Crystal Starr Light's Reviews > Across the Universe

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
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Oct 07, 11

bookshelves: young-adult, science-fiction, signed-by-author
Read from September 29 to October 06, 2011 — I own a copy

Amy Martin is put into cryogenic freeze with her parents, to travel to a far distant world called Centauri-Earth, which the ship, Godspeed will reach in 300 years. But she is awakened suddenly and nearly dies in the process. Who woke her from her sleep and who is killing the others cryogenically frozen?

I love science fiction. I love Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica...even hard scifi, like Arthur C. Clarke. And when I started this book, I adored it! There is just far too little scifi out there in the young adult market right now. To me, this is a breath of fresh air.

But alas, I can't just sing praises of this book and move on. While I did greatly enjoy this book, much like Divergent, a lot of the problems in this book are the result of technology/world building.

REASONS WHY THIS WAS ENJOYABLE

+ Amy. I liked how she sacrificed a lot to be with her parents (her boyfriend, dreams of running in a marathon, etc.). I liked how she didn't fall into insta-love with Elder or any of the other males on the ship. I also liked how she drove the investigation into the mysteries of the ship--the culture and the people being removed from cryofreeze. Even at the end, she plays an important role in the "Final Showndown".

+ Elder. I liked how he was drawn to Amy because of her hair and how he was constantly thinking about "getting physical" with her. I felt that it was pretty realistic for a guy, without getting creepy or going too far. I liked how he was questioning his role as a leader before meeting Amy.

+ No romance. As I said above, Amy and Elder don't immediately see each other and get all googly-eyed. In fact, there are times where Amy hates Elder. Even at the end, there is a hint of perhaps romance, but no kisses, no swooning.

+ The Mystery. A lot of times, if people are thinking scifi, they may not think "mystery". Much like fantasy gets connected with elves and romance with heaving bosoms, scifi gets coupled with laser guns and aliens. This book really takes a different route, one that I really enjoyed following along. I loved trying to figure out the whodunnit (though sadly, I kinda guessed it very early on in the book).

+ Thoughtful Questions. Is it right to rule people with an iron fist? What if the truth could be harmful? How much truth should you reveal? If you like books with thoughtful questions that don't get nicely wrapped up in ribbons and bows at the end, this is your book.

+ The Ship. The idea of cryogenically freezing some people and leaving others to run the ship while en route was great. I loved how the ship society greatly changed (how Amy had some trouble understanding what they were saying because of the dialect) and evolved as the ship traveled through space (but...).

REASONS WHY I WENT "HUH?!"

+ Padding. This book could EASILY have had 100+ pages cropped from the middle. There was WAY too much time spent on the Season, the near-rape experience was 100% unnecessary (the results from this encounter were already FIRMLY hammered into the audience's head, and Amy is never nearly as traumatized by this event as she should be), Amy and Elder bring up questions, then proceed to wander around and do nothing. It's a shame, because when they FINALLY started to ask questions and WAIT for the answers, the book was completely gripping.

+ Logistics. Having children only once per generation isn't going to repair the population crisis. In fact, it's likely to make it worse. Why bother with a Season in the first place when you could have all your women go to the doctor and be artificially inseminiated? That way you could control when the children were born and avoid incest in one shot. Engines do NOT work the same way in space (vacuum) as on Earth. They would NOT need to be kept running 24/7 to keep the ship moving, so this bullcrap about the ship's engines running at 40% maximum speed is WRONG. Newton's First Law, baby: An object in motion WILL STAY IN MOTION.

+ Society. Why does every future society just decide religion is stupid? Wouldn't a NEW religion have evolved--such as one idolizing the stars? Why are the only new words "floppies" and "chutz"? Why is "chutz" used for EVERYTHING from "being brave" to a d-ag?

+ Sketchy Transitions. Sometimes people will just start to move or leave a place with little to no warning. For instance, Eldest says "come", then suddenly, Elder is jogging to catch up with the apparently moving Eldest.

+ Viewpoints. I can't tell you how many times I had to go to the beginning of the chapter to see who was narrating! It seemed to be worse the further in the book I got.

+ Stereotypical characters. Eldest likes Hilter; therefore, he is a bad guy. Orion has long hair and acts crazy; therefore, he is crazy. Doc is a doctor; therefore, he is a neat freak. Harley paints; therefore, he is a tortured genius. We need to bump off Jason, make sure no one misses him (particularly Amy), so let's make him a two-timer.

+Technology. Even with the reasons in the book, it is weird how little has changed. There are wi-coms, but why not create them to be activated mentally instead of by touching your hand to your ear? Why not have them also be listening devices? Floppies seem strange--paper-thin computers? (And I literally mean paper-thin) Why not just wire it through the wi-com? Grav tubes, wi-coms, and floppies are the only new inventions in the ~250 years of traveling? By that same logic, in 2011, we should still be using plows and horse drawn carriages.

So...while I really liked the book, I really had some problems with the world-building, as you can see. This is a clever book, with an interesting story and good ideas, but I don't think it pushes far enough. I don't expect Arthur C. Clarke hard scifi, but a little more facts mixed in would have been nice in addition to some serious editting in the middle section. Even with the flaws, I defintiely will be checking out the sequel.
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Quotes Crystal Starr Light Liked

Beth Revis
“This is the secret of the stars, I tell myself. In the end, we are alone. No matter how close you seem, no one else can touch you. ~ Amy”
Beth Revis, Across the Universe


Reading Progress

09/29/2011 page 24
6.0% "After two REALLY SERIOUS books, I need something a bit fluffier..."
09/29/2011 page 32
8.0% "How is it all these future societies just suddenly decide that religion is stupid? Has there EVER been a time in the history of the human race where that has happened??"
09/30/2011 page 71
18.0% "Got to meet Beth Revis last night (SQUEE). She seems like a real neat cookie. Oh, yeah, and the book is still pretty interesting, though what is with "chutz" being both a noun and an adjective that don't have anywhere near the same definition?"
09/30/2011 page 77
19.0% "Glad to get to the part where Amy comes back!"
10/01/2011 page 91
23.0% "Okay, I love how Amy is disturbed and disgusted when Elder is watching her sleep. You know, the real reaction a person would have if they knew they were being watched."
10/01/2011 page 109
27.0% "I don't see how the ship population rebounded after the plague if they only had kids every 20 years. I have no trouble believing in regulating childbirth (We, Brave New World, etc.), but this wouldn't work--the population would only get smaller."
10/02/2011 page 164
41.0% "This is totally a guilty pleasure for me."
10/03/2011 page 217
55.0% "Pros: No romance, no romantic triangle, mystery, cool world, girl loves her parents, no insta-love Cons: Some sketchy transitions, funky world building, not enough changes for future, very obvious portrayal of Eldest as next Hitler (even while trying to make him sympathetic!)"
10/04/2011 page 237
60.0% "Okay, that near rape scene was totally unnecessary..."
10/04/2011 page 243
61.0% "Book! Stop doing things to make me not like you! Jason is a d-bag? Population density of 1 person/2 sq acres is a lot? I REALLY want to like you!!"
10/05/2011 page 271
68.0% "*Sung to the Star Wars tune* Padding! Moooore Padding! So much Padding! What is the point?"
10/06/2011 page 302
76.0% "Frustrated...more padding, and what a clunky way to regulate pregnancies! Why not just go to the freakin' doctor and have him artificially inseminate the women there? Get rid of the whole sex thing all together??? Make it even more dystopian..."
10/06/2011 page 334
84.0% "NO!! Engines do NOT work that way in space!! Newton's First Law, baby! (which is a shame, because I REALLY like the idea of the book!)"
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly a review written with great love (for sci fi). Very nice.


Crystal Starr Light Joselito wrote: "a review written with great love (for sci fi). Very nice."

Thank you!!! :)


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