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Book Review - Across the Universe

 Friday, 21 January 2011

*Eep* I'm falling behind! Must catch up!!

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Date: 15/1/2011 AM
Source: Bought
Description: 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. (Description taken from Goodreads)

My Review
With all the furore and excitement surrounding this book I could not wait until March when the UK paperback edition came out to read it. Plus I *so* wanted the awesome hardcover with the insanely cool reversible dust jacket that I "slipped" onto The Book Depository and it happened to "fall" into my basket :P

This has to be the first YA Science Fiction book I've read- I know some dystopia books I've read have been set on spaceships or other planets but they are more about the people and society whereas Across the Universe focuses more heavily on the ship itself and its journey through the stars, ergo it's more Sci-Fi. 

First off I loved the alternating POVs of Amy and Elder as you really see the differences between their views of the world - Amy found everything so alien while Elder found *Amy* to be strange and new whilst still intriguing at the same time. The reader feels very much like Amy trying to understand how life works on Godspeed and ponder on how the society became structured like it did.

I thought that the murder mystery aspect of the story wasn't all that difficult to figure out but I wasn't too concerned as there were plenty more surprises which I didn't see coming at all. The relationship between Amy and Elder was curious because she was still pretty hung on the guy she'd known on Earth before she was frozen so even though it'd been 250 since she left it still only felt like the other day for her - confusing much?

Elder was a really interesting character since for all his intelligence and the fact that he was the future leader of Godspeed he was incredibly ignorant about what actually went on in the ship- albeit thanks to the rather tyrannical rule of Eldest which was challenged wonderfully by Elder's rebellious curiosity.

Amy was a fantastic disruption to the previously smooth running of the ship. Her attitude and belief in choice and free will were the perfect ingredients to shake-up the docile populace aboard Godspeed. I thought she dealt marvellously well with the drastic changes she had to face although it's easy to understand her frustration at being trapped in a ship, unable to be with her family because she got woke up too soon.

The book sped by nicely and by the end we have had some questions answered but there is still much that I want to know. I am fascinated by the ship itself (in my nerdy way) and I really want to know more about the actual mechanics of it. There is a whole universe of possibilities for what could happen next and I know I'm not the only one who's dying to know!

Beth Revis has done a stellar job of creating the world on Godspeed with so many different facets despite it all being encapsulated within the comparatively small spaceship. It provides a most intriguing look into what our future could look like were we to ever stuff a load of people onto a generation ship and launch it into the unknown. A truly magnificent debut - I am now waiting impatiently for whatever she writes next.

This is not just a Sci-Fi story, this is a *YA* sci-fi story :P (all the awesome with none of the mind-sploding science jargon)

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I really hope that this book is the start of a trend of YA science-fiction stories since I really love the genre but most adult Sci-Fi books scare the pants off me because of the uber hard-core physics concepts they bandy about. Having stories about generation/cryo ships etc. where the character development isn't neglected would be *so* fabulous.

Godspeed folks


Madigan McGillicuddy 22 January 2011 at 00:08  

I am hearing such fantastic things about this book. I can't wait to read it. I'm signing up for Story Siren's YA Debut Challenge, and this book is on my list.

I love the header on your blog -- what a beautiful image!

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