In the premortal world, spirits were prepared to go to earth and receive bodies, according to the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jesus Christ volunteered to be the Savior, giving each the ability to choose while on earth. Satan also proposed a plan that would allow all the spirits to return to live with Heaven Father, but would essentially take away the freedom to choose.
“Earthbound” begins by introducing the reader to Sophie, a young spirit who is against Satan’s plan to take away free agency. She believes that people should have the freedom to choose once they come to earth.
Sophie meets a spirit named Daniel who is a leader of the Freedom Fighters. Shortly thereafter she meets Coe, a leader of the No Choice movement. Sophie is attracted to both spirits and is swayed by Coe’s good looks and charming words. Sophie has to eventually choose what sides she wants to be on.
While "Earthbound" is creative, the portrayal of the pre-existence is abnormal. The spirits that are about to leave for the earth go to parties, they dress in elegant clothing and play sports games. It almost seems like Sneed is describing a preppy high school.
The pre-existence and the war in heaven are described in a very casual way. The sacredness of the events seems to be downplayed.
If the religious context is taken out of the book, “Earthbound” could be an excellent book. With some alterations to the plot, Sneed could form a best-selling fantasy or science fiction book.
“Earthbound” does have its strengths. Teen girl readers will appreciate the love triangle that Sophie is in. Sneed creates interesting love interests for Sophie. Sneed also inserts several lighthearted moments between the main characters that are humorous.
“Earthbound” is a noble attempt to describe the pre-existence and the events prior to coming to earth. There is no inappropriate language or scenes in this book.
Sneed has written many award-winning poems and stories. The first book in the series, “No Angel,” is a 2011 Whitney Award finalist. "Earthbound" is a 2012 Whitney Award finalist in the speculative fiction category. The Whitney Awards recognize the efforts of Mormon novelists.
Shelby Scoffield has a bachelor's in English from Brigham Young University and a master's in rhetoric and composition from Stanislaus State University. She is currently working on her teaching credentials so she can teach high school English.