Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe.
Series: Earth & Sky #1
Published: October 28, 2014.
Published by: Razorbill Canada.
Source: Received an ARC for review purposes for the blog tour.
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 unraveling, and soon there may be no Earth left to save.
I really enjoy Megan Crewe's books so I was very excited to read Earth & Sky. Science fiction is not what I usually gravitate towards, but between a unique main character, some historical fiction woven in, and strong logic behind the science fiction, I was quite impressed.
Earth & Sky combines a science fiction base with flashes of historical fiction, which I absolutely loved. I am a big fan of historical fiction, so having Skylar and Win jump to different time periods on their quest -- and to get to explore these time period a bit, not just hop in, hop out -- was a lot of fun for me. I think Crewe did a wonderful job of trying to capture the feeling of each location and time period and I wish I could have spent more time in each of these places because I was enjoying that a lot.
When it comes to the actual time travel element that made those history visits possible, I was impressed with the logic. I'm sure more experiences sci-fi fans than I will have some questions for Crewe, but as a casual (but reasonably intelligent) sci-fi fan, I was able to follow along with the explanations and logic behind the time travel and the aliens' actions that were messing with Earth. I didn't pick up on any glaring errors or inconsistencies that would have pulled me out of the story or made it completely unbelievable, and I think that made a huge difference because I was able to suspend my disbelief when it came to the alien aspect since the science aspect lined up well. In this sense, it was very well executed.
I thought Skylar was a great character, especially in the way she dealt with the crazy that Win brought to her life. She isn't one of those immediately over-trusting girls that seem to have cropped up since Twilight's Bella; she is immediately suspicious of Win once he starts showing up more than is reasonable. She also doesn't accept his story right away; it takes some convincing and some hard proof to get her on board, which I really respected. It was also interesting to have a main character who is so into math, as that seems to be unusual in a lot of YA, and especially so because it is math on which her compulsion that keeps her grounded is based (I'm not sure that's exactly the correct way to put it, but basically she seems to struggle with a mental illness that is associated with the changes the alien scientists have been making to Earth and math helps her keep it from overwhelming her). Now, I'm definitely not a very well educated judge on portrayals of mental illness, but I think Crewe handled it well and respectfully, and the way she associated it with the conflict in the world, thus tying Skylar in, was smart.
One thing I did struggle a bit with was keeping the other characters straight. Some of them were easy enough to remember, but when it came to people who were largely grouped together, especially Skylar's friends, it wasn't easy to remember who was who. They could have been distinguished from one another more, though I think that would have taken more scenes with them, which weren't necessary for the plot. This wasn't a huge detractor for me, but something happens at the end with one of the friends and it didn't have the impact on me that I think it was meant to because I didn't even remember which of the friends it was by just her name. Overall this was only a small issue, though.
Earth & Sky has a lot going for it and while there are a few things that held me back from totally loving it, there is also plenty to praise, including the fact that it worked so well for just a casual sci-fi reader like myself. I really appreciated that and am interested to hear what other readers -- sci-fi fans and otherwise -- think!