Firstly, thanks to HarperCollins Australia for this review copy <3
Date Read: July 23 – 24 2013
Release Date: August 1st 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Source: ARC (Publisher)
Synopsis: "Eighteen-year-old Tavia is the only survivor of a plane crash that killed her parents. Grieving and lonely, she starts having strange visions; of a boy she's never met but feels compulsively drawn to. A boy who tells her to do things she never dreamed of.
Tavia begins to suspect that secrets are being kept from her, and that her kindly aunt and uncle know more than they are letting on. Was the plane crash really an accident? Or is Tavia part of something bigger than she ever imagined?
With only her instincts and long-time crush, Benson, to rely on, Tavia must decide where her destiny lies, and who with."
“Who can fight fate, really?”
Earthbound held a very promising concept to me and I had this preconceived idea of what it would be like – something of a cross between Hodkin’s Mara Dyer and Brennan’s Unspoken. What I got instead was almost a mix of Twilight and Fallen. Everything felt so forced and coincidental, it was all a bit too much and by the end I was just sceptical of the previous 350 pages. I’m sort of at a loss as to what to say about my experience with Earthbound. There were times when I liked It, but the majority was me thinking “Wait, slow down, WHY is this happening?!”I got frustrated a lot.
The story commences months after the accident that killed our MC’s parents and the whole plane, save for our protagonist, Tavia, who’s the lone survivor. She’s on the road to recovery and attending therapy when she starts seeing this boy – well actually it’s one occurrence when she’s in the car and then he appears in her backyard at 2am the next morning and when he disappears? Well she misses him. This was the yellow light to me that something was slightly off, but I kept reading because in Tavia’s defence, she does freak out. This was chapter three. Everything went downhill in chapter four. He feels special to her. Makes her feel all warm and frothy inside. Based on one chance encounter and one where he appears at her BEDROOM window and BECKONS her outside. And then he disappears. So they haven’t spoken a word and even though Tavia’s mind is saying maybe he’s a stalker, it’s acceptable because he’s her age and she feels he won’t hurt her. Oh my fucking goodness everything is just wrong with that. On every bloody level. Don’t worry, I’m not spoiling anything, this is only page 31. Her reactions are supposedly off because she suffered brain damage. Tavia thinks her initial reaction to vision-boy is because of her brain… I’m not sure if Pike is trying to play off that insta-love/obsession thing as something to do with Tavia’s brain or not. But either way, Tavia decides her feelings are true. Or something. And she seems to react to this perfectly FINE. She wants to get to know him. NEEDS to. At this point I’m just going “Nuh qurrrlllll, just no, no matter how yummy he looks”. Her priorities are all over the place. When revelations are made about certain events and situations I just felt her initial thoughts and reactions were wrong – she’d think about less important things when something else was screaming at her in the face and she’d only see this later. I also hated how EASY everything came to her. Such a freaking coincidence really.
“I don’t even know his name, but he feels special somehow. My secret. Not the kind of secret that makes you feel guilty and empty inside; he’s a cappuccino secret – something sweet and frothy that warms me from the middle out.”
Usually this paragraph is reserved for my commenting on the male MC – cue my gushing and lip biting over how gorgeous he is and how much I love him. So you’ll excuse me if I don’t, except to say that I actually don’t know what to say about vision-boy. He just pops in and out and there’s a hug here, a kiss there, and I just got sort of bored even though there’s all this enigma surrounding him. And best friend Benson? By god this guy was ANNOYING as hell. In my eyes he tried too hard, was too perfect and understanding and to me that just screams that something is wrong. Everything between Benson and Tavia felt so forced. The crush, the chemistry(?), everything. I. Did. Not. Feel. A. Thing. Horrible, forced, unrelatable love triangle. And this is coming from someone who saw the devotion Jacob Black and Edward Cullen had to Bella Swan, wrong as it was. Ick.
All the secondary characters were so full of crap ugh. Elizabeth her therapist, Jay and Reese her step-uncle and step-aunt. All the same bland characters. Accepting and kind, encouraging, all unbelievably giving her the space she needs and supporting her. I had raised eyebrows every time I read them. And just the way everybody seemed to be ok with everything that was going on with Tavia. I mean, hello WARNING bells when your therapist says it’s completely normal to be seeing things and encourages it, not asking WHY Tavia thinks she sees the things she sees. It wasn’t the kind of inquisitive psychology where the other party sees how the person thinks, there was no attempt at understanding.
“You’ve made so much progress lately that I’ve actually been expecting you to start experiencing some… some changes.”
“And Tavia, you might have more strange things happen. Unexplainable things. And that’s okay.”
The actual plot? It was all over the place! Pike was trying to do everything at once, packing too many ideas into one story. It got so convoluted I kept questioning “why here”, “why him”, “why her”. I got so confused I didn’t know if there were plot holes or not. It was all a jumble of science-fiction, paranormal, history, mythology and Pike tried to tie everything so it seemed connected but I just got this information dump. By the end I got the feeling Pike was trying for a conspiracy theory type feel with roots from deep within mythology and I was meant to be blown away by all this. But I just wasn’t.
“It’s the reason you see things the rest of us can’t.”
If my review didn’t make sense it’s because I don’t really know what went on with most of the book. I got the whole story in the space of five chapters through information dumps basically. Forgive me if I feel slightly overwhelmed.
This book held so much potential. It was a quick read and I could see Pike trying to pull everything together. But sadly the fragments failed to give Earthbound the integrity it strived to achieve. I think there are many people out there that would enjoy this, but Earthbound just wasn’t my thing.
“He needs me. And the world needs us.”