Thursday, November 11, 2010

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):  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.

And here's what I thought:  I could not stop reading this book.  Ok -- maybe I paused once to grab a snack.  But then, it was right back into the book.   This was such a thought-provoking story, with characters that I really cared about -- and I just got swept up into the book.   I was originally intrigued by the story because I read a fair amount of science fiction (and yes, watch sci-fi tv and movies).  And from the very first part of the book, I knew this was going to be a great read.

When the story begins, Amy is going to undergo the cryofreezing -- and it sounds pretty awful.  Her mother goes first, and the description of what happens really was unpleasant. When it's Amy's turn, we experience it as she does, each step of the way.  And this didn't change throughout the book; it is told from alternating points of view, from Amy, and from Elder, so we get to see things as they do.   Both of them are completely different, coming from situations from two directions, so it creates an interesting back-and-forth with the story, and an increasingly fast pace.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was that there are some really thought-provoking elements.  On Godspeed, in a future time from when Amy is frozen, it is a "monoethnic" society; everyone is (more or less), the same.   And Eldest, the leader, is fine with that.  It's explained early on that "because we are not different, we don't fight." (p. 30)   It's such a simplistic way to think of things, but it's hard to completely dispute.  After all, we can all look at events throughout history and see that many conflicts arose because people only saw the differences between them, and focused on that alone.    However, making everyone the same isn't a real solution, either.     Revis brings up other things to make the reader think: genetic engineering, methods of controlling a population, and even roles in society.   At times, I was completely disturbed -- and this was a good thing (because some of the things are pretty disturbing).  I appreciated how the two viewpoints of Amy and Elder gave us insights into these issues, as each had their own experiences and beliefs (which were, most of the time, on opposite ends).  

Something else that was really cool about this book was how elements were layered together.  The whole time I was reading, I felt like I was peeling back layer after layer, excited (and a little worried) about what I'd find at the core.   The realistic characters, combined with a fast pace, and interesting story, made this a great read.     And if you'd like to know more about this author, she has a very cool blog, too!

Please note: any page numbers I cite are from an ARC of this book and may not reflect the actual page number upon final publishing.

First sentence(s):  "Daddy said, 'Let Mom go first.'  Mom wanted me to go first.  I think it was because she was afraid that after they were contained and frozen, I'd walk away, return to life rather than consign myself to that cold, clear box."

Thoughts on the cover: Beautiful.  With the couple suspended over the galaxy, it gives a good idea of what the story is about.  Really eye-catching and pretty!

Where I got this book:  From a used bookstore.  The owner had a few shelves of ARCs - if I bought a book, I got 1 ARC free.    This was a no-brainer choice --- I had seen bits about this book on the blogosphere and was excited to see the ARC on the shelf. 


Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Awesome review, Jo! I'm absolutely dying to read this sounds incredible! :)

Julie said...

Holy cow! You got an ARC of Across the Universe? I'm so jealous!! Cool bookstore to give away an ARC. I can't wait to read this. The first chapter (available online) is super good. Nice review!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for reviewing my book! :)

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