Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe has a lot to offer young adults who like a science fiction story about interstellar travel. 

The story begins with Amy, a teenager, watching as her parents are cryogenically frozen for a 350-year trip aboard the Godspeed to colonize another planet. Amy is then frozen herself.

We are then introduced to Elder, a teenage boy on the ship many years later, who is being trained to govern the ship by Eldest. It seems that things have not gone as planned, and the ship is very different than when it left the earth.

Amy is mistakenly unfrozen, almost killed, and is stunned by the conditions of the ship and its inhabitants. Elder is enamored with Amy—she is so different than the people he is used to. But then other things begin to go wrong. Other people are accidentally unfrozen and killed in the process. Who is doing this? Elder is beginning to suspect that Eldest is keeping a lot of secrets from him, and this isn’t how his training is supposed to go.

It all gets very confusing for these travelers. There’s danger, there’s mystery, there’s lots of deceit, and I don’t think any reader will be able to figure it all out before the end of the story. Revis does a good job of pulling you in.  The tension builds slowly but steadily. I could feel for Amy—she’s so lost and disoriented, and of course she misses her parents terribly.

I got frustrated with Elder. It seemed like he should have had many questions a lot earlier—but then, he had been born on this ship and raised with certain beliefs that he has had no reason to question.

Even though this book is almost 400 pages, it reads quickly. The chapters alternate between Amy and Elder’s point of view. It’s one of those books that you want to throw across the room once in a while because it just seems like everyone needs to wake up and figure things out! So, you really need to get to the end, and it’s an easy book to read, so that part isn’t difficult. All is not solved though, as this is the first book of a planned trilogy. I'll be anxious to see what is in store for these teens.

There are subtle lessons about the mistakes of history and what causes a society to fail that could make this book worthy of discussion in a classroom or book club. Teens who like science fiction and mystery will be drawn to this story. I will not hesitate to recommend this to both girls and boys since there are two strong main characters of the opposite sex. 

Published by Razorbill, 2011
Personal copy won from Aimee at Getting Your Read On
398 pages (qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)

Rating: 4/5

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  1. I have this book and can't wait to read it! I'm not much of a science fiction lover, but the premise for the book seems great!
    Thanks for the review.

  2. I wish I had liked this book more than I did, but the cohesion for me wasn't quite there. I might read the second book though if I see it in the library, especially if the cover is as gorgeous as the first.

  3. I still really want this book. Yours was one of the best reviews I've read. Thanks!

  4. I enjoyed this too. I don't read much science fiction. But I liked the world building here and the characters. I could feel Amy's claustrophobia. For the others, who had never known anything different, I wasn't sure why they would yearn so much for something beyond their world. Still, the suspense was well done.

  5. Great review! I really liked Across the Universe, but it wasn't what I was expecting. I think that my favorite part was how believable Elder and Amy were as characters. I loved watching Elder question his society, and Amy question her own existence. :)
    - Alyssa of Redhead Heroines
    Book Review of "Across the Universe" by Beth Revis


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