Title: Earth Girl
Author: Janet Edwards
Book #: 1st of Trilogy
Publish Date: March 5th 2013
Date Read: August 29th 2013
Rating: ★★½ / out of 5
I was Jarra, a Military kid, trained in unarmed combat. A history lecturer and twenty-nine other history students wouldn't scare me.
I stepped into the portal and a new identity.
2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. Eighteen-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an “ape,” a “throwback,” but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.
Jarra makes up a fake military background for herself and joins a class of norms who are on Earth for a year of practical history studies excavating the dangerous ruins of the old cities. She wants to see their faces when they find out they’ve been fooled into thinking an ape girl was a norm. She isn’t expecting to make friends with the enemy, to risk her life to save norms, or to fall in love.
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads.)
I'm not really sure exactly what I was expecting going into this book, but I'm pretty sure it was along the lines of a "sci/fi adventure" instead of feeling like it would have been more appropriately labelled as a futuristic self discovery. Especially so after that ending, which ends the story all nice and wrapped up, with the main character realizing she's more than just an "ape" girl, and doesn't hint at anything else to come besides the characters all having their happy endings.
Honestly, though, my problem with this book was just that I couldn't connect. I was practically unfazed by every thing that happened, and I formed no emotional ties with any of the characters. The action scenes stirred nothing within me (with the exception of the very last scene) and the writing felt too clogged with dialogue, when I prefer more description. I also felt like there was info-dumping, but that's just according to me and my standards.
I can, though, imagine where and how people will fall for this story.
The main character, Jarra, is strong and witty. Her love interest, Fian, is sweet and protective. Being Jarra's support for their digs (the person who makes sure to pull her out of the way if something happens) they develop a very personal relationship from the start, yet not exactly in an "insta-love" way.
The world building is pretty cool. We learn many things about what happened to Earth, and where all the humans have gone off to. I would love to live in this world, just for the sole purpose of being able to explore different planets. The writing style fits, too, using futuristic slang and how society's norms have changed over time.
The plot, however, is what I think ruined it the most for me. I just felt no sense of direction, which led to no feeling of suspense. Based of the synopsis, it seemed to me like the only thing I was looking forward to the story progressing to, was for Jarra to discover that she's more than just an "ape" girl, the handicap that society shuns, and that the "exos" are not all bad people. She forms friendships with people who she thought she was going to hate, and she does end up falling in love and discovering a thing or two special about herself. But, that was it. Unless I'm missing the "bigger picture", that's all I got from the story. The plot didn't hint at anything else to come, or any surprise twists to think about for the next book. I honestly see this book as being better for a standalone.
What I would have appreciated, was if the author had at least hinted at something more to come, even though the synopsis of the second book looks like there is more. After the ending of this book, I just felt no desire to read on because everything felt complete and at an end.
Overall, this is still definitely a book to consider, with good science-fiction and a strong heroine. Even though it just didn't meet my expectations in the end, I would still recommend it!
We were adults, we were free, and we were scared.
On My Goodreads: