Cover of Undying, featuring figures running through a complex futuristic cityscape.

About the Book

Title: Undying (Unearthed #2)
Published: 2018
Series: Unearthed
Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Cover Story: Short Circuit
BFF Charms: Yay, Be Mine
Talky Talk: Sirsly?
Bonus Factors: Europe, Keith Mars Award for Awesome Dadhood, Complex Antagonists
Anti-Bonus Factor: Zombies
Relationship Status: Beno

Spoiler alert: This review contains spoilers for the previous volume in the series, Unearthed.

Cover Story: Short Circuit

I find this cover even more confusing than the one for Unearthed. Is it supposed to be the inside of the ship? I suppose it’s meant to reflect the disorienting puzzles of the Undying, but that doesn’t make it any easier to look at. Also, if you have a book featuring an interracial couple as the main characters, it would be nice to at least show what they look like.

The Deal:

Academic Jules Addison and scavenger Amelia “Mia” Radcliffe are an unlikely team to save the world, but they’re the only ones who can. Since the clues they followed on the alien planet Gaia led them to a spaceship preparing to invade Earth, they have been desperately trying to warn the International Alliance before it’s too late. Will they get the message out before the invasion begins? Will anyone believe a pair of teenage stowaways if they do?

BFF Charms: Yay, Be Mine

Yay BFF Charm

Mia is still as scrappy, resourceful and loyal in this book as in the last, much to Jules’ and my admiration. I felt for her, worrying about her little sister but unable to reach her in the crisis, and feeling insecure about the future of her relationship with Jules. Still, she’s not exactly helpless since she can improvise her way through a prison break using nothing but her multi-tool and her wits. 

BFF charm that says "true love"

Jules Addison is the absolute highlight of this series. How can you not love a water-polo-playing Oxford scholar who swears in Latin, admires the architecture even while on the run, and truly respects his high-school-dropout partner as an intellectual equal? … No? Maybe it’s just me.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

The good news is that Mia and Jules have finally learned to trust each other and be honest about their feelings. The bad news is that, between running for their lives and being squeezed into unwashed proximity in the vents of an enemy ship, there’s not much time or place for romance. I do like his reassuring her that their class difference won’t come between them, even if they have the same argument at least twice. 

Talky Talk: Sirsly?

The Undying’s slang terms make it difficult to take them seriously as a threat (no pun intended), even if they do give Jules a chance to show off his linguistic skills. Given what we learn about the Undying culture later, though, it makes sense for them to speak differently – although I had to wonder why the loan words, like “compren,” “lixo,” and “beno,” are all from European languages. As for the narration style, Kaufman and Spooner have a way of recapping plot points from the last book, or even the previous chapter, in the middle of a scene. Sometimes I find these reminders condescending, but other times they’re helpful. It all depends on how awake I am. 

Bonus Factor: Europe

Skyline of Paris France with Eiffel Tower in back

Even in a headlong race to save the planet, Jules and Mia can still take a moment to notice something unique everywhere they travel, from the Catalan language to the sewers of Prague. As a German, I particularly appreciate the references to Bienenstich cake and the baroque buildings of Dresden. The Acknowledgements page lists the names of several European friends whom the authors consulted, and it shows.

Bonus Factor: Keith Mars Award For Awesome Dadhood

Keith Mars hugging his daughter, Veronica Mars

Dr. Elliott Addison doesn’t appear much in this story, but we see him through Jules’ memories as the inspiration for everything he does. He taught his son open-mindedness, integrity, and compassion, and he embodies those values himself. He accepted prison and humiliation rather than hide the truth about the Undying. Jules’ determination to prove his father right speaks volumes about the bond between them.

Bonus Factor: Complex Antagonists

Ben Barnes as the Darkling from Shadow and Bone

Charlotte Stapleton, alias Mink, is still full of surprises, and so are the Undying. Neither of them are one-dimensional villains, and both have compelling motives for what they do. In the last chapter of Unearthed, Mia is horrified by the sight of human faces under the Undying’s helmets, but this book humanizes the enemies even further, heightening the stakes: now more than one civilization is at risk of losing itself. 

Anti-Bonus Factor: Zombies

A man and woman with a baby are dressed up like zombies

Anyone else who follows Kaufman and her co-authors will know that they’ve used the “infection of mindless violence” trope before (and arguably better) in the Illuminae and Starbound trilogies. This time, though, it doesn’t add anything to the story, and as a military tactic, it’s actually inefficient. Engineering a regular virus would be scary enough, and dead humans don’t go damaging the cities you want to take over. 

Relationship Status: Beno

That’s Undying slang for “good”, as Jules would tell you (while Mia rolls her eyes behind his back). I wouldn’t call this book a life partner, but I’m happy enough to hitch a ride with it for a few hours. 

Literary Matchmaking

Light Years (Light Years #1)

For another alien invasion spy thriller with a side of inter-class romance, read Light Years by Kass Morgan.

Warcross (Warcross #1)

For another street-smart survivor heroine and idealistic hero, read Warcross by Marie Lu.

Renegades (Renegades #1)

For another interracial couple that avoids stereotypes about race and genre, read Renegades by Marissa Meyer.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review. Undying is available now.

Regina Peters works in the video game industry, but her favourite imaginary worlds are on paper. She lives in Montreal, Canada, with her family.