Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review: Across the Universe

Title: Across the Universe   
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Penguin Group
Category: Young Adult
Page Count: 416 
Release Date: January 2011
Series: none
Source: Bought
Challenge: 2011 DAC, Breathless Reads Tour Mini Challenge
Quick Rating: 5/5
Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the spaceship Godspeed. She has left her boyfriend, friends - and planet - behind to join her parents as a member of Project Ark Ship.

Amy and her parents believe they will wake on a new planet, Centauri-Earth, three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed’s scheduled landing, cryo chamber 42 is mysteriously unplugged, and Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber.

Someone tried to murder her.

Now, Amy is caught inside a tiny world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed’s 2,312 passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader. And Elder, Eldest’s rebellious teenage heir, is both fascinated with Amy and eager to discover whether he has what it takes to lead.

Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she put her faith in a boy who has never seen life outside she ship’s cold metal walls? All Amy knows is that she and Elder must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.

There are very few books I devour in one sitting. Across the Universe was one of them. I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews about it, and I’m beginning to feel this may be one of those books where you either love it, or you didn’t really like it at all - no middle ground.

From the very beginning, I found Across the Universe haunting, horrifying, and beautiful all at the same time. I loved the prose, and not because it was overly complex or anything, but because it was simple. The simplicity and ease of the book was what made me gobble it up - because it was so easily edible! Even though I wasn’t overloaded with descriptions, I could picture everything clearly and perfectly. It felt cinematic. Like I was reading a movie. Even without the handy reversible cover blueprint of the Godspeed, I felt like I knew exactly where everything was, and how it was laid out. I loved all the made up slang words, and just the whole concept of everything was amazing.

Follow the jump for more!

I thought Amy was a very realistic seventeen-year-old. She doesn’t like being told what to do, and she knows how to speak her mind. I’ve seen complaints about her just ignoring everything everyone tells her to do, but honestly, don’t most teenagers do that anyway? She’s in a completely different world - of course she’s not going to understand the risks of leaving her room when no one has told her anything beyond ’You probably shouldn’t do this’. I liked her, and I definitely admired her emotional strength when faced with some of the decisions she had to make.

I loved Elder, and I can’t wait to see him develop more. Harley was also a tragically beautiful minor character - but who can resist the charming artist anyway? Eldest I…Well, honestly, I hated him, but I understood him, and I understood what the previous generations of Eldests were trying to do. Do I like their decisions? No. Do I see the sense and logic behind them? Definitely. But Eldest was still just a whiny brat - almost immature even. But then again, how can you like anyone who admires Hitler, even a historically altered version?

I will agree that the “Season” is just…disgusting, but it’s meant to be. It’s meant to seem wrong and disgusting to someone from our time, and it is. Unquestionably.

I thought the budding romance between Amy and Elder was one of the best parts of the novel, even though I wasn’t expecting it. I’d seen a lot of complaints that there wasn’t any romance, but I can see why there wasn’t. It felt way more realistic than the bam! Fireworks! Chemistry! Of most young adult novels. Elder is initially drawn to her for purely physical reasons - she’s the only different human in a monoethnic society, of course he’s intrigued! She’s also the only person out of 2,000 citizens his own age. But there’s no true emotional connection yet for both of them. Amy, I’m sure, is drawn in by a purely physical desire for contact. Wouldn’t you want a hug or two after being frozen for centuries? But, there’s no love. Not yet at least. I’m really looking forward to the development of their relationship, and I hope it stays on this more realistic, wary pace.

What was unique with Across the Universe was that I also predicted a couple of the twists early on. However, instead of being totally bummed out when I found I was right, I was even more intrigued and excited to keep reading. Something about not completely predicting everything, about keeping a sense of lingering doubt, made me absolutely ecstatic to be proven right in the end. It was like the author was very subtly dropping hints the whole time, like she wanted us to figure some things out, but not everything. I think a lot of things are going to change as the series continue, and I’m really loving this whole meshing of sci-fi, dystopia, romance, and mystery genres. I hope more authors break away from just writing one genre.
The Final Word: While maybe not everyone’s taste, I absolutely fell in love! A beautiful, cinematic blending of a bunch of genres, it’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, and then craving for more. Beth Revis, ma’am, please hurry up and write the next one!


Tea: For the girl with the “sunset hair”, I’d pick Good Earth’s Sunset Red Tea.


  1. Beautiful review! I agree this one was definitely haunting, I kept thinking about it long after I was done. The "season" was just disturbing, as was everyone's easy acceptance of it. I'm one of the people that was disappointed in the romance aspect, I guess from the cover and all the blurbs I'd read about it, I was expecting it to be more powerful, not necessarily the instant an unwavering attraction so common in YA, but just something a little more. I think it definitely has the potential to build into something great though, so I'm looking forward to the next book!

  2. Great review. I have this book coming in the mail so we'll see if it's love or hate for me! :)

  3. @Jenny: I think, luckily, because I'd read so many reviews saying how disappointed they were in the romance aspect, that I just expected no romance at all, lol! I got exactly what I expected, so I think it really helped me fall in love with the book. And I agree, I definitely cannot wait for the next book!

    @Aimee: Great! I really, really hope you like it!