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A broken and desolate Earth. A young girl struggling to survive. A lost boy with a powerful secret.

A discovery that will change everything.

In the distant wake of a plague that has decimated the Earth's population, humanity is split in two: The rich and powerful live in skycities that float overhead, while those who remain on the ground have gathered in settlements strewn across a dying planet. Eighteen-year-old Terra Rhodon is a terrestrial--a denizen of the barren groundworld--who makes her living as a scav. Long abandoned by her father, her caregivers gone, Terra supports herself and her younger brother, Mica, by scouring the earth for discarded scraps and metals to recycle for profit. One day, while on a routine scavenging run, she discovers something that shocks her home settlement of Genesis X-16. When the value of her discovery is revealed, Terra's world is turned upside down.

Terra suddenly finds herself asking questions no one will answer. Her search for the truth leads her to Adam--a beguiling skydweller unlike any she has ever met. But Adam has secrets and a quest of his own, and with him by her side, the world Terra thought she knew begins to unravel. Soon her discoveries unearth a terrifying conspiracy that has the potential to shatter everything--a revelation that will test the bonds of loyalty, family, and love.

286 pages, Paperback

First published December 12, 2012

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About the author

Gretchen Powell

3 books223 followers
Half-Chinese and the daughter of a US diplomat, Gretchen Powell spent her childhood growing up in far-off places. She made it all the way to her mid-twenties whilst maintaining her deep-seated love for young adult novels, so she decided to write one of her own.

Her creative process involves copious amounts of Sour Patch Kids and sleeping fitfully. Her many interests include anything with polka dots, Harry Potter, and playing the ukulele.

When she isn't crafting devastated futuristic worlds and fiery heroines, Gretchen also writes a healthy living blog, entitled "Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!"

She lives in Northern Virginia with her two adorable miniature schnauzers. They wear many sweaters.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 125 reviews
Profile Image for Gretchen Powell.
Author 3 books223 followers
February 11, 2013
I'm not going to rate my own book, though if I did, I probably couldn't assign a star rating anyway. It'd have to be something like "a floppity jillion rainbows!" or "eleventy billion cuddly baby otters!" instead, since, you know, it's my book. And, admittedly, I'm pretty frakkin' proud of it. Heh.

But! I did just want to attach a note here to let everyone know how amazed and grateful I am for the support, encouragement, and honest ratings/reviews I've received on here! I was relatively late to discovering the Goodreads community, and I know there's been some touchy stuff that has gone on here, but my experience has been nothing but epic. <3 <3 <3
Profile Image for Read with Sandee ・❥・.
645 reviews1,298 followers
December 29, 2014
This book just left my mouth hanging open!
I couldn’t believe it was over.
Geez! I was so hooked!
It’s not every day that someone who doesn’t really like dystopia likes a dystopian book.
This is one of those times.

See! Even Jennifer Lawrence thinks so!

When Ms. Powell asked me to review her book I was a bit worried. I was a bit worried that I might not like it since it was dystopian. Why don’t I like dystopian books? Well it’s because they give me a picture of what might happen to us in the near future (hopefully not though). Why did I agree to read it? Because I thought it was really worth a shot. I really loved the synopsis in Goodreads and I thought to myself “Why not?” I was very happy I did. I was very happy I didn’t listen to the warning lights in my head telling me to not read the book because it’s dystopian/post-apocalyptic.

What’s so great about Terra?


I’m not just saying this because the author sent me the book in exchange for a review but because the book was really good. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the writing and how very descriptive it was when it came to how hard life was being a terrestrial in X-16 (it’s the place where they live) and also how different life is for the skydwellers.

Anyhow, Terra is told in the POV of our main character Terra. Terra was forced to become independent early because she had to take care of her younger brother Mica. Their mother passed away early and their father (who was a former skydweller) just packed up and left without warning leaving Terra and Mica alone in X-16. The conflict started when Terra found a weird device as she was scavenging the forests. She then surrendered it to have it converted to credits and she unexpectedly got more credits that she hoped for which actually caused her to want to get more of those stuff. So she didn’t trust her instincts to not scavenger for more scraps for a while. She went to get some more, got into trouble and then ended up meeting mysterious Adam who got left behind by his crew and who is also harbouring a very important secret.

This was very new to me actually. I mean the whole dystopian feel wasn’t but the story itself was different. There was still a division of the rich and poor people just like in the Hunger Games and here the distinction is very obvious: if you’re a skydweller, you’re rich but if you’re a terrestrial you’re poor. But it’s not only that. There are a whole lot more. There was the lack of technology and why they were prohibited too much technology and why it was such a big deal when Terra found that broken machine. There were a lot of secrets and a lot of mystery that I wasn’t expecting actually. I actually thought it was just pure dystopian but I was so darn wrong. It was so unexpected. It left me absolutely speechless.

The characters were likeable. I liked Terra even though she was too stubborn for her own good. She also has a smart mouth. She is annoying sometimes but not too much that I hated her. In cases like this it’s okay for the main character to be annoying because it’s not too much. One thing I loved about her is her love for her brother. I know it will remind you of another dystopian book that almost everyone knows but I’ll have to disappoint you and say that this book is NOTHING like the Hunger Games. They are both dystopian books, yes, and they both love their sibling but I think that is where the similarity stops. I think Terra would kinda look like this girl. I couldn’t find a celebrity that would fit her perfectly in my mind.

Did I already talk about Adam? I don’t think so. I won’t tell you much about Adam because if I do, I’ll end up revealing more about him than I should and that is not going to be so nice. Hahaha. Anyhow, I liked Adam, how he is mature and but a little reckless too. He is my type of guy. I just didn’t like that he kept it a secret too long but he was right though about Terra assuming what he was. Hahaha. Jeezzzz. I don’t want to talk anymore or I’ll end up a spoiler. Anyway, I kind of think Adam would look somewhat like this with blond hair and blue cerulean eyes and all.

Mica (Terra’s brother) was so good. I liked how he was so smart and understanding but also a pain-in-the-butt sometimes. I think his character works just fine in the book and I hope to see more of him on the next books.

Some dystopian books focus more on the romance rather than the dystopian theme itself; this book was not one of them. I mean yeah there was a bit of romance (sadly it felt a little insta-love to me but I liked it still) but it wasn’t really the main focus of the book for me. I am not sure if everyone will agree with me but yeah I didn’t really feel much of the connection and chemistry until towards the end. The romance was just an added bonus for me.

Lastly, the last few chapters of this book just caught me off guard. Just when I thought it was going to be the ending it turns out it wasn’t yet. Geeez! I really can’t wait for the next book! I want to get it in my hands already so I’ll know what will happen next. I seriously want to know if the evil plans will push through or if there are more twists along the way. I want to know everything!

Was this an awesome debut?

I would have to say thank you to Ms. Powell for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. It did not in any way affect my review and rating of this book. If you don’t believe me, I suggest you all go read the book yourself so you’ll find out. ^^,

I seriously fell in love with this book.

I read this book not knowing what was in it.
Imagine my surprise when I get more than what I thought I was going to get.
There was just surprise after surprise!
Damn this was so good for a debut!

Review to follow.
Profile Image for Tiffany Kim.
1 review7 followers
December 20, 2012
As a lover of dystopian novels, I have read much of what's out there in the genre. Some are pretty good, some are terrible, and some of them are truly great. Terra falls in the last category as it left me missing this world created by Powell and eager to continue the journey of these dynamic characters she deftly painted as soon as the last page was finished. I could've flown through the fast-paced novel in one sitting, but forced myself to savor it knowing the quicker I was finished, the longer I had to wait until the next in the trilogy was released and in my hands. The action scenes of this story leave you out of breath as you race through the pages alongside the heroine you have mixed feelings for, the mysterious gaps of understanding fuel your curiosity as you forge quickly to an end that leaves you satisfied with answers while hungry for more, and the characters are relatable and complex helping you understand their human-flawed moves. Whether you're thing is dystopic, sci-fi, fantasy, YA, or just a good story, pick up Terra and you won't be disappointed. If anything, it's a short read that'll leave you wanting more.
Profile Image for Corrie Beebe.
122 reviews3 followers
January 31, 2013
I read this for a book club. It is not the type of book I would have picked on my own, but Gretchen's debut novel is interesting and engaging from the first sentence. I sat down and read this book in one sitting today. It is an easy read, but the characters and story are well developed. We almost immediately care about the life of Terra and her brother Mica. The plot twists near the end, for me, were completely unexpected and quite well done. There were a few things in the novel (set hundreds of years into the future) that didn't ring true to me technology advancement wise (glasses, where would they find bullets for an actual revolver type gun, etc.) but those things don't detract enough from the story to ruin it. Overall, I quite enjoyed this story and would be interested in reading the next installment. Good job Gretchen!
Profile Image for Brooke Banks.
920 reviews175 followers
August 16, 2015
Terra: Kick-ass Heroine in an Out of This World Dystopian I have the awesome opportunity to be apart of the CBL Book Tour for Terra and received a copy in order to give an honest review. See more, including an except at my blog The Broke Book Bank. 



Love the characters, especially Terra. She'd be my homegirl.

Disappointed with the need for Villain monologue at the end. Terra, why u no figure it out yourself?!?

Love the twist ending, going back to the roots of sci-fi in a dystopian

Insta-love (this hater actually fell in love with them, but still...)

Great pacing


Loved the plot, couldn't find any drawbacks


Terra - I really liked her from the get go. “Oh but she’s so stubborn and doesn’t see things clearly!” Oh, well, duh. As someone who’s been ditched, jaded and over protective, I totally get Terra. I like her “flaws”. I like how she’s got the tough skin to deal with all the bullshit she gets for being a woman scav. She isn’t some perfect Mary Sue or a sappy “I need someone to love. Why doesn't anyone love me?” whiner. She’s one of those “If I lived in this world, I think I’d be like her and would want to be friends.” So for every complaining about my pretend BFF, back off! ;)Mica is the standard smart, annoying “You don’t let me have any fun!” kid brother type, made all the worse by occasionally being right. I love him and want to ruffle his hair, even though I’ll probably have to reach up do that. Stay little, little bro =(Adam, oh Adam. I love the sarcasm. I love the smirking. Cocky but only because he’s got secrets that mean he knows more than anyone else, not cocky in the “I’m a self-centered jerk” sense. He does keep the secrets a tad longer than some would have liked but hey, there wasn’t much opportunity come clean, and no one would have believed him anyways.There’s the background characters, several of which I soo want more of but can’t talk about. The best part of all these excellent depictions? They are dynamic, with a lot of character growth and I really want to see what more changes they go through in the next book.
Dat Plot...
I love the pacing with the getting to know characters in the beginning, the suspense, the action, the “oh, I didn’t see that coming but that make sense” twist, the “what are they going to do now” ending. After the twist is does dive more into science fiction but considering the ending ( and that dystopians are a sub-genre of science fiction anyways), I really loved it.
It does make sense and opens so many possibilities for the sequel that I’m dying to read. It does the standards of dystopian fiction so well then goes back to the roots of science fiction. The story isn’t all perfectly perfect where no one gets hurt or the good guys’ plans all work out. The light sprinkling of cheesiness throughout the book is balanced with someone bringing everybody back to reality, with lots of self-awareness, and sarcasm.
The Romance...
Okay, so I’m probably going to lose all my insta-love hater cred with this one but I can’t help it. I’m not usually bowed over by romance and care more for the sci-fi dystopian elements for the story. However, this cynical "Oh, come on.." realist was reduced to D’awwwwing over little looks and got plain weak in the knees over a single kiss. I’m just as interested in reading in the next book for the plot as well as seeing these two navigate being together.Now, for my feeble defense of this love..it did happened over a week’s time and wasn’t completely instant. Okay, that’s weak but seriously I fell in love with Adam in 50 pages so Terra falling in love with over the course of a week makes totally absolute sense to me. I like them that much.I do wish there was more time between their realization and expression of their feelings and the action of the story. Because I wanted more time with them together to be happy. Goddamn, I am being so sappy. ugh.
However, that wouldn’t really feel right either because it would be too much time passing for the other elements of the story. It’s a fine line to walk in romance (well, stories in general) and here I am actually quite pleased.I get why Terra was itchy when first meeting Adam, considering how she is and how they meet. If she fell over him fawning or didn’t act prickly/suspiciously, then I’d have a problem because that doesn’t fit with the personality of Terra. Seriously, who wouldn’t be suspicious of a skydweller living underground and popping out of nowhere?Now, I will go back to regular self.
The Villain...
I wanted to yell the villain. Not the “You’re so evil” kind of yell (though that’s a valid response) but “Why you make it so easy?!?” The Incredibles taught super heroes to not wear capes but apparently villains can’t learn not to monologue. I kept wanting and waiting for something like this...
Seriously, looking for a better class of villain. Now Terra’s still works and the reasons make sense. Everything else about the villain is satisfactory, though I can’t really get into it due to spoilers. I get how the point of the monologue being informative for us as well as Terra.However, without the monologues the story could still continue and be awesome. The whole “I’m so cocky” villain and the “I need to be spoon fed” heroes is just so over done for me. I just...want the villains to be sneakier, not brought down by their personal flaws but smarter, driven heroes that exploit flaws in the plans.
I agreed with the villain on how disappointing it was that Terra couldn’t, wouldn’t connect the dots on her own. It’s not like getting the villain to fill in Terra about The Evil Plans accomplishes anything but information - which could’ve been gotten another way that doesn’t make Terra look so dense.

Bottom Line:

A new love that may have minor gripes but that doesn't affect the overall enjoyment. Will continue the series.
Highly recommended for:
YA, dystopian and yes, romance fans. 
Profile Image for Mandi Kaye Ottaway.
284 reviews77 followers
December 21, 2012
Reviewed at http://www.mandikayereads.com/archive...

Let’s face it; self-published novels are hit or miss. And we all know they’re usually far more miss than hit. But Gretchen Powell has hit this one clear out of the park.

Terra is responsible for providing for her little brother and herself. In the world she lives in, there aren’t many options for a poor, orphaned grounddweller – but she found that she has a knack for scavenging – digging outside the gates of the district for bits of metal or plastic to turn in for currency. She ventures further outside of the gates than anyone else and finds an odd metal machine that nets her an obscene amount of credits – not life changing money but a solid amount that will last for months. Suddenly, her world is turned upside down. Her neighbors and acquaintances turn on her because she is no longer one of them. Her brother doesn’t understand why they can’t spend it all now. And Terra understands how quickly it can all turn around again. So she picks a day when no one else will be out and decides to go scav again – hoping to find more bits of machinery. Little does she know, she’s about to meet someone who will turn her life inside out. Adam saves her from Raiders – men who would kill you to take anything of value you might possess. Terra believes Adam is from one of the sky cities because of his blue eyes and fair skin. Adam has lost his own research team and goes with Terra back to her district hoping to find out what may have happened to them. And then… well THINGS HAPPEN. That blurb up there? It tells you nothing of these THINGS.

Some of the things (okay, only one) were predictable. I have to admit that – but honestly, it’s hard to write any YA dystopian novel that doesn’t have some element of predictability in it. I mean really – there’s nothing new under the sun. What bothered me was that while it was so predictable to me it was so very not predictable to Terra. But then – in her world, she hasn’t read hundreds of YA novels, so it’s probably unfair for me to expect her to know what I know. So I will give this one a pass.

One of my very favorite things about this novel was the way it was written. I was in the dark as much as Terra was about almost all of the THINGS. Except for that one really predictable thing. I found out what was going on with her government and everything right alongside her – and you know, with dystopian novels that is really hard to pull off. I mean sure – I knew that the government was going to be evil – they always are (and no – that’s not the predictable thing, that’s just a given). But I could feel things clicking into place in my head as they clicked into place in hers. I love it when that happens. I hate it when I can see the future in a book – it takes all of the fun out. Or, most of it, anyway.

The writing style of the book was simple and pure and elegant. That doesn’t surprise me, as I’ve been following Gretchen’s personal blog for quite some time. She’s always been someone who uses her writing to relate to people – no matter who is reading. And that writing is easy to see on every page.

Overall, I really loved this book. I hope Gretchen has already started the sequel – I really don’t want to wait an entire year for it to come out.
Profile Image for Lena Horn.
Author 8 books21 followers
December 14, 2012
I received a copy from the author and having read some of her short stories before, I went in knowing that the writing would be solid and elegant. I knew she was a fan of The Hunger Games books, and so I wondered if it would draw similarities since both deal with a dystopian world. I was wrong. Happily wrong! The world that Gretchen created is real, almost scarily so as it deals with what happens after our natural resources are depleted, something we hear in the news a lot now.

I really don’t want to give any spoilers of the plot, so all I’ll say is that the description given just barely scratches the surface of this epic adventure.

It’s rare that I tear up or laugh out loud when I read a book, but Terra made me do both of those and on multiple occasions.

When reading any book/watching a movie, I always try to predict what will happen, and there are some stories where that’s easy, but in this book? I had NO idea where it was going, and then went “what?!” as I found out more and more. The story draws you in so innocently, and you wonder when it happened that you finished the book, with questions still buzzing around in your head as to what will happen next.

It’s been a few days since I finished the book, but I’m still thinking about it: the wonderful (well, wonderful in a “wow their life sucks” kind of way) world, the technology that makes it work, the politics, the people, and the unpredictable future. I want to say I have an idea where the sequel will go, but having learned that I couldn’t predict anything in this one, I’m looking forward to being astounded again.

If you liked The Hunger Games or any TV shows by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Revolution) then this book is for you.
Profile Image for Michelle.
98 reviews37 followers
February 20, 2013
'"Terra?" Mica's voice, heavy with sleep, seeps out his half-open door. "Where are you going?"'

From these words on we dive into the dystopian world of Terra and her little brother, Mica. Terra is Mica's sole caregiver, which means she is responsible for making the money in the family. She works as a scavenger collecting objects to sell at the recycling center. She and Mica have always just scraped by until one object changed their lives forever. After being chased by raiders Terra is saved by Adam in a bio dome outside the walls of Genesis X-16. The story that follows is an awesome tale of adventure, discovery, danger and love.

I found myself rushing through the parts where Terra was in danger trying to see what happened next. Also trying to form an understanding of what all of this craziness had to do with Adam and WHO was Adam exactly.? Powell did an awesome job of world building. I felt as though I was in those walls watching Terra and Mica go about their daily lives. I identified with Terra. Being the older sister in the family, with a younger brother, I always had to be the more responsible one. Terra was a great heroine, with amazing strength, who loved her brother and did anything to protect him. This awesome strength saw her through everything she went through, to the very end of the book. I can't wait until the next book to see what adventure Terra, Mica, and Adam have next. Terra is definitely a book you don't want to miss.

"I stare at Adam in confusion, his blue eyes blazing." '"My people," he says. "They're coming back."'

I give Terra 5 stars! It was a fresh new read on dystopian novels.

For the more of my reviews go to http://momwithakindle.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Brea Johnson.
78 reviews74 followers
February 18, 2014
Review also posted on Breezy Reads

Um, why have I not heard of this book before? Why are there only like, 100 other reviews of this book on GR? WHY ARE PEOPLE NOT READING TERRA!

This book IS SO GOOD! It is 1000x better than some of the books that make it big, so why hasn’t this one?

Terra is a Terrestrial, otherwise known as a person with brown eyes who lives on the dying earth. This dystopia follows Terra after she discovers something unusual that gives her a giant pay out. One of my favourite things about Terra is the original version of a dystopian. It includes a hierarchy of highly wasteful, snobby, smart and privileged skydwellers and the poorly terraestials who scavenge and recycle goods on the ground to survive. Not to mention a new story about how civilization today came to be, including a plague and falling cities. I also like how the story includes an element of sci-fi, though it’s discreet.

Terra’s discovery leads her to meet the unusual Adam – Mr good mannered and charming who saves her life more than once. Cliché , yes, but Adam is highly secretive, hooking me in almost automatically. The mystery that follows Adam’s background is revealed towards the end, and I can tell you know that I was not expecting it whatsoever. I was shocked at the revelations, just as much as Terra which made it very real in my eyes. I love how Powell was able to surprise me.

I also like the characterizations in Terra. It takes some time but I eventually get a feel for each character. I understand Terra and her blunt need to survive and look after Mica. I understand her urge no to trust or be dependent. I understand Mica’s urge to have fun and be a kid. I understand Adam’s urge to protect, discover and dig. I also think that the author has given the book the perfect amount of important characters and side characters – making sure that the side characters were not overly developed and energy was spent more so on Terra, Mica and Adam.

Despite good development of characters, I wasn’t too convinced of the romance between Adam and Terra. It definitely wasn’t insta-love, but it didn’t feel real or had much depth. I feel like something could have been added to really solidify and strengthen this connection to make it feel more realistic.

What did feel real, though, was the world we were shoved in. Powell is very artful in that she shows more than she tells. I had such a strong sense of the world Terra lived in and her life from the very beginning. I warn people that it does instantly immerse you in strange terms – I do not have a problem with adjusting to this, though I’m aware some readers hate being confused at the beginning.

As well as her world building, I like Powell’s writing style. It’s very clear and concise, yet she uses description to its full ability. I just adore this. It’s like she has combined my two favourite writing styles together into this beautiful caramel chocolate mud cake. I could just eat it up alllll day.

I’m still shocked that this book has not gained more publicity. It is really that good. The gorgeous writing style, original world, easy world building and developed characters. The plot is also easy to follow, though is still filled with twists and surprises. Weak romance aside, Terra is a book I would, I will, recommend to every body!
Profile Image for Ambur.
802 reviews429 followers
May 17, 2013
I'm always on the look out for new dystopias to read, so when I first read the description for Terra, I was sold, and I just have to say that Terra lived up to my expectations completely! It was definitely a thrill to read and I highly recommend it. :D

The main character of the book is actually also named Terra, and she works as a scav (a.k.a. a scavenger), someone who collects waste on the ground so that it can be recycled and used by the people in the skyworlds. You see, in Terra there are some people who live on Earth still, like Terra herself, and some who live in the skycites that float above the Earth's surface, but still stay in its atmosphere. The skycites are protected from the acid rain and harsh UV radiation that Earth is exposed to and live in luxury, while those on the ground live in poverty and can often only find work scavenging. Also, many years earlier a plague ravaged both the groundworld and the skyworld, killing most of the human population. Clearly, Terra is packed with a vivid back story and I felt that Gretchen Powell did a wonderful job explaining it all to the reader. I was riveted to the story and the history behind it all, and I definitely cannot wait to read more in this series!

Along with its amazing back story, the characters of Terra were fantastic! There weren't actually too many characters because Terra stuck mostly to herself, but the ones that were prominent were all wonderful. Terra was an amazing narrator, and although she tried to keep a distance from others I could not help empathizing and relating to her. She worked so hard to provide for her brother Mica. She was also brave, and constantly asked questions, which I thoroughly enjoyed because it usually provided some awesome banter with the other characters...mostly Adam. ;) I also loved her brother Mica. Although their circumstances weren't the greatest, Terra and Mica were still so close, and it was really nice to see the strong familial bond between them. Then there was Adam...oh boy did I love Adam! He was amazing and I loved how he managed to bring Terra out of her shell. I also really...and I mean REALLY loved Terra and Adam together. I was constantly smiling...and even giggling over their interactions...especially once Terra finally let her guard down!

The story itself was complex, and there were a few unexpected twists that I really enjoyed! It's not often that a book surprises me, but Terra definitely did! Overall, I just absolutely loved every single part of this book. The characters, the back story, the story itself, and the writing...all were so well done on their own, and put together they made for an amazing book! I'd recommend Terra to those who like dystopias with unique environments and vivid back stories, and if you enjoy a romance where the female lead is hesitant....but opens up eventually. :)

* I was provided with an ebook of Terra for an honest review and to participate in a blog tour.
* This review also appears on my blog and other social media sites.
Profile Image for Kristin (Blood,Sweat and Books).
370 reviews164 followers
April 16, 2013

I really had to sit down and think about how I wanted to review Terra. On first glance this was a really unique Dystopian and I was instantly sucked into Terra's world as a scavenger. Then it happened, Terra finds something really valuable on one of her scavenging runs. So valuable in fact that she needs an armed guard to escort her home. Rather than be happy for her recent windfall and heed the guards advice not to poke around, Terra wants to know more about the mysterious item. Wait, what?? Who the *beep* cares, take your money and run. But nope, instead of being happy Terra just keeps on asking questions.

Now I get it without her asking questions there would be no book. However, Terra's incessant need to know more just made me quite frankly want to throttle her. Terra is definitely one of the most annoying main characters I've had to deal with in quite some time. Terra's only redeeming quality was her love for her brother. The scenes with them together were really sweet and almost made me forget my reasons for not liking her, almost being the operative word.

Speaking of Terra's brother, I loved Mica! He might've been younger but Mica definitely was the smart one out of the bunch. I loved his character and his attitude. Mica was spunky, a bit annoying (as all kid brothers should be) but you could tell he really loved his sister and I think even he might've felt the same way at times as I did about her even.

I also really, really liked the world building. It wasn't necessarily unique and I did keep having other books with similar story lines bleed into this book but what information we do learn about the world above and the one below was nicely detailed and I appreciated that.

Lastly, main character issues aside Terra was actually paced well. I felt the action scenes were perfectly spaced out and the book never really had any long stretches of dialogue without something happening either to the characters themselves or in the background. I also quite love appreciate when an author isn't afraid to put their characters through hell even if Terra really did bring at least some of the things on herself with all her snooping around and constant questions.

Overall, I did like this book especially considering it was a Debut. Terra was a solid science fiction/Dystopian with detailed world building, plenty of action and enjoyable secondary characters. While I didn't particularly enjoy the character Terra, I didn't hate her enough to put me off from continuing this series although I certainly hope I like her more next go round. Terra (series not the character) has plenty of potential and based on the ending I am certainly curious what will happen next. Should you read Terra? Yup, pick this one up and give it a shot, it's certainly worth the read. With that being said, I will be rating Terra by Gretchen Powell ★★★.
Profile Image for Toni.
Author 4 books95 followers
May 9, 2013
This review posted at My Book Addiction.

Quick Critique

Pros: Finally, a dystopian novel worthy of my precious time! This is a gripping tale that does not relent. Gretchen Powell, you have a new stalker.

Cons: Zero. Zilch. I can’t find a thing to complain about.

Overall: Terra is an impressive debut novel! It’s not often I award a debut novel with five stars; not because it’s a debut novel, but because there are generally issues that need tweaking. Powell builds a dystopian world in which her richly developed characters shine brighter than the sun.

My Thoughts

Terra is an unparalleled story about a strong female heroine by the name of Terra, and her younger brother Mica. The siblings live in a wasteland of sorts after a skycity falls to Earth and releases a plague. There are settlements where the survivors live, even centuries later, and areas that are not to be traveled unless you want to be quarantined for who knows how long, possibly never to be seen again. Terra and Mica live in Genesis X-16, where she scavenges for items like metal scraps, copper wire, plastic bits and whatever else she can find to trade in for credits. She has the great responsibility of taking care of Mica ever since her grandma passed. Their mother had died, and their father was a complete loser who took off on them. After trading in a mysterious item, that she collected while scavenging out in the Dead Woods one day, life as Terra knew it ceases to exist.

After the standard introductions and brief history in chapter one, this book took off at a gallop and never slowed its pace. I desperately wanted to lock myself in a padded cell just so I could read without interruption. Powell’s writing flows beautifully, never missing an important detail, and never describing something to the point of killing it. The action is intense, the villains fierce, and the storyline brilliant. We are talking chew your nails off, fidget in your seat kind of suspense in this book. I am still having a hard time believing that Terra is a debut novel. I heard some people comparing this book to The Hunger Games. To that I say “Pfft!” And that’s the friendly version of my response. This is a unique tale, all it’s own, masterfully created by Powell, who I now plan to stalk daily until I get something new from her! It’s no easy task to find a dystopian novel that hasn’t already been played out. When you find a gem like Terra, give it it’s due worship and praise.

I recommend this to anyone that loved The Hunger Games. Ha! Are you kidding me? I recommend this to everyone that enjoys suspenseful, non-stop action in a dystopian/sci-fi setting. It’s not a prerequisite to speak fluent Klingon to fall in love with a book that has science fiction elements, just so you know.
Profile Image for Dayla.
2,067 reviews201 followers
February 21, 2013
Review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review

Terra by Gretchen Powell was a fantastic blend of what is popular in today’s Young Adult dystopian genre, but Powell makes it her own by effectively introducing her own twists and originality—not to mention a heck of a conclusion.

As we meet Terra, the protagonist, we are immediately taken into her world where the elite live in domed cities above and the people left on Earth are left to scavenge as a means of survival.

Terra is full of spunk and life and though she’s had to prematurely grow up in order to raise her younger brother, she still has various qualities found in a teenager.

What I like about Terra is that she behaves how I would expect a young adult to behave in a similar situation: she is over-protective, brave, and slightly stubborn—all characteristics that are relatable.

The pacing of the novel is great and the storyline is easy to follow and enjoy. The reader gets seduced by the description and fluid prose. The world Powell has created is original and the reader can never truly be sure of what will happen next.

One of the best aspects of Powell’s writing is that she has a talent for creating unexpected twists and turns.

The character growth was interesting because Terra grows through the many questions she asks and the decisions she makes. Rather than being put into a new world and being challenged by what is unfamiliar to her, Terra is forced to view the world she lives in through new eyes. I loved this concept because Terra challenges the wrong I noted in her world, rather than staying mute.

The romance was nicely built and was a cute side-story in the novel. While the reader is intrigued by the unique storyline, s/he is also rooting for Terra and her love interest—which, by the way, is not the most obvious character, another aspect of Powell’s novel I loved.

I recommend Terra to fans of the dystopian genre and original story-lines that have fun and unexpected conclusions.

Powell is an author to watch and her upcoming sequel offers more than just answers to the questions left in her cliffhanger conclusion, but a chance to see more wonderful work from this fantastic author.
Profile Image for charlie..
292 reviews65 followers
February 22, 2013
"Cause if you don't need anybody, it won't hurt if they leave you, right?"

When I first read the synopsis of the book, I actually didn't expect it to be this good. It sounded like a typical post-apocalyptic novels but the weird, new name of where they are got me. Well, good thing it did because I really enjoyed this one.

It has a really interesting and promising premise. The history of how and why they lived in Genesis X-16 was immediately presented at the first part of the book, which helped not to make me feel lost while reading some random facts Terra keeps on mentioning. It also has a good world building that kinda reminded me of The Maze Runner.

The characters were interesting. There weren't much because it mainly focused on Terra, her brother and Adam but it wasn't boring reading all about them at all. The banters Terra and Adam was cute and made me like their relationship despite the sort-of fast pace on that part. Or maybe weeks passed after they met and I just didn't noticed. But it didn't feel insta-love though. It wasn't even cheesy until they sort-of told each other their feelings.

The twist about Adam's identity and his revelation in the end added more questions and made it more unique. At this point, it feels like there's more than one antagonist group in this story. I mean, there's terrestrials, skydwellers and now there's Adam's people;

It seems like it's the same as other books at first glance, but definitely different. Oh and I love the kissing scene! I'm a sucker for well-established kissing scenes and the one here was definitely good. It was felt, not just shown, through words. I've read some really good debuts recently and this is definitely one of those. I'll definitely look out for the release of the next book.


This copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.

*This and other reviews can also be found on Charlie, Coffee and a Good Book*
Profile Image for Zoe and the Edge.
674 reviews64 followers
April 27, 2013
There's nothing life-changing about this book but it's a good one to lose yourself in for a few hours. It has a decent amount of angst, suspense and action. It kept me reading and I was interested in the plot all the way through. The end also, really picks up and made the book for me. I'm looking forward to Book #2. I liked that I wasn't bogged down by terminology and boring descriptions of this dystopian society. The author provides enough details without getting tedious. Another plus is that the writing is easy to read too.

“The good thing about having all the adults in your life either die or abandon you is that everyone feels too bad to kick you out of your apartment.”

Terra takes life as it comes. She's the head of her house. The provider, the parent, the law. She has to lay down the rules and that doesn't always make her popular with her brother, Mica. All she wants is for Mica to have a good life.
I did not like Mica. He is not a charming little brother. He just got on my nerves. A brother can be annoying but still brotherly at the same time. Mica was just a brat. He just doesn't seem to care for Terra the way I think he should. He takes her and everything she does for him for granted. I was waiting for him to redeem himself but maybe I'll like him better in the next book.
Terra's a survivor and isn't above playing dirty. She's quite a harsh character and at times she's downright grating. She's fiercely independent and focused on self-preservation. I think this added an interesting element to her. Naturally, she thinks of herself first and I liked this characteristic. Her instinctual selfishness (strong word, I know) makes her real. Even better, it makes her circumstances tangible – that for her to think of somebody else outside her family would be suicide.

Adam is a telekinetic (woot woot!) but it's not as effortless as a flick of the finger. It's more physical – he's got to put his back into it. He's quite boyish and carefree compared to Terra. But he's geeky too.
Profile Image for Beth.
812 reviews42 followers
April 13, 2013
It's very rare, in my experience, to find an indie book that is as good as anything that's gone through a corporate editing process. In fact, it may very well be the Holy Grail of small press books. And yet, on her first lap out of the gate, Gretchen Powell has birthed a fantastic book, self-published. So....consider me a fan!

I had a difficult time putting this one down. It's not that the pace is frenetic, but that the characters (especially Terra) are compelling.
Terra is tough, self-sacrificing, opinionated, curious, untrusting....and yet she's vulnerable at the same time. She's witty but she isn't a know-it-all.

And (much to my utter relief and delight) she isn't a naive innocent who just happens to be caught up in the whirlwind. Nope. Terra is a catalyst-type character. Her actions have a consequence. And although sometimes the world in which Terra is set is a bit black-and-white predictable, Terra as a character is very real within it. I read to see what she'd do next. And maybe a bit because Adam sounds hot. Maybe.

I will definitely be picking up the sequel, and following along with Terra, Adam, and Mica. Because of course, even though Mica points out their lack of empowerment, we all know revolution is coming. And I have a lot of questions about their father now. And Adam's people. And the tech. And the Coals.

I recommend this for lovers of YA Sci-Fi, realistic characters (or character- I admit it's Terra-centric, but you know that by the title), strong female protagonists, romance that isn't based on the "innocent/first time" trope or the "love at first sight" trope, folks who enjoy getting as many plot questions as answers, and fans of graphic novels- because this would make an EXCELLENT graphic novel.
Profile Image for Nanci.
47 reviews18 followers
December 26, 2012
Gretchen Powell has written her first book titled Terra, a YA dystopian book about a girl, her brother, and their life in Genesis X-16. Terra’s life is changed forever when a discovery leads her to a world she never thought she would be a part of and a boy named Adam who is unlike any other she’s ever met.

I love this book. From the beginning, I was hooked. The characters are real and likeable, and a perfect fit for the world that Gretchen has created. I was held captive by the entire story line - the interaction between Terra and the government was as enthralling as that between her and Adam. And the odds they face are unimaginable… Acid rain that keeps them inside for days, a quarantine line that can’t be crossed, and meals that come in pill form.

I admit that there are some dystopian novels that I just cannot get through, the characters and worlds that the authors create are far too complicated. Not the case with Terra. And while I can never imagine living in a time or place where the government has divided the people so far, or where I would have to go out and scavenge for recyclables in exchange for currency to live off of, Terra is very easy to empathize with because her character is so REAL. Forgetting about the futuristic theme of the book for a moment, Terra struggles with loss, fear, and desire. Real qualities.

Terra can be compared to the likes of The Hunger Games and Starters. Gretchen Powell can absolutely hold her own in the YA world and will go far with Terra. There is no doubt that I want – and need – to read more. I cannot wait for the next one. In the meantime, I am sure I will read this again and again.

Profile Image for Beth  (YA Books Central).
415 reviews115 followers
January 15, 2013
So the cover is what immediately drew me into this book. What a gorgeous cover and yes I am one of those people that could possibly read a book just for the cover! (Or at least start a book)

I have seen a lot of people reference Hunger Games when reviewing this book but I did not get that feel at all. I felt more like a different version of Under The Never Sky. It felt alot more SCI-FI to me. The whole two worlds colliding and the mysterious boy meets girl issue.
I liked Terra at first but I have to say I wasn't crazy about the whole "scavenging" deal. I was more interested in what was going on with the people around it.

Adam was a very mysterious character but into the book we find out why....(I don't give spoilers)....

I liked the world building and the dystopian feel of the book. I love dystopians because you get to enter a whole new world and learn new things...Which makes it one of my favorite genres.

Overall I enjoyed the story line and my most favorite part was (of course) the last couple of chapters when everything ties together...A solid 3 1/2 stars.....So I am looking forward to reading the second one and discovering what happens next for Terra, Adam, and Mac......
Profile Image for Allison.
52 reviews
January 2, 2013
Interesting, quick read. There are many details about how how day-to-day life happens in this picture of the future and contrasting the lives of the poor Terrestials who live on the decaying earth with the rich sky Dwellers who live in floating, luxury sky cities.

However, even keeping in mind that this is a YA novel, and not an adult novel, the characters and plot do feel juvenile. I didn't like or dislike the main character Terra, and the descriptions of the "baby brother" bordered on cliche. The eventual plot that developed seems like a very long introduction to the future sequel, rather than a story that stands strong on its own.

That said, I kept eagerly reading to find out what would happen (in one night; I did enjoy it!) and to see what plot would develop, and was interested in the descriptions of this dystopia. It was worth the $4.99 ebook, and I'll likely read the sequel when it comes out. Overall, a good but not great first book.
Profile Image for Jen Robinson.
42 reviews
January 2, 2013
In full disclosure- I have to say that this was written by my sister- but familial relationships notwithstanding, I really enjoyed this book and think anyone who enjoys this genre will as well! It is a super quick read. The characters are engaging and the story line pulls you easily along right from the start. From the get go you are curious about this dystopian future, how it came to be this way, who is left in the world, what they do to survive, etc. The main character, Terra, is engaging, and you find her both irritating and sympathetic, which is very real. The romance (because there always has to be romance!) is not annoying and is realistic- everyone will finish the book with a crush on the boy! The action scenes are heart pounding and take your breath away. Everything about this novel is enjoyable- and I'm really excited for the next two!
10 reviews
January 13, 2013
An amazing first novel. Young Adult, certainly, and targeted for the teen girl. But it is a solidly crafted sci fi adventure, reminiscent in parts of the Heinlein coming-of-age young adult novels.

The setting is familiar but the details are novel and it is that attention to details as well as the smooth word-smithing that raises this head and shoulders above most of its genre.

Oh, I have a few quibbles concerning the pace of the central part of the book that is long on setting and character, but short on action. But the last 1/3 is a breath taking ride!

Other quibbles involve spoilers and are just my own hobby horses, so need not concern anyone else. All in all, a fun read and Ms.Powell has set a very high bar for herself for book #2 to come!
Profile Image for Samantha.
23 reviews4 followers
December 19, 2012
I've been obsessed with Young Adult dystopian novels even since I started 'Hunger Games'. Unfortunately, many that I have read have turned out to virtually be the same.

Not this book!!!!

Once started reading it, I could hardly put it down. Personally, I didn't see many of the twists and turns coming and I loved the elements of surprise. I love that it is easy to read, but so engaging. Before I knew it, I was wrapped in the world of Terra and Adam, and wishing it wasn't over.

This is a breath of fresh air to the YA novel scene. I can't give Gretchen enough praise and am anxiously awaiting the second book already!
Profile Image for Amanda Nadeau.
3 reviews4 followers
December 20, 2012
When the author sent me an advanced copy to read, I was a mix of excited and skeptical. I've liked some YA books, but haven't jumped on the bandwagon completely. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I found myself unable to put down my Kindle. Ms. Powell did an excellent job of immediately making you care about her characters. For a first novel, I think that is what impressed me the most: her character development and her use of dialogue. I never once felt like the dialogue was forced or fake. It read like a real conversation. I loved reading this novel and because of a big cliffhanger at the end, I can't wait for Ms. Powell's second novel!
3 reviews1 follower
December 18, 2012
I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this book since it's geared towards young adults, and I'm not really a young adult. But I really enjoyed it! The plot is similar to the few other dystopian YA books that I've read, but there are definitely some differences that I didn't see coming!
I thought this book was well-written, creative, and kept me guessing until the end (and beyond. I can't wait for the next book!).
1 review
December 13, 2012
I'm a huge fan of young adult dystopian literature and this book definitely did not disappoint. The story is engaging and the plot had the perfect amount of twists and turns to keep me on the edge of my seat without being over the top. If you've enjoyed other young adult books in this genre (Maze Runner, Hunger Games, Gone, Divergent) you'll love this one too. I can't wait for book two to come out to see what happens next!
Profile Image for Kelly (Diva Booknerd).
1,106 reviews299 followers
February 20, 2013

I loved this book! Gretchen Powell created a world so unique to escape to, it was devastating. Terra is the true star of this book, she reminded me of Katniss Everdeen, a strong heroine. She is independent and selfless with the weight of the world on her shoulders. Well written and even funny at times, I loved Terra's hostility and sarcastic remarks. By far the best dystopian based book I've read in a while. Eagerly awaiting the next installment.
Profile Image for Miranda Lynn.
789 reviews95 followers
January 7, 2013
This was so good, I couldn't stop reading and finished it in a matter of hours! If you liked Hunger Games & Divergent, you're missing out if you don't read "Terra" too. I thought that Powell did a great job of making the main characters relatable. I really cared about them. And the story is so interesting... I don't know how I'm going to be able to wait until the next one comes out!
Profile Image for Rachel.
344 reviews11 followers
February 19, 2015
Solid, enjoyable dystopian scifi story if a little bland at times. Terra and her brother are great characters. The love interest could've used more depth though. The instalove is ridiculous, as instalove generally is.
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