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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: Across the Universe

Beth Revis

  • Reading level: Young Adult

  • Hardcover: 416 pages

  • Publisher: Razorbill; (January 11, 2011)

  • As the spaceship Godspeed travels toward a new earth, the lives of 100 cryogenically frozen settlers hang in the balance after someone endeavors to quietly murder them. The other passengers aboard the ship have never known life outside its walls and are enslaved by the machinations of Eldest, their tyrannical leader, who divides them into three distinct classes. When Amy, a frozen settler from earth, survives being thawed in a murder attempt, she immediately bonds with Elder, Godspeed's lone teen and future leader. Amy’s individuality, her rebellion, and her fierce desire for freedom, inspire Elder to act on his own doubts and defy Eldest--his mentor and keeper--with shocking results. Eldest’s methods of twisting history and altering the lives of this captive community are a frightening echo of tyrants in our own history, and Across the Universe challenges readers to consider the impact of unchecked power, blind trust, and the ability of one dissenting voice to make a difference.
    This story was very different from most YA novels that I’ve been reading. First: it was set on a spaceship in the future. I don’t read much sci-fi so I was a bit skeptical about this book. But it actually turns out I kinda liked it. The story started slow and the main problem of the story- trying to figure out who is killing the frozens- is pushed to the back burner as the “dystopian” aspect of the story kicks in. The author sends a lot of messages about differences and individuality. God is a fictional character to those on the ship and Sol-Earth’s history is changed to feel like Hitler was a great leader, and that all differences are bad.
    The characters weren’t flat, but they weren’t my favorite. Elder is madly in love with Amy, while Amy is stuck in the past. Eldest is an evil tyrant. The entire ship is loony, and the loony ones seem to be the only normal ones. The only character I really liked was Harley.
    And, maybe this was just me, but I kind of figured out most of the lot twists before the author told us in the end. I can’t say it was completely obvious, but I guessed most it…
    All in all this book was rather different and I like different. Ms. Revis did an amazing job of creating a sci-fi- dystopian world. I would have liked to see more action, but it was a great book altogether. Creative and entertaining, you may experience a few nightmares of being frozen alive…

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