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Friday, January 14, 2011

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

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.
- from
So, time to write an actual review of this instead of mindlessly saying how much I like it (and I have said I liked it to lots of people).

I feel like the main complaint people are going to have with this book is that it's been done. The whole cryogenically frozen space ship where things go wrong thing does seem like a common sci-fi trope. Thankfully I don't read tons of sci-fi so Across the Universe felt really new to me. I was intrigued by chapter one which I read a little while ago. By the time I finished page 111 (which Beth Revis released on the release day), I was on the phone to my local bookstore to have them set aside a copy for me. I picked it up on the way home, devoured it all night and neglected all laundry, groceries, etc.

I liked this book. I
really liked this book.

It's one part science fiction, one part mystery and one part coming-of-age. While I guessed correctly who was behind the murders almost immediately, that didn't stop me from enjoying the story. There were lots of plot twists and lots of dark secrets to uncover and I really enjoyed learning that what I had suspected was actually the awful truth - and discovering new awful truths. It reminded me of reading mysteries when I was younger - you had all the clues to figure out what was going on and if you did figure out before the 'sleuth', you could sit back and enjoy watching them figure it out. Never did it feel like either of the protagonists was slow, however. I felt that both characters were fairly well developed and their uncovering of the mystery followed a natural progression that kept the suspense high.

I have to say that I did really like these characters even when they were doing unlikeable things. I think the switching points of view worked really well, especially at moments of high-tension. Poor Amy's parents aren't unfrozen when she is and so she misses them terribly and feels really alone. I felt that came clear really well. Elder's (for some reason almost typed Ender - must have another science fiction boy on my mind!) frustration and fear at being expected to govern a ship were all very real and understandable.

I would recommend this one to both guys and girls. There's a lot of suspense and science fiction-y goodness that I think will appeal to lots of teens. I think this is going to be (or maybe HOPE it is going to be) super popular. Can't wait to read more from Beth Revis.
reviewed from purchased copy

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