Series: Across the Universe #1
Published by Razorbill on January 11th, 2011
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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.
I don’t really know quite how to feel about this one. I’d heard a lot of hype about it, quite a few people I know really love it. While the story was good and intriguing, something still kept me from connecting to it.
This novel is another example, in my case, of how wrong expectations can ruin a book in your eyes. I read the premise, of course, but that was QUITE a while ago. A few months. So all I really remembered was that it was sci-fi, with romance, of people searching for a new planet to live. That being said, in my head I expected quite a few glamorous sci-fi elements, futuristic clothing and mannerisms, that whole thing. What I got was more dystopia, totalitarian peasant living inside a spaceship. That didn’t quite equal my expectations. That’s not to say that it was bad, but just that I had to take a lot of time to get used to the setting.
I despaired in opening the book to find that it was multiple pov (seriously, I can’t escape it can I?). And in this case, I can’t really say it added anything in my eyes. But that blends into my next point.
Amy and Elder! The main characters. I honestly did not connect to either of them. Really didn’t. I don’t know why. I have no idea. My mind couldn’t settle on an image for either of them. And thinking about how I would describe their personalities, I have no idea either. I guess they were a bit static characters. I became more intrigued with Elder’s character in the last four chapters or so. But it honestly took that long. And my interest is very dependent on how the story goes in the next book. I can however praise the fact that it was not instalove.
I have to comment on the bullshittery of Amy and her ex. That was a plot element that should have been thrown in the trash, then incinerated, then have the ashes scattered at various points of the world. Can I even call it a plot element? It was just… there. The first, I dunno, third of the book, Amy won’t shut up about him and complain about missing him, and idolizing him or whatever. Then she admits to him being a complete dick and that was just so asdfjkl; out of nowhere. I don’t understand WHY this was in the book. Those paragraphs could easily be deleted. Seriously. Maybe this whole element is the reason why I just could not like Amy as a character.
The last couple chapters (which I sort of see more as an epilogue I guess, as it comes after the -to me- truly big reveals) threw me for a loop. View Spoiler »Okay, so Elder uplugged her.. While Orion hinted at it so I’d already figured it out, to me it still comes completely out of nowhere. But not in a good way. In a “seriously, wtf were you thinking?” way. I didn’t see that as matching Elder’s personality. Or something. I dunno. It’s just WEIRD. But what’s even weirder is that after that, Amy just calms down and is like, sure, hold my hand, you ruined my life, but hey, shit happens, I totally still see you as a potential love interest. While their romance may have been appealing at a certain point in the book (like around the kiss) the last chapters KILLED IT. I just. I just. I don’t know. « Hide Spoiler
The really big reveals, the true ending, was very satisfying. Probably the best part of the whole book. All of the questions that had been raised during the story were answered, which I suppose is pretty rare in a YA series nowadays. Particularly, the development we see in Elder here is quite intriguing and is probably the main reason why I will continue on to read the next book. View Spoiler »I absolutely loved the twist of Elder being cloned. I feel like that hints to a deeper storyline than you’d typically find in YA – who am I really? How much of my personality/behavior is predetermined? These are the kinds of deeper meanings that I love in a story. Really love that. But I feel like Revis just lightly scratched the surface, so I really hope that she’ll go much deeper into that in the next novel. While I stated in the paragraph before this that I disliked the twist about Elder having unplugged Amy (though what I really hate about it is Amy’s reaction I guess) I could see myself liking it depending on how Revis develops that in the next book. It was very reminiscent of the Star Wars prequel trilogy and Annakin’s descent to the Dark Side. Okay, bear with me while I get super nerdy. I liked how Elder at a certain point makes the observation that Eldest tried to rule through power and became a control freak, and Orion became a sociopath, despite them having come from the same DNA. So I see potential for Elder’s downfall being his love for Amy. But this would involve major character development on Elder’s part and a rather dark storyline, so I don’t know how high the probability of this is. But in any case, I can see myself liking it. « Hide Spoiler
I guess I should just continue on to the next book to see if it will live up to these expectations. Probably not. We all know how that goes.