Friday, February 4, 2011

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe
By: Beth Revis
Publication Date: 1/11/11
Author Website
Book Website
Debut Author Challenge Book

Summary (from
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.

I've heard nothing but good stuff about this book and have been itching to get my hands on it since it came out last month. It certainly didn't dissapoint. It was a bit slow at the start. It took awhile to get into how the ship worked, what the layout was, who was who, etc. A ship map on the inside cover of the book was extremely helpful and the website also includes some great maps. Once I was past the "get to know you" phase of the book it really picked up and got interesting.

Amy and Elder are both really great characters. Amy, frozen approximately 250 years early finds that she has been reanimated 50 years (49 years, 266 days actually) before she should have been and that the world aboard the Godspeed is unlike anything she has ever imagined, where differences have been eliminated and the world is run by Eldest. He pale skin and red hair immediately sets her apart, and he ability to think for herself makes her a threat. Elder is in line to become the next Eldest- leader of the ship. He is expected to follow in lock step behind Elder, but finding Amy throws him for a loop and he begins to question everything he has ever known.

The is alot going on this book. There is the mystery of who is unplugging the "frozens" before the ship lands, there is a curropt leader who rules through lies and manipulations, there is the death of the Elder who came before this one under unsavory circumstances, and there is the relationship between Elder and Amy. It's all woven together well, there are no missing pieces, just a story that flows out beautifully.

One thing that I loved was something very small. When Elder is trying to show Amy that he knows about earth he takes her to the Recorder Hall where they look at the history of earth on huge computer screens. They see Lincoln and read the Gettysburg address. One that claims that Lincoln saved the union by packaging up the slaves and sending them to Africa to preserve order and eliminate any differences. Earlier in the book Amy calls Eldest "quite the Hitler" as an insult, and Elder finds this funny because he has learned that Hitler was a great leader. These are small moments, that speak volumes. As a history major I always learned that history books and stories can't truly be trusted because it's often the winner who writes it. There is a perspective and sometimes an endgame. The rewriting of history here really reinforced that point. Eldest is the winner here, he is in charge, and he manipulates the information going out to reinforce his position, to justify his actions, to keep control. I loved these tiny moments in the story. They are scary because even on a ship named Godspeed, flying through space centuries in the future, this manipulation seems plausible and realistic...and terrifying.

Now that I've gotten sidetracked by the history aspect I will go on to say that this was a really great book. If you are a fan of dystopian it's worth reading. Revis does a great job creating her world and characters and even manages to surprise the reader several times along the way. I'm excited to see where this story goes next.



  1. I loved this book ~ Glad to hear you liked it too. Great review!
    Kristy @ Dreaming By Day

  2. Glad to hear you liked it! I won a copy, and was excited, but I'm a little nervous because I don't usually read a lot of SciFi. But, all the great reviews have made me feel excited to read it!