“You don’t need to change the world; you change yourself and the rest works out,” (272) Keita’s betrothed, Brian, tells her in a letter. She’s not sure what he means, but the phrase keeps coming back to her. Captured during the clan Summit during which she and Brian are promised to each other, Jasper, a friend of Brian’s, “rescues” her underground in Nomeland, far from home and the Summit. She doesn’t trust him. His adopted clan, the Stygians are taking over Spectra and capturing royals like Keita and friends, also promised to male counterparts at the Summit. In exchange for getting them out of this prison, Keita promises Sienna, another prisoner, to help her find her brother. And their girl adventure begins, as Keita’s friends Carli and Zuri join them not only fleeing the Stygians but disproving the rumors that they have something to do with the Stygian’s coup by enacting good wherever they go. Namely, they help take care of cross-overs, kids abandoned for not belonging to their native clan, housed at the Colony. What’s Unearthed in the kingdom of Spectra is four girls’ power to change themselves for the greater good.
Change is the constant in this book. Every time they get a breather, or start to debrief, the girls are interrupted by attackers or another reason to keep moving. This keeps the story going at full speed. There’s a lot to keep track of in the meantime, between clan locations, family lines and clan abilities; maps and summaries in the front of the book are helpful references. It’s non-stop action escaping, rescuing, healing, sending and receiving messages, sleuthing, reaching the next destination, and using skills they’ve only begun to master as young women. The more they practice their unique skills, the more they discover they can share these powers across clans. As siblings can communicate in “siblink,” these tight-knit friends overcome clan rivalries and separations utilizing each other’s strengths.
Women readers will be emboldened by this read. The heroines, while bickering as friends do, also model relational intelligence at the heart of their success as a band of freedom fighters. Their ability to relate to one another and put themselves in each other’s shoes helps them tackle problems together. My favorite part is also the scariest: facing Rama, where undesirables are “gotten rid of.” It’s there that the girls learn their true mission to welcome and liberate those singled out for their “otherness,” like themselves. Two other Spectra books round out this series. book site