Across the Universe by Beth Revis; Review

by Madeleine Rex


Title:
Across the Universe

Author: Beth Revis

Published: January 11th, 2010

Number of Pages: 416

Rating: 4/5

Quote:

These are two little lines of Elder’s that I love. The second I’d read them, I went back and read them again…

And that’s why I’ll neber be as good an Eldest as he is.

Because I like a little chaos.

Amy seems to inspire me to be all kinds of different.

Synopsis:

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

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 Goodreads]

Review:

There’s been a lot of hype concerning Across the Universe, yet I haven’t read a single review yet. I had no idea what I should really expect from the book. And now, having read it, I’m certain that no one review could possibly touch on every aspect.

This book is full to the brim. If you blow on it, it’ll overflow.

As my friend Miranda pointed out to me, the stakes are incredibly high in this book. You know from moment one that whatever is about to happen will be B.I.G. You’ve got frozen people, a spaceship, a three-century-long journey, a dystopian society within the spaceship, and murder.

It’s pretty much the alpha and omega of young adult science fiction.

Told from two POVs, Across the Universe is both Amy and Elder’s story.

Life aboard Godspeed, the ship, is anything but surreal. Anything but the American dream of space-life. Sure, there’s peace, quiet, and efficiency, but there’s nothing that makes life worth living. Instead, Elder’s world is flooded with indifference and a total lack of everything that makes us human. The robotic, shells of people that wander the roads of Godspeed might as well have no minds at all. The people who are actually living life – who have imaginations and have the ability to think individually – are considered mad. This is the world Elder was born into, has lived in for 16 years, and will eventually lead.

Amy is the oddball. The freak of freaks. With her bright red hair and pearly skin, she disrupts the monoethnic, bland life around her. Not only is she stranded on this ship of horrors, surrounded by people who have no idea how poor and depressing their lives are, but there’s a murderer on the loose – someone who, apparently, wanted to kill her first. Somebody is drowning people in the very ice they were frozen in.

Though I suppose I was meant to relate to Amy effortlessly, I found myself more eager to read Elder’s chapters. Amy was ironically unremarkable to me, and Elder was fascinating. I appreciated Amy most for the role she played in opening Elder’s eyes, in pulling him out of the pool of ignorance he was drowning in. Elder’s journey as he’s forced to consider the fact that everything he knows is wrong and contemplate change is the one I read for. He was the character I pitied and sympathized with. My favorite part of Amy’s character was her love for her family, namely her parents. I could easily relate, and I’m always pleased when a teen protagonist isn’t at odds with her parents, as is so often the case.

The leader (or dictator) of the ship, Eldest, is exactly the sort of villain I love. He’s smart, cunning, and is entirely sure that what he is doing is what absolutely must be done. I love antagonists who believe their actions are justified. Suddenly they aren’t pawns, but people with belief systems and values, no matter the fact that those values are disgusting. I appreciate the thought that goes into fleshing out villains who aren’t simply out of their minds, but dementedly philosophical.

Across the Universe made me think about all the ways in which a society can be run. The easiest way out is not always the best. It is simpler to yank away people’s free agency and turn them into drones. It maintains order and keeps everyone in a constant state of blind contentment. But is it right? Can robbing people of themselves ever be justifiable? Of course, none of us believe it is. It was examining the other side of the argument and trying to wrap my head around Eldest’s mindset that fascinated me. There are so many opinions on how to run a prosperous society in this book. I happened to be (re)reading Fahrenheit 451 for my English class while reading this, and the similarities were shocking.

There were a few factors that bumped the possible 5/5 rating to 4/5. I never felt as emotionally attached to Amy as I wished to, which was a huge disappointment. I also felt as though the onslaught of issues in the book should have affected me more. I wasn’t as worried as I should have been, and I believe some of that has to do with how the events played out. There were certainly aspects that scared the heck out of me and left my stomach squirming, but in the end, I don’t believe the book gave me the desired feeling of satisfaction.

I’d like to point out that this is Beth’s debut novel, and that every single thing that disappointed me can easily be fixed. Across the Universe is amazing. I could never in my wildest dreams write a novel so jam-packed with everything imaginable. It’s like a fruitcake… but better. Beth Revis is probably choking on her own potential.

3 Commentsto “Across the Universe by Beth Revis; Review”

  1. LOL I advise you not to compare books to fruitcake because they are ewwwy! xD Great review! You touched on so many topics and I agree I never really connected with Amy either. And dont you think this would make an insane movie? :p

  2. You touched on a lot of the things I loved about this book, mainly how it addressed IDEAS and made you really think about things. And your analysis of Eldest is perfect, he wasn't just some randomly evil guy…he had motivations which helped make this a compelling read.

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