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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized4 Comments

Publisher: Razorbill

Source: Received from Publisher for Review
Publication Date: 11 January 2011
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 1595143971
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Pages: 398

Place(s) Traveled to: Somewhere between Earth (year 2040) and Centauri Earth (estimated arrival  2390) on the ship Godspeed

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First Line: Daddy said, “Let Mom go first.”

Related Posts: Fragment Friday // Book Trailer Monday
Series Order
Book 1 – Across the Universe
Book 2 – Currently Untitled (January 2011, assumption)
Book 3 – Currently Untitled (January 2012, assumption)

It is no secret how much I love space although what people may not know is that there was a time when I seriously considered working for NASA as an aeronautical engineer. I used to love going to see my Uncle who lived in Cape Canaveral, Florida and the trips we would take to the Kennedy Space Center and I would hope that on that trip there were be a shuttle launch to watch. I used to watch the movie Space Camp over and over and long to go in the hopes that I might accidentally be sent into space. So you can imagine just how geeked out I get over books that deal with space ships and space travel. I was so very excited when I heard about Across the Universe by Beth Revis and then even more excited when I received a copy in the mail for review.

Across the Universe is a dual point of view book with alternating chapters told by Amy (a girl from Earth who was frozen for the ships flight) and Elder (a boy who is being raised to be the future leader of the ship.) The book opens with Amy and her parents on Earth in the year 2040 preparing to be frozen for a 350 year journey to a new planet with 300 chosen people. Due to an accident or potentially sabotage Amy is awoken from her frozen state 50 years too early while the ship is still en route. She is quickly branded as different and a freak because she was red hair and pale skin. For during the 300 years of travel the ships inhabitants have all become similar in appearance. The ship is run by Eldest who acts more like a dictator than a benevolent leader.

This was a book that I really wanted to love. Sadly it did not live up to all the hype. The start of the book was a bit slow and things didn’t really start moving until Amy was awoken and she and Elder started to interact. Although  I never did buy them as a couple. They seemed more like friends and even that seemed forced at times. And the mystery wasn’t all that mysterious for me. It might stump some people but I saw it coming from a mile away. There were also no real twists or turns that would make me second guess myself or prove me wrong. So I found that pretty disappointing as this was supposed to be a mystery set on a space ship. The same was for the little mysteries and oddities in the book as well.

Eldest was a bit over the top in his zeal to control the population and it was pretty easy to see through him to what the “truth” according to Revis was. I remember seeing somewhere someone getting upset at a reference to Hitler and how he was referred to as a great and revered person. And in my opinion, that’s not how I read the scene. Yes the words that Elder was saying where those but I think as a reader we’re supposed to take away from it just how history has been corrupted to suit the needs of Eldest. Hitler wanted to create this master race where everyone looked the same and did specific jobs and knew their place. On the current day Godspeed that Amy finds herself on that is exactly the society that Eldest is in control of. One aspect of this book, I think, was to show how such lack of diversity in appearance and thought was a bad thing. The Hitler reference was also not the only altered historical accounting. All religions were treated as myths and fairy stories and even the Gettysburg address was changed. It will be interesting to see how these corruptions will be corrected/dealt with in later books.

I love the world building and the idea of how life evolved on the ship. I don’t know how this story can continue on for another two books. Everything seemed to be wrapped up nicely and there wasn’t any mystery left in this world. There were no real gray areas in Across the Universe every character was exactly as they seemed. Eldest was corrupt and power hungry hating anything different. Doc was his trusted minion a total follower. Elder was that latent spark that of discontent that became fueled when he met Amy. Amy was the catalyst who caused change and based on little hints here and there I think she’ll probably be reintroducing religion to the folks of Godspeed. Also, did anyone else find it weird that every time Amy referred to her parents it was as Mommy and Daddy? To me that doesn’t seem normal for a 16 year old girl to do. I know at 16 I just said mom or dad. The Mommy and Daddy only came out when I was trying to weasel something out of them – like the car keys or an advance on my next babysitting gig.

Overall, I found this book kinda meh and while writing this review I feel as though there is so much that I am forgetting to say. Which isn’t a good thing since I only finished this book a short time ago and it should all still be really fresh in my brain. For me, it didn’t live up to the hype and I will have to play it by ear on if I read the second book in the series or not. I will have to wait until a synopsis is revealed until I make my final choice. How about you? What did you think of Across the Universe? What do you think will happen in book 2? Let me know in the comments!

4 Responses to “Across the Universe by Beth Revis”

  1. Janicu

    I had a similar reaction I think. The world was interesting but the characters and plot didn’t live up to my expectations.

    I think that the second/third books could be about Elder and Amy trying to be leaders of the ship after the events of book 1, or it could be about other characters years later on the ship or when the ship actually lands.

  2. tapestry100

    Well, now I’m not so sure I want to rush out and pick this book up. I do like the reversible dust jacket on the finished book, so that there is a covered marketed towards either a girl or a guy. I think that’s a clever touch. The story, however, seems to be lacking a little. I think I’m going to see what some more people have to say about it before I make up my mind.

  3. Michelle

    I liked it more than you did but it wasn’t a “I love it!” scenario for me either. I do think Revis did a good job with the world building and I felt like there was definitely a feeling of mystery. Was it entirely unpredictable? No. Was it slow going? Yea, a bit slower going than I tend to like. But all in all I found it an interesting concept and an intriguing read.