Thursday, December 23, 2010

ARC Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Publication: Razorbill (January 11, 2011)

Description: A Story of Love, Murder, and Madness Aboard an Enormous Spaceship Bound for the Future

Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed. She expects to wake up on a new planet, 300 years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing, Amy's cryo chamber is unplugged, and she is nearly killed.

Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed's passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader, and Elder, his rebellious and brilliant teenage heir.

Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she? All she knows is that she must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.

Across the Universe is Titanic meets Brave New World.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this novel that was part science fiction, part dystopia and part romance. I thought the book was very descriptive. In fact, I suffered just a touch of claustrophobia as Amy was describing the process of being cryo-frozen and the dreams she had while frozen.

The story is told in two voices. Amy is the girl from Earth who was frozen to travel the 300 years to be with her parents for the colonization of Alpha Centauri. She is considered non-essential personnel and was given a place only because her parents were essential to the new colony. She had very mixed feelings about leaving Earth for this adventure. Her father, in fact, was sure she would change her mind and stay on Earth.

When she is unexpectedly thawed, she almost dies. But she survives to find a very different world than the one she left. She is a person out of time. Her parents are still frozen and will be for at least another fifty years. She doesn't know anyone or know anything about the world she wakes up in. And what a world it is.

The ship is being led by an Eldest. There are distinct social classes including shippers and feeders. The feeders are kept drugged and happy as they grow the food for the ship. There are a class of people who live in the hospital who take pills for their mental illness. They are the artists and thinkers and the only ones that Amy actually thinks are sane.

Elder is Eldest's heir. He is being groomed to be the next leader of the ship. But Eldest isn't telling him much. He needs to sneak around to learn about the ship. He is disturbed when he discovers the cryo-frozen passengers because Eldest hadn't told him about them. There are lots of secrets about the ship that Eldest isn't sharing as he tries to make Elder an absolute dictator like he is. 

The way Amy is being treated by Eldest helps make Elder determined to rebel and make some changes when he is leader. Eldest is convinced that the only way to survive the journey is for everyone to be the same. Amy is different.

This was an excellent story. I liked the characters of Amy and Elder. Elder's friend Harley was interesting too as an artist who befriended Amy. Orion was a mysterious character who inhabited the House of Records and supplied cryptic hints for Amy and Elder to follow.

While I have some questions about the amount of time that has passed since the ship left Earth because it seems to me that the changes that occurred would have taken more than the 250 years that Amy is told have elapsed, I still enjoyed the story. I recommend it to young adult readers with a taste for dystopias.

Favorite Quote:
Sometimes it feels like a thousand years have passed; sometimes it feels as if I've only been sleeping a few moments. I feel most like l'm in that weird state of half-sleep, half-awake I get when I've tried to sleep past noon, when I know I should get up, but my mind starts wandering and I'm sure I can never get back to sleep. Even if I do slip back into a dream for a few moments, I'm mostly just awake with my eyes shut.

Yeah, cryo sleep is like that.


  1. Great review!I have a taste for dystopian novels! And I'm eagerly waiting for this!

  2. Great review! I just read this one last week and enjoyed it as well. I'm usually not a big fan of sci-fi, but, I agree w/ you-- it was an enjoyable read! Have a great holiday!

  3. Wonderful review! I'm really looking forward to reading this book. I love that quote you choose. Across the Universe sounds so good!

  4. I've been looking forward to this one for a while now. I love dystopian novels, and this one sounds like it puts its very own unique twist to the genre. Can't wait to read it!


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