Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Publisher: Razorbill
Where did you get the book: Bought
Release date: Out now

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.

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

*This review contains some spoilers*

For those who know me, I’m not a huge lover of sc-fi type books as I really find all of the descriptions of ships and whatnot to send me off to sleep. So even though I’ve read good things about Across the Universe, I wasn’t that tempted to pick it up. But after finding myself with nothing to read the other night, I downloaded a sample from Amazon and low and behold, there was my evening (sleep actually) gone for the night when I bought the book and I was up until 3am finishing this story.

Across the Universe started off very strong, and I loved that Amy’s love of her parents made her follow them as ‘frozen cargo’, which meant she left all that she knew behind on earth. And I say this because it’s so rarely often you see a loving relationship between the protags and parents in YA. So when Amy is frozen, you would think that the next chapter would be when she woke up in 300 years with her parents, and throughout that time period Amy would not feel, dream, or imagine. But that’s not the case. Amy is in a half life dream state where she has semi-conscious thoughts, and I found that to be terrifying and it was the stuff of nightmares because can you imagine being like that for over 300 years?!

But Amy doesn’t wake up 300 years later, she wakes up much sooner and she’s lucky she didn’t die or drown when the frozen liquid unfreezes with tubes still down her throat. And when Amy wakes, she vaguely and with blurry vision sees Elder, the second in command of Godspeed and who is the male protagonist. Elder is in training to become Eldest who is in charge of the people upon Godspeed. The current Eldest is training Elder, and they butt heads quite often. There are different levels upon the ship and within each of these levels are people who have their own purpose. It’s the job of the Eldest to make sure that the people are run literally like cattle. Elder in most ways is quite immature and boy-like in his feelings and responses, and when he discovers the frozen cargo which has been hidden from him and everybody else on the ship, he looks upon Amy as if she was a new toy. So when Amy wakes up and realises how Godspeed is run, this is actually the stuff of nightmares for her.

I’m finding it hard to write this review because there are so many plot twists and explanations about how Godspeed is run that if I did that alone, the review would probably be over two pages long. Whilst there is a subtle romance between Amy and Elder, Across The Universe is not romance centric, and it’s more about the people, and how for so long — since a Plague took hold and killed off so many people — they are controlled right down to their DNA and hormones on board the ship. And mixed in with that is the other sub-plot of the frozen people being killed off.

And Elder is very different from the Eldest who comes across as a psychopath as when he sees Amy, his first thought is to chuck her out of the hatch into space. And Elder slowly begins to see that the way of life upon Godspeed is so terribly wrong, and he clashes with Eldest but doesn’t have the courage or the conviction yet to set upon a change. Yet when he gets to know Amy and he sees through her eyes what Earth used to be like, and how this is not how humans behave, he becomes more rebellious against Eldest, and the more he learns more about Godspeed the ship, the more horrified he is.

Again, there are so many subplots to talk about that I just can’t name them all, and this is where I have a problem with the book. There is just way too much going, and whilst I think it’s definitely a strong debut, I found myself confused so many times. Even writing this review, there is so much to talk about that I can’t fit it all in. But what I thought was conveyed so well was Amy’s loss and grief of being alone on this ship without her parents. And Amy contemplates waking up her Father so she won’t be alone because she thinks that in the future, they won’t need him. But she never does it, and I’m really looking forward to the next book in seeing how Amy adapts to her new role. Again, I know I’m vague and I apologise, but spoilers :D.

The book has it’s strong points in Amy and Elder, and it’s told in alternating chapters from their POV. And there is a revelation at the end that really took me for surprise, and I hope we get to see more of that revelation in the second book and how Elder and Amy deal with it.

Overall, Across The Universe is a fascinating read and I enjoyed it, but there were too many plots for me to follow and it ends up being somewhat of a confusing read. But I would definitely pick up the second book in the series and see how the story follows.

I give it a C+.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis”

  1. @blodeuedd: I definitely think that this author has so much potential as the plot is so different compared to other books in the YA genre. It was just too many interweaving plots that got quite confusing and hard to follow. But I’ll definitely be getting the second book.

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