What an incredible book. So fast paced I couldn’t put it down: in about three hours I was breathless, shaking, and desperate for a sequel. I knew a twist was coming when there was so few pages left and so much that had to be resolved… but I didn’t expect it to end like THAT.
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. Mia and Jules’ different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but 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…
I loved everything about this book. The characters were fabulous: I was instantly connected both with Jules and Amelia, despite them being so different. While both started with somewhat selfish goals, they were shown to be more selfless than was shown on. They made me feel for them, and the plight of our planet Earth, which had declined so far.
The authors truly managed to create a compelling world. Using a catastrophe of such a massive scale to turn mankind’s eyes away from the stars, to scorn curiosity and search only for short-term relief; that was insanely clever. We can see that Kaufman and Spooner have such a smart view of anthropology and archaeology, looking back on our own species as scientists. Weaving math into a new language was brilliant.
If there was one thing I can groan about, it’s the stretched out internal monologues. Sometimes I just wanted to say “we get it!” to Jules, reminding us about all his father lost, and how much the earth could lose; or to Amelia, going on about her harsh life and her sister’s terrifying contract. It did help us understand the plight of the characters, but might have been overdrawn.
But the description was incredible. All of the action takes place away from earth, and the worldbuilding is stunning. Fantastic imagery that makes the book a fully immersive read.
The logic tests were fun to follow, and I can see why many people have called this book Indiana Jones in space. I need a movie of this, and a sequel!