Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Book Review: Across the Universe

Author: Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe #1
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Pages: 416
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Summary: 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.

~Video Review~



LC's Take:

"Inside the ship, we are always surrounded by one another, so much so that we cherish our tiny private rooms and time alone. Never before have I appreciated how truly alone we are on this ship. There is no one else but us... If we fail, there is no one out there to see. If we die, there is no one out there to mourn us." ~p.335

So let me start out by saying, this book probably had one of the craziest and most ambitious plot premises I've ever read. It was absolutely mind-blowing to think of what it would be like to be cyrogenically FROZEN for a couple HUNDRED years in a space ship zooming through space, only to be woken up early, knowing that you'll never see Earth again, and that you may not even make it off that ship ALIVE. I mean,that's just totally insane right?!

I included the above quote from the book because I wanted to point out just how amazing Beth Revis is at creating a real sense of fear, loneliness, and desperate entrapment aboard Godspeed. In fact, the strange and alien world inside the ship was probably one of the most fascinating aspects of this book. It was sort of like this dystopian microcosm, where everything is in miniature and everyone basically lives in captivity like animals.  It is the job of "Eldest," the leader of the ship, to maintain order and keep out the causes of discord on Godspeed as it courses its way through the Great Unknown towards a planet that is impossibly far away. The setting was just very refreshing and different.

I also really loved the two main characters in this book-- Amy and Elder-- and how the story is told chapter by chapter through their alternating points of view. It was easy to tell which POV I was reading from because they both had totally unique perspectives. I also loved that both of them could think for themselves-- Amy was a spirited, emotional character who refuses to believe that life on Godspeed is natural, and Elder is constantly challenging Eldest and his methods for controlling the ship. Both Amy and Elder were very well-developed, since they both had distinct personalities, memories, and histories. This made it easy to slip into each character's identity and get lost in their story.

The only character I had a problem with was Eldest because he came across as a weak villain to me-- he just didn't seem all that dangerous or intimidating, and his character was even described multiple times throughout the story as childish and foolish. This made it difficult for me to take him serious, and even though he acted like a dictator at some points, I would've been able to respect his character more if he came across as more villain-ish!

I did have a couple other *minor* issues with the story. First was my big question about whether Godspeed had ANY contact with Earth anymore-- I found it difficult to wrap my head around the idea of putting this big of an effort into sending humans out into space to inhabit a whole new planet and then not have any means of communication between Earth and the ship. Secondly, I didn't really find many of the "shock value" elements of the dystopian world aboard Godspeed to be all that "shocking" or new. The empty drone-like citizens, the mad-scientist doctor who messes with DNA and reproduction, the manipulation of history to conceal the past, and the euthanasia of the elderly-- I've read about all of this before in other books. But at the same time, it did enforce just how desperate Eldest was to maintain total and absolute control over society on the ship, and also just how desperate this society was becoming after being stuck inside metal walls for hundreds of years...

Also-- and I don't want to spoil anything-- but I TOTALLY saw the whole thing with Harley coming.

ALSO-- the part where Amy gets drugged and acts all loopy? Umm, DYING LAUGHING. I KNEW Beth Revis had like the greatest sense of humor! :D (See-met-tree-cul LOL)

The cliff-hangers and plot twists towards the end of the book and the whole crux of the Plague incident had me with my eyes glued to the pages for the last few chapters. What exactly is going on with Godspeed and what is its ultimate mission? I loved how there were plenty of mysteries to be solved-- not just with who the killer was, but basically with the entire ship and its mission. Pieces of the puzzle only came together slowly, which was a *little* frustrating, but it totally kept me on the edge of my seat.

Overall, Across the Universe had me captivated and was a lot of fun to read. I loved the world-building, the unique setting, the mystery and suspense, and the overall mood of the story, along with the main characters Amy and Eldest. My curiosity and fascination with this world out in space has left me looking forward to reading A Million Suns to see what happens next--I'm pretty sure that this will be a series that I follow to the end!

~Cover Talk~

Some of you guys may have heard me tell this *slightly* embarrassing story before, but just for kicks, I'll tell it again. So, I swear that for the longest time, I thought that the image on the cover of Across the Universe was-- an amoeba. I kid you not. It was that whole negative-space trickery going on, and for whatever reason, my brain could only see that light-pink sparkly piece and see some weird blob-thing. It wasn't until I was holding the book IN MY HANDS that I stopped and was like "WHAT THE..?!" Because CLEARLY it is an image of two people in profile, the guy hovering over the girl, about to kiss her. Yeah, I have NO IDEA where the heck I came up with an AMOEBA. But um... long story short, I love this cover, it rocks-- whether you see it as two people kissing or a giant celestial blob, it is one awesome book cover.

LC's Rating:
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The incredible world-building and story premise of this book absolutely blew me away-- I just loved the mystery, suspense and the unfolding of secrets throughout the plot. Amy and Elder were great main characters, and I can't wait to see what happens to them next!

26 comments:

  1. I thought the cover was an amoeba, too LOL. Not until you pointed it out right now did I see there are actually TWO people on that cover. What? Holy cow, hahaha! And what is crazy, I have seen this cover a million times, online and in person and never figured that out. I mean I see the two people clearly now but I didnt before. WEIRD :D

    Jennifer @ Dream Reads

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    1. Haha RIGHT!?! I'm glad I wasn't the only one! :)

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  2. Great review, Lea! I've been debating reading this book for what feels like forever. The concept always sounded a little strange to me, choosing to freeze yourself for 300 years and all... However, you successfully convinced me to bump it up on my TBR list. I think Beth is a riot and I know that so many people love ATU, so I guess it's time to request ATU from the library :)

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    1. Oh good! Yes I can't wait for the sequel now!!

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  3. I'm dying over you thinking the cover was an amoeba haha. No matter how much I squint, I can't see it! But don't worry, I've done that with covers before, thinking it's one thing and realising it's not.

    You need to get reading A Million Suns asap. I gave Across The Universe a 4/5 too but A Million Suns is sooo much more twisty and epic and amazing. I'm sure you'll love it :)

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    1. LOL well now that I see the 2 people, I can't see the "amoeba" anymore either! Sometimes your eyes can play funny tricks on your mind I guess! :P

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  4. haha I also thought it was an amoeba or something. It took me a couple of looks before I noticed that it was two people about to kiss ^_^

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  5. I'm already won over to read this from your first paragraph. It really is a crazy idea and I must get my hands on this soon :)

    Thank you for sharing.

    Please follow me. I'm a new book review blogger and we have the same name (Lea) :)
    http://paperdreamsbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

    PD <3

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    1. Awesome!! I am following-- your blog is beautiful!! ;)

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  6. This book!!! I loved it. Great review...can't wait to see what you think about the sequel. ;)

    Amanda @ Letters Inside Out

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  7. I fully intend to read this one this summer. I'm so behind seeing as how so many others have already read and loved this and the sequel. I'm really glad that you thought that the dual POV was well done. Sometimes that backfires on the author if the two characters aren't unique from one another.

    Great review, Lea!

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    1. Woohoo! I hope you really enjoy it too!! :D

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  8. I have to read this book soon. I have been dying to read this book since it came out! And how can you not see that it's two people? Anyhow, it's a gorgeous book cover!

    Great review! :)

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    1. LOL well I see it NOW!! :P Now that I see the people I can't make my brain see the amoeba anymore haha

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  9. Your reviews always spark my interests! This book sounds amazing. I added it to my TBR. Thanks again for the review, Lea :)

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  10. I can´t wait for Czech edition!

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  11. I enjoyed this one. I haven't read book 2, but I had to buy it for my dad when he hijacked my copy of Across the Universe while I was visiting. It was his introduction to YA.

    he said book 2 was "pretty good."

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  12. Lovely review! I'm glad you liked this. I loved the story as well, but the fact that all the pieces of the puzzle were revealed very slowly to us was EXACTLY what kept me hooked. That, and the romance. Although that revelation at the ending killed me. Beth Revis knows how to surprise us o.o
    If the ending blew your mind, wait until you read A Million Suns! It's even crazier than Across the Universe, and there's this, you know, HUGE twist near the ending :P
    Love,
    ~~Beatriz

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  13. I have this book somewhere around and I should probably start reading it soon. Your review makes it sound really intriguing and I love the sound of Amy and Elder. Too bad the villain wasn't as perfect as you wanted him to be.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

    Oh and I didn't realize that the cover actually shows to people in profile until you pointed it out ! :O
    The amoeba thing is kind of funny though xD

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  14. I am glad you liked it because I have been hearing a lot of mixed views about this book. I just downloaded the audiobook from my library so I am super excited to get this started!

    Thanks for the review! :-)

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  15. This is a really great review! I have yet to pick this series up and have no idea what I have been waiting for! And I so see what you are saying about the cover. LOL :)

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  16. Loved both of your reviews on this A Million Suns is even better hopefully you will get to it soon :)

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  17. I love your review. <3 It is awesome :D And omg. I adored this book. I loved it so much. The characters are so amazing; and the writing is perfect :) Plus the plot is so good. I think you'll love A Million Suns! YOU BETTER! :D lol :) Can't wait to read your review of it ;)
    Love, Carina

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  18. YAY FOR VLOG REVIEWS. Or, more specifically, THIS vlog review. Because I had no intention of reading this series. Until now. And it's your fault that I have now added yet another book to my TBR pile between this month and June. Thanks so much, Lea :P But I love how you label each point in the vlog and how you subtitle certain aspects. May have to try that... :D

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