Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review: Across the Universe

Synopsis: 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.

My Review:  There has been a ton of hype about this  novel of late, and frankly I was a bit wary.  So many supposedly "incredible" YA novels turn out to be major disappointments.  I no longer trust publishers hype.  However I am pleased to say that for once the hype doesn't even begin to cover just how amazing this book is.  I'm such a sci-fi nerd and the synopsis reminded me so much of a Star Trek/ Serenity cross that I couldn't help but be drawn to it. 

I was immediately sucked in from the very beginning.  I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to needles, so I was totally creeped out by the cryogenization process but man was it cool! While the science really isn't that in depth, the creativity put into creating it can't be ignored.  Probably the most interesting part of this novel was the fact that man kind hasn't discovered how to travel at the speed of light yet.  Yet that doesn't stop them from traveling to an earth like planet 300 years away.  The reason's for this voyage aren't really explained, but I'm assuming it will be revealed with time in the next book.  Godspeed itself is fascinating.  It is designed to be entirely self sustaining.  Everyone and everything on it has a specific purpose designed to somehow help the ship.  Yet Godspeed isn't all that it seems, and as it turns out it is built out of lies rather than steel. 

I'm very glad that Revis decided to do dual POV's with Amy and Elder.  It just wouldn't have been the same just through one of their perspectives.  You get two sides to everything that happens on board, and because of it you second guess everything that happens.  When more bodies are pulled from their frozen state and panic begins to set it.  There is a murderer on-board Godspeed and it's a race to discover who he is before more people are sent to the stars.  

While both Amy and Elder are very strong characters I felt myself connecting with Elder more than Amy.  Elder is the future leader of Godspeed.  Even though he is the heir, he is almost as in the dark as everyone else aboard the ship. Eldest doesn't trust him with the ships secrets and Elder is tired of his constant "tests" that only prove how unready he is to be the next Eldest.  I felt that Elder really grew in this novel.  He used to trust Eldest with his future.  Eldest was who he looked up to, even if he didn't always agree with his decisions.  When the situation on the ship grows more desperate and things aren't adding up, Elder begins to question everything that he's ever known.  He has to make the difficult decision to trust in himself, rather than rely on Eldest.  Elder is sweet, trustworthy, and wants nothing more than to do right by his people.  His feelings for Amy only make him more adorable.  Though he is physically attracted to her, he soon discovers that his feelings run deeper than any infatuation.  I loved one line in particular.  It went a little something like this "And when she smiled it was even more beautiful than the stars."  My mushy romantic side of me just sighed in utter bliss.  But what really won me over about Elder was his honesty.  Elder makes a seemingly innocent decision that turns out to affect everyone on the ship and most importantly Amy.  He knows that if he tells Amy the truth, she will never forgive him.  But ya know what?  He tells her. Even though he cares for her, and the last thing he wants to do is make her  hate him, he does not lie to her.  He admits his mistake.  That single act is what made me absolutely love him. 

Revis creates a spell-binding tale of suspense, romance, and mystery.  She expertly weaves different threads of the story into a gripping masterpiece that will have you at the edge of your seat from start to finish.  She drops hints that just make you even more desperate to figure out who the murderer is and just what dark secrets Eldest is hiding.  She not once gives you too much information that just gives the story away.  While I was able to piece some of the puzzle together, my mind was blown away when the true secrets were revealed.  I have to say, expertly done.  When Maria V. Snyder wrote Inside Out she opened up a can of worms for more YA space novels.  Boy am I glad she did, because I am totally hooked.  Across the Universe exceeded all of my expectations.  I can honestly say I do not have a single negative thing to say about this book.  I loved it from start to finish and I am dying for more.  If you get one thing out of this review, it's that you need to purchase this incredible piece of literature.  I can guarantee you will not be disappointed. 


Amelia said...

KY! Really glad you liked this one. I totally get what you mean by hype. Actually, I'd seen so many praise-worthy reviews of this particular title that I'd decided not to read it, but I think you've made me change my mind. I liked how you said precisely WHY you liked it, not "I like this book cause I received it free from Penguin, LOL." Many thanks!

Julia @ That Hapa Chick said...

I've been hearing so many good things about this one!!! I just can't wait for it to finally come out. Plus I LOVE books with dual narratives. They're always the best. :)

flanpnhfpnanfnFN said...

Really glad you liked it! And that you have a new series for your sci-fi addiction...but i'm just so jelous you and everyone else has gotten to read this before me that i don't think i'll get over it for a while -.-

Really good review!

xoACM said...

This book just came in my mailbox {Well, actually on my porch} today! I am so glad you liked it, gives me more of a push to bring it closer to the top of my list :)