Official Rating: 2/5
“More than two hundred years into the future, human beings are an endangered species. The planet has been battered by war, its inhabitants plagued by disease and death. Few humans survived and remained unaffected. Most changed dramatically and evolved into something else entirely. Irrevocable alterations caused by chemical warfare have created a new species. North America is in ruins and has been overtaken. Humanity has fallen at the hands of mutants known as Urthmen.
Seventeen year-old Avery is alive and unchanged. But she has not been immune to the harshness of the new world. She has lived on the run for much of her life, in terror. After losing her father, Avery is the sole guardian of her eight-year-old sister, June. Avery is now charged with June’s safety as well as her own, a nearly impossible task. Forced to hide deep in the forest and away from the cities overrun by Urthmen, Avery and her sister are constantly hunted. Danger awaits them at every turn. They fear they are the only human beings left, that they are the last of their kind.
But are they truly alone? Find out in this raw and rousing first installment of the Planet Urth series.”
I don’t know about this book. There isn’t a lot of back story (I still have no idea why the world is the way it is besides there was some huge war that changed everything) and it takes quite a while into the book to even just find out why Avery’s, the heroine, parents are gone. (spoiler) And the answer is horrifying.
Avery, her sister June, and pregnant mom are being chased by Urthmen (one of the main threats in the book) and her mother suddenly feels that they’ll never escape unless someone is sacrificed. So she stops running and lets the Urthmen (literally) bash her head in, effectively killing her and her unborn baby, in front of her 11 and 2-year-old daughters. Would a mother really do something like that? I understand that she wants to save her children, but just seemed unnecessarily morbid to me. And then their dad or husband respectively suddenly arrives two minutes too late. What?? Why would you write something so traumatizing? Was that truly necessary? And how does June not remember that? Why would her Dad have to tell her where her Mom is later on? It seems like something you would never forget. Even if you’re two.
The book moves rather slowly and there was very little character development. Martucci tries to make Avery seem like a responsible teenager, forced to grow up quickly so that she can survive and keep her sister alive as well. But then, she does some things that don’t match the responsible young adult identity. (Spoiler) Speaking as someone with three younger siblings, it might cross my mind, but to attempt to commit suicide and leave any one of my siblings defenseless, knowing how much trouble I/Avery has even at her age, is despicable. Avery also seems to forget that while she has to act like an adult, she isn’t one. When she demands that a family follows her to “safety”, she gets angry when they refuse to follow and trust her. If I had to worry about the well-being of my family, would I trust a seventeen year old who ran every time she was spotted lurking around my camp? I think not. She never really progresses as the main character or heroine, she continues to make decisions as if she is a leader even though she a) isn’t officially the leader and b) would be a terrible one. (Spoiler) After the Lurkers track her and her sister back to their home, once Will’s parents die, she takes him and his siblings back to the home the Lurkers are trying to break into. Why? I understand that there were limited options, but this just seems like a terrible decision.
June is an eight year old and the sister of Avery. Avery repeatedly mentions how sad she is that June has been forced to grow up so quickly, but I never felt like I saw any reason as to why Avery thinks this. Given the circumstances she should show some very strong signs of a child that has lost her childhood, but she didn’t, there wasn’t any evidence that June had been forced to grow up. She was still an eight year old that giggled and laughed, unaware (or just doesn’t care) that her loud noises could alert enemies. The only time she might have grown up, was when she killed a (baby) boar.
Will was given very little “book time” in my opinion, and I think he would have been the most interesting person to read about. He seemed like a quiet leader, one with good decision-making skills, a leader that knows when to keep himself together and when to lean on someone, how to keep the people following him (his siblings) calm, and kindness as well as intelligence. I wish that he was the leader and not Avery because then the they all might have a chance.
The plot of Planet Urth was great, a seventeen year old trapped on a war ravaged world called Urth. “She has to survive and keep her sister alive as well, using common sense and the things that her father taught her before he died. Lurkers, Urthmen, enormous poisonous spiders, and snorting mutated three-hundred pound boars. But wait, could there be other human life out there? After such silence?” I really could have enjoyed this book, if it had been written differently. Description is very important when writing a book and I understand that. You need your readers to see what is happening in the story in their minds as they read it. However, saying that Will’s muscles “galloped” down his arm is just poor word choice. It makes me think that his muscles are actually horses. (Does that make him somewhat of a centaur?) There’s also a horrid overuse of the word “gore”, inconsistencies, and the things that I mentioned above, but I still give the book a rating of two.