Planet Urth by Jennifer and Christopher Martucci


Author: Jennifer & Christopher Martucci
Series: Planet Urth #1
Source: Purchased from Kobo
Publisher: Self-pubbed
Publication Date: October 2, 2013
Rating: 1.5/5 stars

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.
Set 200 years in the future after a nuclear and chemical war, Avery and her sister June have to survive in a forest in North America. They do! And then the novel ... ends?

Honestly I am not even sure what the point of this book was. I think the plot is that they have to survive in this "dangerous scenario" but I'm actually not sure where the next book could even go. It seemed like instead of a novel, I got the first 20% of what an actual book would be. If there had been more plot, I probably would have liked this book more. The characters were decent, but stereotypes and the "romance" is ridiculously cliche. 

Avery was strong willed and good with a sword -- "Better than her dad when she was 15" -- and can kill anything and everything with minimal effort. I didn't like that she was portrayed as this brave girl but then couldn't go talk to people because she saw a cute boy. That is ridiculous. She needed to make contact with Will and his family to survive and she is not going to because he has nice eyes? Give me a break. Would she be nervous? Absolutely. Would she have not done it the first time? Probably. Scope them out another day to make sure they are not going to kill you. But running away the second time? No. That wouldn't have happened. And considering how she repeatedly said "We need to find other humans, that is what gives us hope" there is no way she would have run the second time. Also, why was she so concerned about her looks? She is surviving in a forest and trains in sword play every day, why does she care if she is pretty or not? I gotta say that wouldn't even cross my mind if I had to worry about giant effing spiders.

She also made a lot of stupid decisions that if she had stopped to think would have saved her some time. For example, why bring back Will, Riley, and Oliver to your cave when you KNOW that the Lurkers have marked their territory and it will not be safe there for you? Considering she is portrayed as super smart and brave and loving and every other adjective under the sun, you would think she wouldn't jeopardize her sister and her new family.

Considering June was a younger sibling, I didn't mind her that much. I think a lot of authors use the whole "My younger sibling is actually wise beyond years and I have been treating them as a child" trope too much and it is definitely present in this novel. But June still was useful in the sense that she didn't drag Avery down. She was still written to make Avery seem like a better person, but hopefully she gets her own identity in the next novel.

Honestly, Will, Oliver, and Riley all blur into one for me. I understand that Will is going to be the love interest because how can we have a young adult novel without a love interest, but the other kids in this family are not distinct or worthy of my time. Adding more kids to this story is not what was needed.

World Building

Okay. First of all, way to demonize the Middle East in this book. Saying they created a chemical and let it loose on North America, so North America had to retaliate by nuking everyone. Are you kidding me?

Now to all the unanswered questions. What kind of chemical warfare was this? What was in it that made humans change the way they did and animals react the way they did? Why do bunnies have retractable teeth and want to attack you? What is up with the wolves becoming werewolves basically? Why did boars basically stay the same? Why are spiders huge and even more scary? Why were spiders the only thing to become giant? 

These are questions that probably could be answered considering how much knowledge Avery/Will/June/EVERYONE has about life before the chemical warfare. Which leads to how do they have such clear knowledge and stories about the world before the war? Avery noted that it was her grandfather's grandfather that started telling the stories about the world pre-war, which means that information has passed through a lot of mouths. Some of it would have gotten changed along the way, but it so strikingly resembles our world (obviously because it was written now, but you know what I mean), I feel like if you are going to include something like that, it should be said incorrectly. Especially after over 200 years. 

Another thing that irked me was the precise and perfect English. It was better English than I can speak. Dialect changes over time and would have definitely changed over 200 years of not having reading material or very many other people to talk to. There were also complex phrasing when a simple word or sentence would have sufficed.

Considering the humans were the outcasts and the Urthman were in charge, what is their social structure like? Why are humans hiding in the forest other than the fact that the Urthman "hate them for their intelligence"? That does not give me adequate information. Also, what do they look like? They are supposedly grotesque human beings but I was picturing them as green ogres basically. I feel like I need a bit more description on that too.

There's more about the world that needs to be fleshed out and understood in order for me to understand why there was an entire book about these two people surviving in a forest.

Overall: 1.5/5 stars. There was minimal plot; it was all "world building" but even that was lacking.

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