Series: Across the Universe, Book 1
Author: Beth Revis
Published: January 11th 2011, Razorbill
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Mystery, Romance
Age group: Young Adult
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
This book was on my TBR list for seemingly ages! I really liked the cover, there is something both mysterious and romantic about it. Also, I genuinely like anything involving space or space adventures, so I was interested. But for so long time I didn’t feel a strong desire to read it. Maybe due to the book’s very vague summary, that doesn’t actually hint at what really is going to happen. Or maybe I was just not in the mood to read a long sci-fi story.
But this year the last third installment was released, and I’ve seen like millions reviews on it, or people saying how they needed to read it right away, so I was kind of compelled to find out what the hype was about.
I’m not gonna lie. I LOVED this book! It was amazing and absolutely not something I expected. Well, I guessed it would be just another teenage love story only set on a spaceship, with some drama that would all end happily when they land on a new planet. But that’s not what this book is about at all.
The beginning of the book reminded me of ‘Alien’ movies, where people would get into hypersleep to fly to different planets. This type of journey would typically take ages, so there’s no other way to survive it.
In ‘Across the Universe’ Amy and her parents are sent to a whole new planet, which is 300 hundred years away, to build a colony there. So the three of them, including a hundred other scientists and military people are frozen, and I really liked the scene depicting this process. It was really creepy, but so greatly described, like the author had seen it done before.
The storytelling of the book shifts from two points of view, one belongs to Amy, and the other to Elder. Elder is a 16 year old future leader of the spaceship ‘Godspeed’ that’s been sent to this new planet. The thing with this whole journey is that, apparently, there were needed active people on the ship to ensure it would function properly. This is the thing that I never fully understood, as it’s mentioned later on, that ‘Godspeed’ is on autopilot…. So there’s a whole human population counting many generations. And there’s also a sort of imitated world inside the ship, with houses, farms, where people grow plants and breed animals, and also a solar lamp as a sun.
It’s really hard to maintain a normal society, especially in an enclosed space, so the leader is needed. On ‘Godspeed’ the leader is called Eldest, he controls every aspect of the ship, both its functioning and the people on it. At the same time Eldest is preparing his successor Elder. This scheme has been working for years, but it’s all getting messed up after Amy is accidentally woken up when it’s yet too early for the ship to land.
What happens next is a whole set of mysteries that just kept me unable to put this book down. There was so much stuff going on, I always wanted to know more. I really admired the way Beth Revis took this absolutely unimaginable and totally unrealistic theme about space travels and made it so believable and realistic. Before that I would only need a movie to be able to imagine this type of setting, but her writing certainly built a very bright picture in my mind. Everything, starting from the moment Amy gets frozen, to describing the life on a spaceship perfectly recreated this feeling of being in confined place, yet terrifying as there’s only endless space outside and no other place to go.
Speaking about the characters, I think they were all OK. I liked both Amy and Elder, though I didn’t care that much about the romance between them. I really did feel like the storyline was so much stronger in itself, that all the characters sort of blended into it and simply played their parts to keep it going. Because I seriously couldn’t care less about Elder pining over Amy, or Amy worrying if her attraction to Elder is the reason of having no other choice, when there are people getting killed by someone, and this happening on a freaking spaceship, which left Earth like 300 years ago! Teenage angst definitely could wait!
All in all, the book was amazing, and I really loved it. I really hope they would make a movie version of it, I think it would be terrific!