Saturday, January 22, 2011

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Genre: YA, Sci-fi, slight Romance
Perfect for: Sci-fi fans who don't mind a touch of romance
Star Rating: 3.5/5

Taken from Goodreads, "A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.
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."

Writing a space age sci-fi novel in a time when all the rage is supernaturals is a brave thing. It could be hit or miss. Thankfully, in the case of 'Across the Universe', it's a hit. Or nearly a hit, earning 3.5 stars from this little blogger.

I found things in the book I liked and other things I didn't. Though, to be honest, most of my grievances with 'Across the Universe' may come down more to taste than actual problems with the text. 'Across the Universe' is compelling. Helped along by short chapters and changing perspectives, I found it quite easy to immerse myself in this book. I devoured half the book in one sitting and finished it the next day.

What I liked about the novel changed a bit from opening the first page and closing on the last. I liked the idea Revis was going for because it's not commonly done in YA lit. The way the chapters weaved together was great, as well. Each little chapter from main character Amy's perspective gave us a nice idea of how 'new' the ship was and each little chapter from male lead Elder helped us understand the society. It made the idea behind the ship and the society itself a little easier to understand. (As a note, if you find yourself confused with what the ship looks like, turn your cover inside out-- there's a diagram. I wish I had known about it sooner because I was a bit confused about where things were located on the ship until I pulled out that darn map!)

Characters Amy and Elder were unique and engaging characters to read. My favorite character, however, was Harley, Elder's friend and Amy's companion during her days in the Ward. If ever she does write another book in this universe, Revis may want to consider a companion piece in Harley's point of view.  I wish I could say that I was surprised when it came to who the bad guys were, but I had it figured out half way through.  Even so, the main characters kept me interested.

If I had to compare this book to another popular series, it would be the 'Hunger Games' trilogy. This isn't exactly a 'happy' book. It's very low key in terms of joy and humor-filled banter. It's not something you'll finish with a sappy grin on your face. Towards the end, some really hardcore secrets are revealed that leave you (or at least me) thinking 'what?!'. That, honestly, is my only problem with the book. I wish we were given a happier ending. I'm actually a bit concerned about the characters futures... And I don't like being concerned about characters well being, especially when it seems like the book is a stand-alone.

'Across the Universe' is on store shelves now! While I don't think it is a book that will please those who don't usually enjoy Sci-fi, it is a good read. In my opinion, it gets 3.5 stars.

Now, I want to know your take on this book. Did you like the ending? Do you think it's a stand-alone novel? Do you think it will please non sci-fi readers? Comment!

EDIT: Forgot to mention the romance.  As pointed out by readers of the blog, the series has been put down when it comes to the romantic entanglements.  I read this book with the idea of it being more sci-fi than romance, so it didn't even occur to me to mention it in my review, but be warned that this is more based in sci-fi than teenage romance, angst, etc.  Again, it's very similar to 'Hunger Games' in that respect.  Actually, the romantic storyline is one of the reasons why I am concerned about the characters post the final chapter!


Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

I just bought this last week, and I'm excited to review it. I have to say though, that I hear the romance falls a wee bit flat, and I'm glad to have read your honest review! Thanks, Brooke :)

Danna (Bananas For Books) said...

The next time I go to a bookstore, I'm getting this. Like Melissa, I have heard some bad stuff about the romance though. Great review!

Brooke said...

Melissa/Danna- I edited my review to talk about the romance a bit. I have to agree with the reviews you mention. It's more sci-fi, less romance. Without going into spoiler land, that's one of the reasons I disliked the ending... You'll see when you read. (or maybe it won't bother you... it bugged me!)

Andrea said...

I agree with a lot of your review! I didn't find the ending very satisfying, but the fact that there's going to be a sequel is probably a big reason for that. Anyway, great review! :)

Laura said...

It doesn't have a happy ending? *Sigh* I'm still really looking forward to reading it, but the unhappy ending worries me :o( I've also heard that there isn't a lot of romance in this book. I don't mind if romance isn't the focus, but as you know, I usually like at least some romance! :oP

Brooke said...

Andrea-- Ahh, so there IS going to be a sequel... I'm quite surprised by that fact. It read like a stand alone to me, even with the ending.

Laura-- It's not an unhappy ending, per say, it's just not all unicorns and rainbows, over the top happy... Try it, though I'm not sure you'll like it...