Across the Universe by Beth Revis

5 04 2012

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

A love made out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast ship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years into the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her reawakening 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 the list of murder suspects, there’s only one that really matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could have never seen coming.

In a nutshell, Across the Universe is a space opera. I’ll quickly call upon dictionary.com to define the word.  It defines space opera is this: “a science fiction drama, such as a film or television programme, esp. one dealing with interplanetary flight”. And to be truthful, if you remove the definition of “film or television programme” with “book” you have this story. Ut’s a science fiction drama that deals with interplanetary flight.

Space operas seem to becoming more popular in YA now, with titles like Glow and the upcoming release Starglass. It will be interesting to see if they stay popular, but at the moment it seems that they are holding strong, with more sci-fi planetary titles coming out and more being sold.

But I digressed, so let me return to what I thought about the book.

Across the Universe is a strong action thriller for sure, and if you read it based simply on pure adrenaline it would be a fast and interesting read. The action scenes are quick and fast, they keep you interested and are well written. The action scenes may have been my favorite part of the book.

But the rest of the book….not so much.

I found the plot to be fairly predictable. The “real baddie” is easy to guess and his reveal is far from a surprise.  Who unplugged Amy is also easy to figure out. Revis attempts a bit of foreshadowing but most of it doesn’t succeed and is too obvious. The “secrets” that form around the ship are easy to guess as well and many of them are tropes I’ve seem before (contaminated water, using forms of mind-control, etc). I found the plot to be pretty dragging and less of the science fiction epic that I had expected.

The characters….Hmm. I will say that my favorite character in this entire book dies, and if you’ve read the book it will be easy to guess which one. Amy and Elder seemed to be pretty decent characters. Elder’s journey — discovering that his mentor was not all that he expected and that his whole life is essentially a lie — isn’t that fresh but it’s a good read. I preferred Amy’s journey better, seeing as she coped and recovered in a new world, and I related to her more than Elder and really enjoyed how she reacted with being separated from her parents. I also didn’t really like the romance (which isn’t a shocker for me, but I really disliked the romance in this book). Elder seemed like he just suddenly started loving Amy and Amy seemed like she just started realizing he was around. I did like their relationship, however, and how they interacted around one another, even as they seemed more like friends than lovers.

And the truth is, the ending is pretty cheesy, and how the characters act (I’ll just say there are some pretty soppy reminders to “stay together forever”) seemed out of their characters.

Revis’s writing is really just fine, easy enough to read but sometimes chunky and fragmented. She has a lot of room for improvement but I think in her next few novels her writing will become better (as the old saying says: “every book is better than the last”).

I personally did not really enjoy this book, but if you are interested in science fiction, fantasy, space, romance, and the “space opera” it would be worth picking up. I will note that I am curious how this series continues and I will try and read the second book at some point. Essentially, this book wasn’t for me but some people will like it.

Three stars.

 

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