Series: Earthbound #1
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Reading Level: Young Adult, 12+
Pages: 352 (ARC)
Love, fate, and power collide in this new series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Aprilynne Pike!
Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told. Tavia will soon discover that she’s an Earthbound—someone with the ability to create matter out of nothing—and that she alone holds the key to stopping the Reduciata, an evil society that manipulates global events for its own shadowy purposes. Tavia will ultimately have to make a choice: to come into her powers and save the world from the evil Reduciata or to choose free will and a love of her own.
Tavia is the only survivor of a plane crash that killed all other occupants, including her parents. She's gone through many surgeries and different kinds of therapy, and after spending months in a small town flying under the radar with her Aunt Reese and Uncle Jay her life is finally beginning to have some semblance of normality. It does help that she has a crush on the cute librarian aid, Benson, that is easily reciprocated. But then weird things start happening. She sees people flickering, weird objects begin to appear and then disappear, and the most beautiful boy she has ever seen suddenly finds her repeatedly, but nobody else but her can see him. Long blonde hair pulled into a ponytail and clothing from the 1800's, how could she not be fascinated and immediately smitten with this unknown entity? But Tavia would have never guessed that this being would turn her world upside down.
I commend Pike for tackling such an insane plot and for executing it rather amazingly. While there are certain issues, like Tavia's impulsiveness and the weird love triangle, I can't complain much. My one issue is that there is a lot going on and because there is so much unforeseen action everything is coming at the reader at once. I had to re-read a few times because the transition from life on the run to a huge potentially life-altering event was near instantaneous. I think that there could have been more fluidity to the introduction of such action sequences or memories because they were slightly confusing.
And the love triangle...at first my red flag went up, but I came to love it. It was rather genius, really. One boy who echoes her past despite the fact that Tavia's never met him and one who represents nothing but her present and her potential future in stepping forward and moving beyond the accident that ruined her life. Both on different sides of the spectrum, both completely interesting in their own way. Well done, Aprilynne Pike.
And I have to say that I loved Tavia. She was stubborn and steadfast in her beliefs and she would not allow the past to rule her present or future, but she couldn't help but allow such trauma to weigh her down. She was strong and believable, though slightly impulsive. She failed to see the big picture at times and while she had trust issues, she was too quick to trust certain people and gloss over obvious flags. There was one character that had knowledge of many things he should not have. I called his association with certain things about half way through the book and Tavia didn't even suspect it until the big reveal. She was slightly oblivious and all too willing to ignore the signs, especially as someone who spent the recent parts of her life being suspicious of nearly everyone. It seemed out of character for her to be so blind.
Let's not forget Quinn Avery, the mysterious boy with the beautiful blonde hair that I much prefer when it's not in a ponytail.
Really, who likes a guy that can wear a ponytail? It's weird. I really enjoyed him. There's not much I want to reveal about him because it could potentially give away hints of the plot, but wow, is his relation to Tavia deliciously complicated and complex. I could not get enough of his involvement and role in the story!
And, of course, there's Benson. Tavia's present day Romeo that'll listen to everything she has to say while risking his life to protect her. Her emotional baggage does not effect him and he's cute in the nerdiest of ways. He's the boy in the bubble on the left of the cover while Quinn is the one on the right. Equal parts interesting and alluring, but both on completely opposite sides of the spectrum. Either way, we need more guys in the world that love so openly and passionately. With that in mind, you often have to remind yourself that Benson and Tavia's feelings for each other were building months in advance before the beginning of the book so you realize that this truly isn't a case of insta-love.
The action and suspense in this one is incredibly intriguing. While the beginning was slightly slow, it was impossible for me to read fast enough once I got over the initial hump. The plot kept going and it never slowed down, because the amazing supernatural lore wouldn't allow it to. And the ending! Not only did I not see the big twist coming, but my heart may have skipped a beat or two. With a great flow and awesome characterization, I am anxiously awaiting book two. It almost seems like this book has come full circle with that abrupt, yet totally enticing, cliff-hanger.
If you have loved any of Pike's previous books, you definitely need to give this one a chance. Perhaps her most daring book of all, it's one that can't be ignored!
Tell me, Aprilynne, will you be willing to take a life supply of cookies in exchange for book two? ;)