Review : Across the Universe

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Pages : 416
Genre : YA, Science-Fiction, Dystopia
Series : Across the Universe, book 1
My Rating :

What it’s about :

The plan for Amy’s family was simple; cryo-sleep aboard the Godspeed ship, to wake up on another planet a few centuries later. Only, something goes wrong, and Amy wakes up alone, too soon.

Before long, Amy discovers something bad is going on Godspeed : other sleepers get murdered and the ship’s ruler, Eldest, isn’t friendly towards the new girl. As she tries to uncover the truth and protect her family, Amy has to decide whether she can trust Elder, next in line to rule the ship.

My Thoughts :

The first thing I thought about when starting to write this review was “Should I really tag it as dystopia?” Because in truth, Across the Universe is more science-fiction than anything else. Even the romance, which the cover hints at strongly, takes a backseat to the mystery, the ship and the characters’ own personal issues. As for the dystopian aspect, it’s a part of the plot that is not clearly revealed from the beginning, but I did feel the hints were big enough that this is not a spoiler in any way. So, yes; Across the Universe is a slightly dystopian futuristic novel with an intriguing premise.

I’m not sure why the book sat so long on my shelf. When I finally decided to read it, I got hooked to the story instantly. While the narration itself didn’t particularly stand out, I was curious about Amy’s situation. Being put to sleep sure didn’t look like fun! However, I was disappointed by the dual narration. Nothing against Elder, but his voice wasn’t particularly different from Amy’s. I think I would have preferred to discover the ship and the future only though Amy’s eyes.

I also had a few problems with the technological side of the worldbuilding. Maybe it’s because I’m currently reading Physics of the Futurebut I couldn’t accept that the technology used on the ship wasn’t more advanced, more sophisticated. Parts of it were; but some parts of it were too easy, too similar to the technology we already use. Sadly, there was no explanation in the worldbuilding to justify that.

I do wish the characters were more dimensional, too, and less stereotyped. As a villain, Eldest had very little depth, but this is something that could be said of other secondary characters, too.This being said, I do think the strong point of the novel was the story itself. Even though it felt predictable and I could tell, mostly, who did what and what would happen, the pace and the twists kept me reading.

I also loved that, while Amy and Elder had a certain attraction for each other, the novel wasn’t about the romance itself. It was something happening on the side, and that never truly developed into something more. To be honest, I wouldn’t even be surprised if the author introduced another love interest for Amy, since her interest for Elder seemed to be more about curiosity, loneliness and friendship.

Across the Universe sure differentiated itself from all the dystopian stories coming out these days. I’m looking forward to reading book two, A Million Suns, which is already waiting on my shelf.

Series Reading Order :

  1. Across the Universe
  2. A Million Suns
  3. Shades of Earth (coming 2013)
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4 responses to “Review : Across the Universe”

  1. Meg says :

    I listened to this one on audio and felt very invested in the plot! It was one of those stories I couldn’t wait to continue, so I found myself running errands just to have an excuse to listen in my car. 🙂

    I agree that Eldest wasn’t a very dimensional villain, and that bothered me a bit. In my mind, I chalked that up to the sort of “brainwashing” mentality of the ship. Discovering the ship’s secrets through Amy’s eyes probably would have worked better for me, too, because I never really bonded with Elder . . . but I still really enjoyed it, and one of these days I’ll grab the sequel.

  2. BermudaOnion says :

    This is outside of my comfort zone but I really want to read it.

  3. zibilee says :

    I have read others have had some of the same problem with the book, so you are not alone. I just grabbed it out of my stack, along with the seuqel a few months ago, and now I am not sure if I am going to read them or not. So many books, so little time, you know? Great and very candid review today. I enjoyed reading your thoughts!

  4. missjgirl says :

    I agree about the dual point of view! I would have loved to discover the ship through Amy’s eyes only as well. For some reason hearing it from Elder it just didn’t sound as amazing or as exciting as it could have been if heard from new eyes.

    This plot is so interesting. I felt like that the fact it is set on a space ship is wasted in the first book because the story in just a murder mystery story. I had wanted the space elements to it. Like coming across forming planets or a birth of a sun, black holes, emploding stars etc.

    Still I loved this book anyway! And I too have done a review for this one and the sequel! I’m so excited for the final book!

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