Book Review: Terra (Terrestrials #1) by Gretchen Powell

terra-final-ebookTitle: Terra (Terrestrials #1)

Author: Gretchen Powell

Genre: YA Dystopian

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Goodreads, Amazon

A broken and desolate Earth. A young girl struggling to survive. A lost boy with a powerful secret.

A discovery that will change everything.

In the distant wake of a plague that has decimated the Earth’s population, humanity is split in two: The rich and powerful live in skycities that float overhead, while those who remain on the ground have gathered in settlements strewn across a dying planet. Eighteen-year-old Terra Rhodon is a terrestrial–a denizen of the barren groundworld–who makes her living as a scav. Long abandoned by her father, her caregivers gone, Terra supports herself and her younger brother, Mica, by scouring the earth for discarded scraps and metals to recycle for profit. One day, while on a routine scavenging run, she discovers something that shocks her home settlement of Genesis X-16. When the value of her discovery is revealed, Terra’s world is turned upside down.

Terra suddenly finds herself asking questions no one will answer. Her search for the truth leads her to Adam–a beguiling skydweller unlike any she has ever met. But Adam has secrets and a quest of his own, and with him by her side, the world Terra thought she knew begins to unravel. Soon her discoveries unearth a terrifying conspiracy that has the potential to shatter everything–a revelation that will test the bonds of loyalty, family, and love.

I have to admit that I went in, not expecting too much from this book. The synopsis sounded all right, and I liked the cover, but well, dystopian novels kind of have this way of being either ‘above and beyond’ or ‘under and way under’. Terra was a pleasant surprise, offering engaging, sometimes even sheer amazing characters, a well-constructed dystopian world and a great plot.

After a plague, earth is split into two parts. The sky is inhabited by skywalkers, the rich people of the world, who live in floating cities more amazing than you could even imagine. On earth all that’s left are the terrestrials, and Terra is one of those. I really loved her name, because of the symbolism (Terra meaning Earth in Latin). She lives there with her brother Mica, and in true scavenger-like fashion she searches what’s left of the earth for anything they can use to survive. Then there’s the supreme goverment, who’s basically evil, and well, it was pretty much like the Hunger Games reinvented at that point. Thankfully that turned around rather quickly, as the author kept on pouring more and more original elements into the story.

I liked the idea of the floating cities and the terrestrials left on earth. I also liked Adam, and the mystery surrounding him. Especially with the plot twist toward the idea, which left me dumbfounded, and actually made me enjoy the book a lot more. It’s filled with all these little plot twists, some of course more surprising than others, but it’s clear the author put a great deal of work into this book.

Talking about the book itself, for an indie published book, the editing is stellar. I read a lot of indie and self-published books, and only about 5% of them reach the editing level I found here.

Back to the characters now. I liked Terra, because she showed initiative and ambition, but at times I felt like she needed a desperate wake up call. She was a well-developed character though, and I enjoyed reading about her and the world around her.

What impressed me most however was the setting. The author obviously has a lot of creativity, and her world-building is amazing. My only ‘bad’ point here would be that there’s a lot of info-dumping going on at the start, and you have to bite through that to get to the story. But once you get there, it’s a fast-paced roller coaster filled with action scenes, romance and suspense until the end.

If you’re a fan of dystopian novels, or young adult in general, Terra is a great choice. It’s a highly creative, well-written, enjoyable read.

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