October 27, 2014

Earth & Sky

I'm very pleased to be participating in the Earth & Sky Blog Tour organized by Vikki VanSickle at Razorbill to promote a new series by Megan Crewe, author of the Fallen World Trilogy.  Though taking her writing into a different dimension (both temporally and spatially), Megan Crewe has stayed true to her speculative fiction roots and to her young adult fans and I'm excited to share my review of Earth & Sky here with you now.

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by Megan Crewe
Razorbill Canada
336 pp.
Ages 13+
Release date: October 28, 2014

We all have gut instincts that tell us when something is wrong, though we might never listen to those warnings, but when teen Skylar gets the feeling that something is "wrong, wrong, wrong", a refrain she gets in her head periodically, she's actually perceiving subtle changes in her environment that no one else seems to pick up on.  For example, when her law class visits the courthouse, she sees a bomb going off and everyone dying, including herself, but it doesn't actually happen.  Strange thing is that it did.  But through a time shift, it was prevented from happening this time, so Skylar could live.

Sounds freaky to me and I can't even imagine why Skylar is not freaking out when a young man named Win shares all this information with her, although it is nice to have someone understand what she's been experiencing and not think she's crazy.
Every now and then, you go somewhere, or you see something, and you feel it doesn't make sense.  It should have been different somehow.  But there's no obvious reason why, and no one else seems to notice. (pg. 32)
Perhaps the freaky part is that Win identifies himself as a Traveler from his planet, Kemya, and tells her that beings from his planet have been coming to Earth for thousands of years and manipulating situations to learn more, using a time field generator that allows them to travel between the present and the past.  Problem is that there are some, like Win, who believe that this experimentation has to stop, especially since the world is becoming less stable with every shift.  Using a weapon, which their leader Jeanant has hidden on Earth, the group intends to take down the time field and let Earth be.  But the security team of Enforcers from Kemya is after them, determined to stop their plan.

Though he is breaking all protocols engaging with an Earthling, Win believes that Skylar's ability to tell when the past has been shifted could help them find Jeanant and the weapon parts.  Skylar agrees to helping, knowing that for "the first time ever, I might have the chance to set the wrongness right." (pg. 62) Using a very cool time cloth, which can function like a laptop and a time-machine, dropping them anywhere at any time (including visits to the Colosseum in 81 AD, China in 938 AD and twelve years earlier when Skylar's seventeen-year-old brother Noam disappeared), Win and Skylar begin a tenuous temporal and emotional journey.

Unfortunately, being very different beings, Win and Skylar cannot always understand the other's motivations, especially since they have personal agendas that they are reluctant to share fully.  But their growing appreciation for the trials each has endured and the companionship they enjoy is bringing Win and Skylar closer.  Now if they just could get all the weapon pieces, live through attacks by the Enforcers and an assortment of history's warriors, and start being more forthcoming with each other, there really may be a chance for them to make things right, all around.

I thought Megan Crewe's first series, the Fallen World Trilogy, was larger than life.  Its premise of a world falling apart with the explosion of a fatal epidemic that pits survivors against each other is overwhelmingly scary, and Megan Crewe's exploration of the human psyche and society's response to dire circumstances is very real.  In Earth & Sky, the surreal fate of the world is in question and Megan Crewe is still able to scrutinize how we might respond when faced with the option of doing the big good for everyone or just helping ourselves.  By extending the whole concept of social justice beyond Earth, Megan Crewe has taken a universal theme of meeting an obligation to society into the galaxy and suggests the possibility of aliens considering their role on other planets, and perhaps our's on theirs.  The fate of Earth may be up to Skylar and the aliens' time shift generator in the sky but the fates of Skylar, Win, and their worlds are safely in the hands of Megan Crewe and I trust that she'll restore some kind of justice in the sequels to Earth & Sky, having offered a smidgeon of promise–and romance–towards that end here.

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See Megan Crewe's official book trailer for Earth & Sky here and check out more about her new series at http://www.EarthSkyTrilogy.com

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