Friday, January 21, 2011

YA Sci-Fi - Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe is a science fiction/mystery/romance book for teens. It takes place on Godspeed, a spaceship that has been hurtling across space for 250 years. The ship carries an untold number of cryogenically-frozen people, most of whom are needed in scientific, medical, or military capacities on the new planet that Godspeed is headed to. Also on the ship are two thousand workers who keep the ship running smoothly or who are agriculturalists. These people are ruled by Eldest and his student, Elder.

Amy is one of the frozen passengers. She's a teenager, and she only went on the journey because her parents did. She's upset about leaving all her friends, particularly her boyfriend, Jason. Things aren't going well for her on the trip - she's homesick and not entirely unconscious while she's frozen. Then she gets woken up early, and things get even worse. Amy's premature defrosting looks like attempted murder, but who on the ship would do such a thing? Most of the workers don't even know about the frozen people, and most don't have access to them...

Besides being homesick and stuck for fifty years without her parents, Amy is seen as a "disturbance" by Eldest. She's different, and on Godspeed, differences are the first cause of discord. Sixteen-year-old Elder, however, isn't really bothered by her presence. He's felt like an outcast all of his life, and Amy seems to be more like him than the other people on the ship are. Maybe that's because she hasn't lived her whole life on Godspeed which, as Amy and Elder gradually find out, is ruled by secrets...

I'd heard really great reviews of Across the Universe, so I expected it to be absolutely, totally spectacular. It didn't completely let down my rather high expectations. For the first 300 pages, however, I was impatient and couldn't see why this book had gotten so much hype. Yeah, the story line was pretty good, but it wasn't absolutely amazing. Plus there's this mating Season thing that really, really bothered me. It seemed like it was ripped straight out of Ape and Essence by Aldous Huxley. One description of a human mating season is more than enough for me.

But then at about page 300 the book got absolutely amazing. I couldn't believe how everything came together! (even the Season, which bothered me much less because it was part of a bigger picture) The novel went from being just an interesting story to having a deeper meaning as a description of how a microcosm of a human world could deteriorate into being run by lies and manipulations. I will end this review (which does not do this book justice) here so that I don't give away the astounding conclusion....

Maturity Factor: There's that mating Season thing, which includes lots of sex (though not between the main characters). Personally, I found it disgusting.

I purchased Across the Universe from my local bookstore. It came out earlier this January.


  1. I had sort of the opposite feeling--I thought the beginning was strong, but that the ending was rushed. If I'd known it wasn't a standalone, I might have approached it differently! I enjoyed it, but I hope some of the threads get more attention in the next books.

  2. Actually, I agree that the ending - like the final show-down climax - felt rushed. It wasn't enough to really annoy me, though.

  3. I came across this review cause I just saw what you wrote on the second book. But as I haven't read this one yet and it sounds rather interesting I think I'm going to take a look at it. It's on my to read-list now :)