Amelia's Reviews > Across the Universe

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
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Across the Universe is a solid novel by Beth Revis. The plot revolves around two characters, Amy and Elder, who are both on the ship Godspeed which is supposed to land on a new planet so the crew onboard can make it a place of life. Amy and her two parents, who are important to the task, are cryogenically frozen so 300 years later, they can be there to help the new planet with their knowledge. But, when someone unplugs Amy before she lands, she meets Elder, the boy who will run the ship when his aging father, Eldest, dies. There are many things that not even Elder knows, and he needs the help of Amy and many others to find out the truth—one that might change the whole mission.
That being said, this novel's plot may be superb.
I may be half in love with one of the characters.
But Amy, the "protagonist" annoyed the crap out of me.
She is probably the most whiny protagonist girl I have ever read from. She whined for her parents (read: "daddyyyyyyyy"). She whined for her boyfriend who she WILLINGLY LEFT BEHIND. She whined about Elder. She whined about the mental hospital. She whined about the ship.
She goes on the hall of fame of probably worst protagonists I've read. And that list includes Luce of Fallen, Ever of Evermore, and more horrendous train-wrecks.
So what is it that made me love this novel enough to buy it?
Elder, Harley, and the plot (at the end).
1: Elder
So help me god, if Elder hadn't been there for half the time narrating, I probably would have hated this book. He was so real. I mean I never heard Amy gushing her heart out about how perfectly perfect he was. (Then again, it seems her boyfriend Jason was so perfect that she wishes she were back home) He had meaning. I enjoyed how his reactions were realistic, and he sounded like a guy.
2: Harley
Harley wins all the awards. He's on my list of "most dimensional characters I've ever read". You don't know his backstory at first (and you don't actually find the root of it until the end) but it doesn't matter. He's such a lovable and round character that I can see him coming to life.
By the way, the list includes Katniss Everdeen (and a few other Hunger Games people), Neville Longbottom (and a few other Harry Potter people), and only a couple others. He's seriously one of my all time favorite characters. He makes mistakes like a human, but he redeems himself and doesn't turn into an antagonistic character because he did something wrong.
3: The Plot
First, I have to complain for a while. I'll try to make it quick:
The beginning with Ender confused me SO much. I think I skipped over it for a while and read Amy's perspective. She was still whiny then, but I could tolerate her. Seriously though, Ender's beginning was one of the weakest beginnings for a character I can think of, and it's not like she made him look bad.
It's just what he was doing made absolutely no sense at all, until the end, when I went back and reread it.
BESIDES THAT, the plot went at a speeding fast pace after that. The relationship between Elder and Amy was more realistic than usual, but I'm just going to say this:
It's been shown in studies that people who physically look the opposite of us we stay away from, because that's what human nature is. Back to the cavemen times, if someone had a different mark on their forehead, it meant they were from an opposing tribe who wanted to kill you. You wouldn't go mate with them, because you see them as a "bad guy".
So when Elder was immediately attracted to Amy because she physically was his polar opposite, I was a little unconvinced. Sure, if you're a short, platinum blonde, you might be a little bit more attracted to medium height guys with black hair, but you're not going to be attracted to someone that you have to tilt your head up to see. It's that kind of thing.
Especially Elder, who apparently his "Eldest" is a prejudiced man, how did he not become the slightest bit prejudiced himself? You can make the argument that he's a lovely, wonderful guy who rainbows and magic come around him and keep his mind pure, but really, it's one of the unrealistic parts of him. Somehow, it would have rubbed even the SLIGHTEST bit onto him.
SPOILER: (view spoiler)
This book did have a good plot. It's entertaining. Right now, does it really have a large moral in it? No, but I'm sure A Million Suns will show us more. Now, it seems like A Million Suns can only improve on this from the preview I've seen.
I don't know.
I guess I'll just have to count my lucky stars and hope it does.

EDIT 10/11/13: Just reread this, and I have to say, as much as I hate Amy, Harley's story is heartbreaking. I really think that Beth Revis should have or just should write a standalone about him because it will without a doubt be devastatingly beautiful.

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