2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. While everyone else portals between worlds, 18-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an ‘ape’, a ‘throwback’, but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.
Jarra invents a fake background for herself – as a normal child of Military parents – and joins a class of norms that is on Earth to excavate the ruins of the old cities. When an ancient skyscraper collapses, burying another research team, Jarra’s role in their rescue puts her in the spotlight. No hiding at back of class now. To make life more complicated, she finds herself falling in love with one of her classmates – a norm from another planet. Somehow, she has to keep the deception going.
A freak solar storm strikes the atmosphere, and the class is ordered to portal off-world for safety – no problem for a real child of military parents, but fatal for Jarra. The storm is so bad that the crews of the orbiting solar arrays have to escape to planet below: the first landing from space in 600 years. And one is on collision course with their shelter.
I went in to reading this in an ecstatic mood. Picture this: There’s a world full of people who have left Earth behind for the rest of the universe. Rockets and shuttles are dropped–who needs them when you can portal? The only flaw in this paradise? The Apes. The Throwbacks. The strange handicapped people who, for reasons unknown, can’t leave Earth. *gasps in shock* I know–Ew! Nasty!
Jarra is fed up with the Exos (otherwise known as the regular people who can planet hop as much as they please). Come time to apply to a university, she refuses to go the usual path. Why sit around and be the good ape girl who goes to University Earth when she could apply to one of the history courses done on Earth by an off-world one? She wants in with the Exos. Get them to trust her. Believe she’s one of them. Then turn around and laugh in their faces when it’s all said and done. Brilliant, really.
I loved this plan. However, my hopes were dashed as she realized that the Exos were just ordinary people like herself (okay, they weren’t really dashed). The lies became unbearable, and after some tragic news? She loses it.
While I found that the plot wasn’t as amazing as it looked from the get go, I have to say it was a pretty enjoyable book.
Plot: 4 out of 5
I. Loved. Jarra. Okay, at least for the most part. Like anyone, she does have the ability to get on my nerves. She’s the perfect kind of character to stick it to the man. I don’t know about you all, but I find practical jokes hilarious. Her plan should have been flawless. She was doing so good. But when tragic news hit, she loses it. I felt so bad for her there. She became her lie. Her false past. And I didn’t realize she’d lost it for far too long (I really am Ms. Unobservant sometimes). The only problem? Jarra was my only favorite character. I did not like Fian. I did not like Krath. I did not have as much of a chance to get to know the other students. Playdon seemed like a good guy, but, once again, I don’t fully know him. Jarra amused me, though, so I’m happy.
Characters: 3 out of 5
I know we stay on Earth this whole time, but wow. You can see how so much has changed since the portals were invented. People are simple. Slower cars, fewer airplanes, no more building of skyscrapers. What I found even more awesome was where we resided for the most part of the book. The New York Dig Site. That’s right. New York is gone. Archeologists now dig beneath all the concrete and rubble for the precious boxes the citizens left behind when they left Earth for the universe. This was amazing. I have never read a book about archeology. Especially not a futuristic science fiction style of it. And the changes! You have to admit that futuristic archeology is going to be pretty sweet if hover belts and laser guns are used.
Setting: 5 out of 5
Overall, a good read. 4 out of 5. Recommended for 15/16+ due to far too many adult comments. You can preorder it on Amazon.
The publisher sent this book to me in exchange for an honest review.