Colin Smith's Reviews > Across the Universe

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
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Sep 11, 12

Read from September 07 to 11, 2012

Seventeen-year-old Amy Martin joins her parents as one of the cryogenically frozen passengers on the ship "Godspeed." The ship's stated mission is to colonize a new planet, Centauri-Earth, and it's expected to take 300 years for the ship to arrive. Two hundred and fifty years into their journey, Amy's cryogenic case is opened, and she is prematurely defrosted. She now has to find her way among the civilization that has grown up on the ship: the Feeders, the Shippers, and their leader, Eldest. Then there's Elder, the sixteen year old boy selected as Eldest's successor, who has already begun training. And there's trouble. Someone is defrosting people and leaving them to die. And not all is what it seems on board the ship. Indeed, as Amy and Elder become close, they both realize that much of what is taken for granted isn't true. Who is killing off the frozen, and why? And will the truths about the ship and its inhabitants be harder to swallow than the lies?

I almost dropped my rating of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by a star because I figured out who the killer was and how s/he was doing it fairly early into the book. I kept hoping some piece of evidence would come up that would prove me wrong--but the facts just kept pointing in the same direction. A little disappointing, but in the end I decided the book was so enjoyable and so engaging that it still deserved a five-star rating. Besides, the mystery of the murders is just one puzzle our heroes are trying to solve. Beth Revis does a really good job (I think) of showing us this world that has grown up on the ship, describing how this traveling civilization lives... and then slowly uncovering truth after shocking truth in a way that makes you understand, if not feel, the outrage that Elder and Amy feel.

The narrative alternates from chapter to chapter between Amy's and Elder's first-person point of view, and I think she's done well to give each a distinctive voice. The first chapter is very unsettling-and that's not a criticism. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that it describes how Amy undergoes the cryogenic procedure. And considering it's pure sci-fi, describing it from Amy's point of view helps to make is feel very real. I wanted to read on just to find out what's going on in Amy's head, and what happens to her when she's revived.

A well-earned five stars, by my estimation. I would give the book a PG-15--definitely for older YA and adults. There's little, if any, profanity, but some of the subjects, particularly around sex, while not graphic--and actually quite sensitively handled--are, I think, better suited for a more mature reader.

This is the first in a trilogy. Yes, I'll be adding A MILLION SUNS to my TBR list!
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