Friday, July 26, 2013

Me on Earthbound

Title: Earthbound
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin imprint)

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 immediately searches for answers, desperate to determine why she feels so drawn to a boy she barely knows. But when she discovers that the aunt and uncle who took her in may have been responsible for the plane crash, that may have been their intended victim, she run to where the boy she sees instructs her to go. Now Tavia is on the run with no one to trust, except for her best friend and crush, Benson. Tavia feels torn between the two, between the boy who comes to talk to her at night and the boy who's been by her side for so long.

Earthbound is a book heavy on the mystery, heavy on the intrigue, and heavy on the consequences should everything go a certain way. A dangerous way. It starts as a curious sort of mystery, starts with a curious sort of girl, and turns into a darker and more complicated book than I expected. The events that take place, the people she sees, everything is coming after Tavia, and she'll have to discover what it all is while choosing which side to trust.

After the plane crash, Tavia sees herself as broken, damaged. She's healing, slowly, but she barely has the urge to draw or paint anymore. She's searching for pieces that remind her how her life used to be before the crash, but little is familiar. When she starts seeing things she shouldn't, people she doesn't know but feel familiar, she becomes confused. When she hears some things that make her think she was the target of the plane crash, that someone is trying to kill her, she feels betrayed and hurt. Then more confusion comes when no answers are given and she's sent on some kind of hunt to uncover the truth, the truth behind who she is, what she is. Her voice is frantic at times, struggling to understand, struggling to decide who to trust. Trust becomes elusive in this book, it forced Tavia to rely on what she's seen with her own eyes, heard with her own ears, and felt with her instincts.

Who are the Earthbound? What are they? Who is searching for Tavia, why is she so important? It's these questions Tavia must answer if she's to stay alive. As the answers are revealed, as she learns what is happening around her, what she discovers isn't what she expected. Her whole life twists and turns throughout the book, resulting in a climax I never saw coming.

I suppose there is a triangle of sorts between Tavia, Benson, and the mysterious boy Tavia sees, but I don't see it as a love triangle. More of an importance triangle. Tavia has feelings for Benson, she feels close to him, so close she tells him everything about what's going on, everything she discovers about the Earthbound. But it feels different with the mystery boy. I won't deny that there's a connection between them, but the emotional one between Tavia and Benson is far stronger.

Compared to the author's previous series, the voice and tone are rather different. There's more suspense this time around, more seriousness, more danger, more tough choices and even tougher consequences. More of the author torturing the characters, pushing them to the edge. The stakes are higher in this new series, and I imagine the number of twists and turns will only multiply.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Penguin Canada.)

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