My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Unearthed is a science fiction novel that immediately reminded me of Indiana Jones or Lara Croft. As a huge fan of both science and history, I was drawn in from the first moment. As a kid, being an archaeologist or anthropologist was one of my dream careers (along with geologist, astronomer, paleontologist, etc.) If those things are not entirely interesting to you then you may not enjoy this book as much as I did, but if they fascinate you then I think you are in for a very enjoyable ride.
The story is set in the near future as our planet is slowly succumbing to our final environmental assaults, space exploration and colonization has been unsuccessful and times are desperate. A few decades previously, a broadcast was discovered and decoded by the brilliant Dr. A. He discovered that the message was sent by an alien race that was named the Undying and leading them to the planet Gaia. Unfortunately, he also discovered a second message hidden in the broadcast that spelled doom and risked everything to try to stop people from venturing to Gaia.
We meet a young girl named Amelia who managed to convince a backer to smuggle her onto Gaia. As a scavenger, her goal is to loot enough tech to buy her way back off the planet and hopefully help her pay for her sister. Jules was automatically my favourite character. He is the scholar who has studied the glyphs and is obsessed with languages, who just wants to discover who the Undying were and is horrified to think of people looting a site of such archeological importance. Amelia, on the other hand, is only worried about her sister’s well-being and whether there’s going to be something valuable enough to loot from said archaeological site. I found her character to be a really nice balance to her academic counterpart Jules. Each character had their strengths and weaknesses, as well as a unique voice. The book was written in first person narrative, with alternating viewpoints so I feel that it could have been incredibly confusing if they didn’t have strong personalities that shone through their chapters.
The story wasn’t perfect so that’s why I took 1/2 a star off my rating. I felt like we lost some of the backstory or development that led to where our characters are in the book. Although I felt that I received enough information to understand what was going on, I was satisfied but not heavily invested. Some of it was that the authors are assuming that you will infer (for example how the planet became so damaged) and other parts seem like they were being held back for the narrative’s purpose and more information would be revealed in the future. Those aspects I can understand. If the book had been a little longer I feel that those history and world building aspects could have been perfect.
Overall, I was very invested in the story and our main characters. I enjoyed the ride and cannot wait to read the next book in the series when it comes out.