Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book Review | Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe is a YA dystopian space mystery from Beth Revis.

Book Description

Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed. She expects to awaken on a new planet, 300 years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing, Amy's cryo chamber is unplugged, and she is nearly killed.

Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed's passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader, and Elder, his rebellious and brilliant teenage heir.

Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she? All she knows is that she must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.

I'm going to say right off the bat that I did not enjoy this book. I found many things regarding the characters, the plot, the science, and the technological advancements of the spaceship to be completely illogical and highly frustrating.

The people aboard the humongous spaceship of Across the Universe are at least 10 generations of descendents from the people who left Earth 250 years ago to travel to the new world. These people, however, are still fixated on the Earth and still using Earthly terms to describe things like Amy's "sunset" hair when they've never even seen a sunset. They find exercise to be unproductive, yet instead of looking like the folks from Wall-E, they have the kind of hot muscles and carved biceps you can see through clothing.

The ship - 250 years later - is now far more advanced than it was when it left Earth. Where did they get all of the new materials and manufacturing capabilities out in space? I'd also love to know why they can create these amazing technologies but aren't capable of splicing some wires together that get cut on the ship.

I would really love to give bigger examples, but I'm about to enter into spoiler territory so I'll just say a lot of things made no sense to me at all.

There are a couple of redeeming qualities to Across the Universe. It's a fast paced read. Despite the numerous flaws, it did hold my interest until the end. I don't know that I will be joining anyone in reading A Million Suns, but I do have hopes that the series could improve from here. The dystopian framework has already been laid, and the characters have the potential to be likeable going forward.

If you enjoy reading dystopian for the sake of dystopian, Across the Universe provides a new premise within the genre. I would most compare this book to Lauren DeStefano's Wither. They have a similar appeal despite their flaws in logic.

3/10: Didn't Like It

Have you read Across the Universe? Were you able to successfully suspend your disbelief?


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  1. I already knew this book wasn't for me... Just by the premises- but I loved Wither? Lol

  2. I was reading the back of A Million Suns today in Books-A-Million and it sounded pretty interesting. When I saw your review of Across the Universe I hoped that it would be one of praise.

    I will give the first book a try though. It sounds interesting even though I am not sure if I like science fiction. It doesn't hurt to try something new, right?

  3. Oh wow! This book has been on my list for a while. I've heard nothing but praise, but I'm so glad to see your honest review. These are the types of things that would definitely annoy me.

  4. Ashley - I enjoyed Wither much more than Across the Universe (you can read my review for Wither here), but all of the problems I did have with Wither are similar to my problems with Across the Universe. I think if someone who loves dystopian loved Wither with no issue, they would probably enjoy Across the Universe more than I did.

    Jayla - I got my copy from the library. If it sounds interesting to you, give it a try! It's a very popular book. My opinion feels much in the minority here. This book may actually be better suited for someone who doesn't read science fiction. I got really hung up on the science. I think I was supposed to just "go with it", but I'm too much of an analytical thinker and couldn't get over how improbable so many things were.

    Alexis - I can see you having the same issues, but it's available on Overdrive if you decide to check it out.

  5. This is a great review, Jennifer! Most of the stuff I had read about Across the Universe focused on the action or on the character or on whatever else... no one approached the whole suspension of disbelief. I think, though, that it is one of the most important things, specially in a Sci-Fi kind of book, and all of your raised points would have made me unable to enjoy the book as well.

    Thanks for sharing! I won't be joining the "I've read this" club now ;)

    Ron @ Stories of my Life

  6. Wow..that's an honest review Ms. Jen. I was considering on getting this book, now I'm thinking that this is not the type of book I would want to spend my money on...Thanks for this review! =)

  7. I am sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy the book. I do appreciate an honest review though. I have not read this one myself.
    -FABR Steph@FiveAlarmBookReviews

  8. I haven't read this yet although I (think) I have it -- somewhere in my piles of books. I just kept hesitating. Thank you for pointing out some things that would probably drive me nuts too. I never heard anyone talk about these inconsistencies sooo...still not sure I'll read it.


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