Across the Universe
by Beth Revis
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone – one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship – tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
I was a fan of Beth Revis long before I finally read this book. I follow Revis on her blog and twitter accounts and I get the feeling that I’d be friends with her if she lived on my street. Perhaps that’s why Across the Universe has lingered so long on my shelf. I was afraid that I wouldn’t like it, the same way I would feel if my a friend handed me her manuscript. I know my friend can write, but I’m fearful of not loving it as much as I think I should.
Fortunately my fears, once again, proved groundless. I am not a huge science fiction fan, preferring the fantasy aspect of science fiction to the actual sciencey part of the genre. Now, like the Host by Stephenie Meyer, Revis doesn’t try too hard to go over my head with the details about space travel. Maybe that will bother science fiction purists, but I think it makes for a great intro to sci-fi for the YA audience.
Across the Universe is thought provoking YA novel- which is kind of funny because most of the YA I read in the late 80’s and early 90’s during the time I actually qualified as young adult were designed much more to entertain and not to make the reader think. The entire story takes place on a ship heading for a new planet- a new Earth. The ship is fueled as much with lies and secrets as it is anything else. Amy, our heroine, was meant to sleep her way across the universe, waking only when the ship arrives at the new planet, but someone awakens her early and life aboard the ship is as alien to Amy as Earth is to the ship’s inhabitants.
The romance between Amy and Elder is subtle, and not the main focus of the book. When Amy is awoken early from hibernation, her memories of Earth feel like yesterday, and not 200 years ago. It makes sense that she’d be preoccupied with what’s happening on board. It also makes sense that she wouldn’t be quite ready for romance if she still has memories that feel like yesterday of the boy she left behind.
Elder is faced with many moral dilemmas and it was his character I most enjoyed reading about, if only because there is so much Amy’s character was kept in the dark about. Side characters, especially the shadowy Orion, helped invest me in the goings on aboard Godspeed. I’m hoping to meet even more characters in the next book!
I’m interested in Elder’s struggles as Eldest. Will he become a leader who rules through fears and lies or will he continue to try to follow his heart? While Amy would probably say his path is clear, and that truth and honesty should rule the ship, I think that Elder realizes that leadership is not that easy. I think the most interesting aspect of the next book will be Elder’s continuing awakening along with the rest of the people on board. Although Elder has Amy by his side, he’s been “raised” by Eldest, so who knows how Elder will rule?
I can’t wait to read A Million Suns. The only benefit to waiting as long to read Across the Universe as I did is that now I don’t have to wait long for the second book! Across the Universe was part of my Mount TBR challenge and I’m glad that I finally got around to it! I don’t read too much of this kind of genre (lately it seems I only read dystopian, which I still love, but it’s nice to have a change of pace). I’m even thinking of going back and re-reading my Xanth novels by Piers Anthony, which were my first real introduction into sci-fi.
Across the Universe gets a Midnight Book Rating of:
The cover of Across the Universe gets a Midnight Book Cover Rating of:
I love the colors! And I love the image of figures, it’s as if Elder is leaning down to kiss Amy as she lays sleeping in hibernation.