Book Reviews 2014 · Sci-Fi Books · Young Adult Book Reviews

‘Earth & Sky’ by Megan Crewe

Seventeen-year-old Skylar has been haunted for as long as she can remember by fleeting yet powerful sensations that something is horribly wrong. But despite the panic attacks tormenting her, nothing ever happens, and Sky’s beginning to think she’s crazy. Then she meets a mysterious, otherworldly boy named Win and discovers the shocking truth her premonitions have tapped into: our world no longer belongs to us. For thousands of years, Earth has been at the mercy of alien scientists who care nothing for its inhabitants and are using us as the unwitting subjects of their time-manipulating experiments. Win belongs to a rebel faction seeking to put a stop to it, and he needs Skylar’s help–but with each shift in the past, the very fabric of reality is unravelling, and soon there may be no Earth left to save.

2.5 Stars (Rounded to 2)

I am definitely a fan of the first two books of Megan Crewe’s ‘Fallen World’ trilogy (I am yet to get the third) so when I saw that I could read this for free on my kindle, I jumped at the chance. It is the first in a new trilogy of Crewe’s, this one focusing on aliens and time-travel rather than the disease premise of ‘Fallen World’, which I was very excited about; I do love a good bit of time-travel. I have now come to the conclusion that ‘Fallen World’ was probably Crewe’s peak, and this new series is nowhere near as good as her other work. I definitely will not be obtaining a hard copy (as I was intending to had I liked the book) and I will not be waiting for the second instalment.

The protagonist, Skylar, is a seventeen-year-old girl who seems to suffer from some kind of anxiety, and behaves in a way not too dissimilar to someone with an autism spectrum disorder: She would often identify something as ‘wrong’ in her mind when there is seemingly nothing strange, reminiscent of my autistic brother, the way situations affected her showed signs of anxiety, and her mental way of dealing with situations (by counting in multiples of three) reminded me distinctly of both people who I know, and Christopher in ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’, who all behave similarly, and all suffer from Asperger’s. I do like books which accurately portray people with the above conditions as I find them to be enlightening and important reads, however I think that my problem here is that I genuinely was not sure whether Skylar was suffering from all (or in fact any) of the above disorders. Her feeling of ‘wrongness’ was explained within the novel as being due to her being sensitive to the ‘shifts’ in time, a result of time-travelling, and she is never described or treated as if she is suffering from any conditions. To summarise my understanding, the ‘time shifts’ manage to make a girl act as if she has a plethora of serious mental disorders. I wasn’t sure what to think about this. If the character was stated to have an autism spectrum or anxiety disorder, then I think that I would have a lot more appreciation for her, but the fact that her unhealthy tendencies are palmed off as being down to some kind of ‘shifting’ nonsense actually angers me a bit, as it creates a stupid imaginary reason for behaviour which actually reminds me of people I know who suffer from quite serious mental disorders. It feels incredibly wrong and awkward for me to read.

Win, the primary male character and alien time-traveller, was actually rather interesting. He was nice, brave, a little bit mysterious… a lot of things that I like to see in a character like him. Despite him being a pretty decent guy, the way Skylar treats him is absolutely appalling. She constantly accuses him of using her for his benefit (despite his constant insistence that she does not have to help him and that she could leave him if she so desired) and she acted as if he was doing her some kind of injustice when he advised her against doing things which would cause chaos for time and future events. I felt nothing but pity for the poor guy for ever having met her. There was also no chemistry between them, as she persistently treated him so bad that he would be incredibly stupid to get romantically involved with her.

The plot was incredibly predictable, mirroring every single time-travel idea I’ve ever come across: person with missing relative time-travels with attractive non-human of the opposite gender in order to find ways of saving the world from changes appearing in their time, before wondering whether they could selfishly use their time-travelling for their own personal gain. As soon as Skylar mentioned a long-lost brother, I was anticipating a travel back in time to when he went missing, and a moral dilemma about whether it was right to change the fabric of time. Take a guess at what plot we got later on…

The time-travelling was a good idea… at first. I loved the first time that the pair travelled. While it had been done many times before, I was beginning to see some potential for taking it in a unique route, with the collection of items left behind by another time-travelling alien. However, after the second and third attempts went exactly the same as before, it became evident that the plot was created from one cookie-cutter idea with little to no variation. The basis of the time-travel/alien idea sounded very cool, but it was actually described pretty poorly, and I was quickly lost, finding the whole concept rather confusing within no time.

Crewe’s writing was as good as it was in her previous series, but the book just lacked all of the flair that the ‘Fallen World’ trilogy possessed. I lost interest very quickly, and if someone was to ask me for a good YA sci-fi book with time-travel, I would tell them to steer clear. While I like Megan Crewe as an author, it is definitely not worth my while continuing with this particular series.

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