Jarra never wanted to be a celebrity. All she ever wanted was to gain some respect for the people left on Earth: the unlucky few whose immune system prevents them from portaling to other planets.
Except now she’s the most famous Earth girl in the universe – but not everyone in the universe is happy about it, nor the fact that she has found love with a norm. Jarra’s actions have repercussions that spread further than she ever could have imagined, and political unrest threatens to tear apart the delicate balance of peace between humanity’s worlds.
On top of everything, the first alien artifact ever discovered appears to be waiting for Jarra to reveal its secrets. But to do so, she must somehow find a way to leave Earth – or else the alien artifact will be lost forever. Is there a way for Jarra to travel to another planet? Or is her destiny only to look to the stars – but never to reach them?
You can read an excerpt here.
Yep, I adore this series. The cast of characters, the future past that makes up Jarra’s present, her love of history, her relationship with Fian – I love each and every bit of it. So to say I had insanely high hopes going in to this, the third and final installment of the series, is putting it mildly – but even as I start to tell you how this book didn’t quite live up to my dizzying expectations, in a way I think that’s being unfair to the book, as I’m not sure any book alive could have done. So while I admit this wasn’t quite the book I wanted it to be – and I do think, story-wise, it’s the least focused of all three – in the end, Earth Flight does make for a satisfying conclusion to Jarra’s story.
And so our story picks up with Jarra and Fian still dealing with the fallout, both personal and professional, of their involvement with the alien sphere – and as the social repercussions, both of alien contact and Jarra’s new-found fame, continue to ripple outwards, the focus of this story, in many ways, starts to lean away from our main pair. Because even as Jarra and Fian carry us along through these pages, the story itself is centered around the larger events of the Sectors, and the drama therein – leaving our characters to react to the happenings around them, instead of acting in such a way that drives the story. And so we follow Jarra and Fian as they bear witness to it all, but have very little to do with most of it – because while yes, this is all happening BECAUSE of them, it’s all happening because of things they did in previous books, not because of what they’re doing here. And that all leaves the narrative in an oddly passive place, one that not even moments of jeopardy can shake – because ultimately, Jarra and Fian aren’t the ones driving the story.
In a similar vein, I also found myself missing Earth throughout this story, because again, while the story does take place on Earth, ostensibly, the real story is happening off-world. And as the story focuses on current events, the present quickly overtakes the usual explorations of history and archaeology – and I did miss them. So while the politics and social unrest certainly kept my attention, I was a bit nostalgic for the dig sites, the excavations. Because frankly I always loved that part of this series.
I also found myself getting particularly annoyed by the heavy recapping embedded throughout this story. Now I don’t mind an aside or interjection – and I found the historical meanderings of the first two books to be fascinating – but this time, it really felt like there was a gratuitous amount of expositional regurgitation. Now yes, this has long been a pet peeve of mine, developed over countless hours of watching TV dramas – where characters regularly sit around and pointlessly reiterate the events they both just participated in, to make sure the audience knows what’s going on – so I am perhaps unduly annoyed by this, but it really is tedious for anyone who has been paying attention to constantly have to trip over “previously on”s embedded in the narrative. I mean, if you really need to recap events from the first two books, can’t you just drop it in a prologue? Something we can easily skip? Because not only is it all annoying, it’s also a tad insulting to our intelligence – particularly when it’s so egregious. Really, we’re readers, people. We do tend to remember major plot points.
So by now you’re probably beginning to wonder if I liked this book at all – and yes, truly, I did. It was a delight to return to this series, these characters, this world, and I was 100% caught up ever step of the way. I did just have to see how this story ended – and I also think this book did a lovely job of showing how one person, in the right place, at the right time, really can change the world(s) – but as I mentioned before, while I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it unreservedly. The narrative meandered, and I definitely felt the lack of focus that stemmed from Jarra and Fian not being the driving forces in this story – which also made the story less personal as well. And the resolution (which I won’t spoil, don’t worry) left me with somewhat mixed feelings, to be honest, in that in some ways it felt like an easy out, a neat bow to tie off the series with. But despite my misgivings, I have already re-read this story, and I know I will again – because this is a series I will definitely revisit. And this book does seem to be growing on me with each re-read.
So in the end, while this isn’t my favorite book of the series (Earth Girl still holds that title), and it’s not a story without flaws, I couldn’t help but enjoy the chance to spend time with these characters, in this world, once again. And imperfect though it may be, this book does make for a satisfying conclusion to the series. But Jarra, I really am going to miss you.
Byrt Grade: A-
As Levar Burton likes to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…
Another series completed. Though I haven’t ever found the intense love I had with the novel Earth Girl, I’m glad that I read this series, and I’ll definitely be keeping it on my shelves
Overall, this is a fantastic Young Adult trilogy that science fiction readers should add to their reading list, but is also a series full of heart that less genre specific readers will also enjoy.