from being destroyed by global warming completely.

“Mia” Radcliffe and Jules Addison travel to Gaia for different reasons, but they form a hesitant alliance. Together, they must solve the aliens’ riddles and traps, but what they find might change the course of humanity.

Mia lives in a dystopian Chicago. She travels to Gaia illegally, hoping to steal some of the aliens’ technology and use it to free herself and her sister from indentured servitude. Mia is fierce and street-smart; the type of character you can’t help but love.

Jules is a British scholar and the son of the man who deciphered the original transmission from the aliens. Jules travels to Gaia to avenge his father, who was renounced for his discovery. He is extremely intelligent and studious, but, unlike Mia, he is a bit oblivious to the harsh realities of the world.

A romance eventually develops between Jules and Mia, but it wasn’t as well-developed as it could have been. The chemistry between the two wasn’t as clear and evident as it could have been, but it was entertaining and interesting to read regardless. This was especially disappointing considering how well Spooner and Kaufman wrote romances in their Starbound trilogy.

Many elements of the story felt too predictable. While on Gaia, Jules and Mia travel through the aliens’ temple to figure out what made them so desperate that they felt they needed to contact Earth. However, the clues and puzzles scattered throughout the story were rather simplistic and predictable. The ending of the story also felt extremely anticlimactic and predictable – despite the major plot twist.

Despite the intriguing concept, Unearthed left a bit to be desired. Nonetheless, I’m curious to see where Kaufman and Spooner decide to take the story with the sequel.


4 thoughts on “Unearthed

  1. I haven’t read that one, but as I adore the Starbound trilogy, I’ve been quite intrigued by it, because I really want to read more books by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. I’m not sure whether I’ll pick it up or not, as you said it wasn’t as amazing as their first series, but I’ll be sure to check out what they’ll come up with next. Thanks for sharing and amazing review, Zoe! <3

  2. I pretty much agree with all this. Surprise. I did enjoy it a lot, but I actually wasn’t really invested in all the puzzles?! The banter was my favourite part and how Jules wanted to camp with like his massive pack and all his spices. PRECIOUS JULES. But yeah, I did expect mooore, considering how good the Starbound books were…

  3. Aw, no. I’m sorry this one didn’t blow you away, Zoe! I did enjoy the Starbound trilogy, but for some reason nothing really jumped out at me when I found out about this book. And since its release I’ve read a few reviews that make me think I’ve made the right decision not to add it to the TBR, eep. I hope the sequel is more to your taste!

    (Also, if you’re looking for a book with great puzzle kind of things, I highly suggest A Drop of Night! It was really good.)

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