Sunday, September 11, 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Back in January when Across the Universe by Beth Revis was first released, it seemed as inescapable as the ship it takes place abroad. Every blog I turned to was raving of its merits, lusting over its iridescent cover, or otherwise exclaiming its virtues. Naturally, that meant that I wasn't interested in reading it. Rather- I was already sick of it before even picking it up, and so I let my copy sit in the pile of "books I'll get to someday" for the next six months. Then, before heading to the beach in July I packed up that stack of novels, figuring the two weeks away were a perfect opportunity for some of those titles I had been neglecting. And in a way, the stars aligned, because it turned out that Across the Universe was definitely a book for me, I just needed a little breathing room before we got to know each other. However, when we finally did, I was glad.

Across the Universe is told from in two alternating voices from two very different teenagers, and not just because they are of opposite genders and were born two hundred and fifty years apart. Amy was only seventeen when her and her parents were frozen and placed aboard the spaceship Godspeed, waiting three hundred years to be awoken on a new planet. Something goes wrong though, and Amy wakes up fifty years ahead of schedule. She is alone and thrust into a new world with new rules and the ever present threat that whoever tried to kill her will get her parents next. Amy is forced to rely on Elder, the future leader of the ship on which she is held captive and who perhaps may have answers to some of her questions. Together, they race to unlock the secrets hiding on board a spaceship fueled by lies before it is too late.

There were so many things I loved about Revis' story. It was incredibly unique, and it makes science fiction approachable and relateable. Spaceships are not high on my list of settings to read about, but Godspeed comes to life and the novel even includes a map for more visual readers to get acquainted with the location. There are also many details and technological inventions that fill the story with authenticity, and unlike many other novels I have read which are set in the future- XVI by Julia Karr for example, which I did enjoy nonetheless- I really felt like I understood what all of these things did and what their purpose was.

Across the Universe begins with a bang but then develops slowly, the reader is instantly drawn into the world, Amy's panic, Elder's curiosity, but then Revis lets you settle in and doesn't rush the story but instead lets it unfold naturally. I've read before that Revis came up with a twist, and then built a story in which she could use that twist, and so I had high expectations for the mysteries hiding on the ship. I was not at all disappointed, in the end I felt like everything fit together but was also completely unpredictable and I loved it.

My only minor thing to nit-pick about Across the Universe is the title, between the Beatles song and the corresponding film, it just feels overused for such an original novel. I feel like another title, perhaps Godspeed, might have been more appropriate. That said I don't care what the names of the next two books in the series are, I'm going to be picking them up regardless! 

In the end, I'm glad I waited to pick up Across the Universe, because reading it now means that there are that many fewer months to wait until the followup, A Million Suns, is released and I can climb aboard Godspeed and enter the fantastical world of Amy and Elder once again.

Release Date: January 11th, 2011
Pages: 398
Source: ARC From Publisher
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