Across the Universe, by Beth Revis
Book review: Amy and her parents believe they will wake on a new planet, Centauri-Earth, three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed’s scheduled landing, cryo chamber 42 is mysteriously unplugged, and Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber.
Someone tried to murder her.
Now, Amy is caught inside a tiny world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed’s 2,312 passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader. And Elder, Eldest’s rebellious teenager heir, is both fascinated with Amy and eager to discover whether he has what it takes to lead.
My review: I was a little reluctant to start reading Across the Universe. I had heard really good things about the book and it seemed like a stand up YA novel, but there was a part of me whining: Space? Ugh. Not really my thing. I mean, a romance with people stuck in a metal box? No thank you.
But I’m being open minded. Also, I just saw the movie Gravity, which is spectacular, so I was a little more open to space as a setting than maybe I would have been. And I was surprised how much I liked it.
First off, I really enjoyed Revis’ world she created – not just a metal box, but an agricultural society that lived generation after generation on the ship as it made it’s several-centuries-long trip across the universe. The concept was smart and I liked how the small segment of people formed a dystopian, at times terrifying, society.
There’s also a creepy “2001: Space Odyssey” kind of horror vibe to being trapped on a ship in the middle of nowhere. Cryogenically frozen people, completely helpless, being murdered – that’s also really scary. And Amy’s depiction of being in a state of not awake yet not unconscious, for centuries, is extremely disturbing. So while this did read like a typical dystopian YA book (not knocking that, great concept), there are also some deeper horror vibes that I don’t always feel in this book. Maybe it’s just my aversion to space (which Gravity, by the way, did not help). So I enjoyed that aspect.
I also enjoyed the fact that you’re not entirely sure what kind of man Elder, the male lead, is. He’s not quite a hero, but hasn’t decided on being an anti-hero yet either. I think that question alone, how he’s going to deal with his demons, is enough to draw me in to the next book.
Word of the day:
Pneumatic: or or pertaining to air, gases or wind