Rummanah Aasi
 I've heard lots of great reviews on Beth Revis's debut novel, Across the Universe, since its release in January. I've had the book on my radar since then and it has been very popular at my public library where I work. I finally got a chance to check it out and read it. For the most part, I did enjoy it but I did have a few qualms.

Description: Amy has been  having been cryogenically frozen and placed onboard a spaceship which was supposed to land on a distant planet three hundred years in the future, but she is unplugged fifty years too early and finds herself stuck inside an enclosed world ruled by a tyrannical leader and his rebellious teenage heir. Confused about who to trust, Amy is convinced that someone is trying to kill her.

Review: Across the Universe is a quite deceiving book. Its cover suggests that it is a romance as a female and male figure are a breath away from an inverted kiss. The book's description suggests that it is a science fiction murder mystery. So which is it? Actually, it's kind of neither but leans toward the dystopian, science fiction thriller genre. 
  As the book opens, Amy's family chooses cryogenics (i.e. being frozen alive) so they can be defrosted when the spaceship Godspeed completes its 300-year journey to a new planet. Amy's cyro-wires are unplugged by someone on the spaceship fifty years earlier, nearly killing her. She wakes to meet Elder, another teen, named for his leader-in-training position. Elder is the spaceship next heir to command the ship. His mentor is Eldest, the ironfist leader who refuses to teach Elder the critical details for running Godspeed. While Amy and Elder get to know each other, other frozens are being unplugged and are unplugged. Amy was awaken for a reason. What is it? Is she suppose to be alive? These questions are the crux of the novel, that is until the book starts to deviate and incorporate the tropes of a dystopian novel much like the fashion of Huxley's Brave New World leaving the murder mystery lagging a bit behind.
  The narrative is alternated by Amy and Elder, both written from the first person point of view. I found myself drawn to Amy's chapters. Her voice is powerful, particularly when she describes being trapped semi-consciously frozen which gave me goosebumps. You can feel Amy's panic, longing, and anger in her chapters. The Elder chapters, however, were a bit distant, quite bland, and robotic which suits his character quite well. Elder does change from a passive role to a much more active one by the end of the novel and I'm curious at to where Revis takes his character in the next two books (There are three books planned in the Across the Universe series.) There is a very subtle romance between Amy and Elder. They find themselves attracted to one another as they get closer, but the romance doesn't really build or overtake the story. It's definitely a subplot the author could use or leave.
  As for the other characters, I didn't really find Eldest that terrifying and found his character development a bit lacking. The murderer is identified later in the book, but I had my suspects narrowed quite a bit when I got to three-fourths into the story. After knowing who, I wanted to know why, which wasn't really explained.
  I had a bit of a hard time trying to imagine a large ship that contains many floors including farms on board. On board the ship, there are people who are genetically selected to do their job. This made me wonder why have not the problems on the ship be solved if there are that many capable people on board? There are a few unexpected twists and turns just enough to hold my interest and continue to turn the pages. Across the Universe is a fast read and the plot moves fairly quickly.
  Despite a few bumps in my reading, I did find Across the Universe enjoyable and I would recommend it to readers who like "light" science fiction, dystopian or even thrillers. I also thought the reversible cover, which illustrates Godspeed, would draw more readers from boys and girls alike. I look forward to seeing what happens next in the second book, A Million Suns, which will be released sometime in January 2012.


Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is an attempted rape scene that is quite frightening and there also some quasi animalistic sex scenes in the book. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2) by Beth Revis-Available January 2012
6 Responses
  1. Great review! You have a fabulous blog! I’m an author and illustrator and I made some awards to give to fellow bloggers whose sites I enjoy. It’s not a pass on award. This is just for you to keep. I want to award you with the Best Books Blog Award for all the hard work you do! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review all these books for us authors and readers.

    Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.
    ~Deirdra


  2. Jenny Says:

    Reading about Amy getting put in that cryogenic chamber made me crazy claustrophobic, I can't even imagine doing what she did knowing she'd be in there for years and years. I'm definitely curious to see where this one goes too now that certain things have changed:) Lovely review Rummanah!


  3. Missie Says:

    Hmm... I started this book, but got bored and put it down. Seems like I made a error in doing so. Thinking back, I guess it was because I was expecting more romance, based on the cover.

    I agree with finding Elder's chapters very bland. I guess that is another reason why I gave up. If I can't swoon over the boy, why bother? LOL

    I'm so shallow. I should rename myself The Shallow Reader! :D

    Very thoughtful and helpful review, Rummanah. Thanks!


  4. Annette Says:

    I didn't really get this cover. It drew me to the book, and I thought it was pretty, but after I read it, it just didn't fit.

    Great review!


  5. I love this book and it's mix of dystopia and sci-fi. I do think the cover is a bit misleading but very beautiful. I imagine it would turn male readers off and I think guys might like this :)


  6. Krystianna Says:

    I'm glad to hear that you liked this one. I've been meaning to pick up the sequel for a while now. Thanks for the review. :)


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