Sarah's Reviews > Across the Universe

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
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's review
Jan 27, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: young-adult, fantasy-sci-fi

** spoiler alert ** I really wanted to like this book - I was hooked by the first chapter, which does a perfect job of capturing the fear of the unknown (especially the unknown medical procedure - ick!). Revis hits it out of the park a few more times with her descriptions of unease (imagine coming from Earth, and waking up in a world where all your air is recycled, even in what feels like outside. It makes my skin crawl just thinking about it).

Unfortunately, I just couldn't get behind the characters. The lead female character has two modes: tantrum and crying. The male character (Elder) is a cipher at best. He really really really wants to lead. Why? He just does. They're really attracted to each other. Why? Because, and this really made me uncomfortable, in a society where everyone is brown-skinned, she's "pale white" with "flaming red hair."

There were just too many moments where you could feel a bizarre sort of ideology poking through: the leader who points out that religion caused horrible divisions on earth later also says that Hitler was a great leader. The heroine thinks only about her "Daddy," with her mother relegated to afterthoughts. Sex is never presented as a good thing, only creepy and unnatural. It just felt like I was reading a Republican ideal of a dystopian future.


I think what really put the nail in the coffin for this book was the revelation at the end re: Elder's motives. It feels odd to suggest that a female character ought to end up with someone who's been lying to her all along, because she "doesn't want to be lonely." Uh, okay. Also, the decision that the populace shouldn't be given the entire truth, because they "won't be able to handle it."

I guess if you're highly religious and right-wing, this will probably work beautifully for you. For a left-wing feminist, it was sheer disappointment.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Barbara I totally agree about the republican ideology. And why is the near-rape scene described like that? Creepy.

Theresa I am Republican and religious, but a lot of the things that you mentioned bugged me too. Good review despite the bit at the end... but I guess you could be right and I'm just the oddball religious Republican. :)

Sarah Theresa, without diving too deeply into political and religious waters, suffice to say I was raised in the religious right movement and I would consider you an outlier in the general beliefs thereof. :)

Theresa The Spoiler that you mentioned at the end pissed me off. I felt like if you are writing in first person, you shouldn't be able to lie to the reader about something like that. It is hard to write here without spoilers! :)

Sarah Ugh, yes. It may be because I read a fair amount of romance, but having someone who is purportedly the romantic hero lie like that is an insta-fail for me. It was just such a message of "Oh, go ahead and settle."

Theresa I mean, it isn't like there was a lot of *good* choices on the ship (damn you, Harley!) at that point due to the Phydus, but it isn't like she had to make a decision right then and there. What does she see in him? We know Elder digs her because of her hair, but what else?

Apparently I am a stodgy person because I just don't get the glowing reviews of this book and its "Romance".

Sarah You and I can be stodgy together! :)

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