Across the Universe (Across The Universe #1)Hot
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.
Across the Universe alternates narrators between Amy and Elder, and at first it took me a little while to get used to Elder's POV, because he's just so different from Amy. He's been raised on a mono-ethnic society where everyone fills the role they were born into, and nothing more. He doesn't question that most people are confined to one area of the ship. He doesn't wonder about Eldest's harsh treatment of anyone who might be a bit different. He's been raised to lead his society, and it seems perfectly reasonable to him when Eldest insists that Hitler had it right. But at the same time, Elder is lonely. He longs for connection, for understanding. And he's curious, even though he's not supposed to be. He wants to understand everything about this ship he's supposed to run, even though he's been told it's not necessary. And by grasping those few threads, he slowly became a character I could relate to, in spite of his differences.
Amy almost acts as the voice of the reader, since she comes from a world very much like ours and wakes up in one very much not like ours. She questions the society that has evolved on the Godspeed, she questions the leadership of Eldest, she questions the way Elder has been conditioned to a different set of moral standards than what she believes. She's a bit of a reluctant heroine in the story, as she wasn't even sure she wanted to go on this mission, and definitely didn't want to be awakened early. Her slow acceptance of her unfortunate circumstance almost mirrors the stages of grief (in many ways, she is grieving), and her progression through the story was fascinating.
I've heard some people disappointed that there wasn't much of a romance in Across the Universe. I wasn't really in this group, because I was more intrigued by the mystery element (AND THE SPACESHIP) than the potential romance. But if you are among the group hoping for an epic space love story, prepare to alter your expectations. While there are hints of romance, they are not the main focus or driver of this story.
As far as the mystery element of the story, Across the Universe kept me guessing. It dropped just enough clues that the ending was surprising, but satisfying. And I appreciated that once the truth comes out, it's all in shades of gray. The villains are not purely evil (maybe a bit sociopathic, but not evil). The good guys are not purely good. Everyone involved in the murders and their resolution had motivations that, viewed the right way, were justifiable. (No, the murders themselves were not justifiable, but the reasons behind them were, to a degree, understandable). I'm all about nuanced villains and heroes, and I thought Across the Universe delivered both in spades.
Across the Universe was an imaginative and thoughtful story, with a fabulous space setting and complex characters. The ending tied up the murder mystery, but left the bigger question of the fate of the Godspeed open, which is what I assume is explored in the sequels, A Million Suns and Shades of Earth. I'll be excited to pick them up and find out what happens to Amy, Elder, and the rest of the people on the ship.
Sci-fi novel “Across the Universe” follows Elder, a sixteen year-old boy charged with becoming the next leader of a spaceship that is in the midst of a three hundred year journey to a new planet habitable by humans, and Amy, a seventeen-year-old girl who was unceremoniously melted from a cryogenically frozen sleep that began hundreds of years ago back on Earth. Those are the intriguing parts. The cringe-worthy parts come from the process of Amy actually being frozen in the first few pages of the book, which involves tubes down the throat, gag reflexes, and thick, gelatinous liquid oozing through your veins.
Fast-forward hundreds of years and the ship, named Godspeed, is well on its way to the new planet. A whole new societal order has established itself on the ship that is extremely different from society as we know it. People mate during specified times, monotony is celebrated, and diversity is vilified. It is these characteristics that make Revis’s book so good. She has created such a small world (literally, you can’t travel too far without hitting the sides of the spaceship), yet that doesn’t stop Revis from making that world outrageously complex, intricate, and fascinating.
New developments are constantly arising about the workings of the ship, and the history of Godspeed’s people is as wrought with drama as today’s Earth-bound civilizations. That’s surprising seeing as how there are billions of people on this planet, and only a couple thousand on Godspeed. But let me tell you, that drama is good, and gasp-worthy revelations keep popping up until the very end of the book.
This juicy drama is compounded by the smallness of Revis’s world. With constant reminders of the metallic sides of the ship, or the hatch doors that if opened would suck you out into space, you can’t help but feel a sense of claustrophobia along with the characters. This especially comes out with Amy, who is so used to the openness of Earth and her ability as a cross-country runner to run as far as she wants to, that she is constantly aware of the confines of her environment. These confines are felt by the reader too, and only make you feel more enveloped by the drama that unfolds on Godspeed knowing that Elder and Amy can’t go far to escape their troubles. Selfishly, I was glad Elder and Amy had nowhere to run, because their problems equaled a great read for me!
A physically small, yet magnificently intricate, setting.
Juicy revelations around every corner!
thinks she'll wake up 300 years in the future on a new planet Centauri-Earth with her parents. She gives up everything she's ever known and loved: her life, her boyfriend, and friends.
But something happens. Somehow she's unplugged and wakes up earlier than planned and to a future that's scarier than she'd ever imagined. But even more frightening is the fact that someone aboard the ship tried to kill her.
Control on the Godspeed has been given to Eldest, a tyrannical leader. Elder, who is the heir to Eldest, is fascinated by Amy. He wants to know more about her and the Earth she left behind.
Amy wants to trust Elder. When another cryo chamber is opened, Amy knows she needs to find out who is behind this before her own parents are murdered.
I loved this story! I'm a huge Sci-Fi fan. This novel is much more than that. It's also a thriller that has twists and turns throughout. Just when you think you can guess what'll happen, another twist pops up. The story hooks you right at the very beginning with a chilling description of Amy and her parents getting frozen for the trip.
Revis takes us into a future that is both fascinating and scary. She does an incredible job showing us a world on a ship that has everything from pastures for cows, space for thousands of people, and hidden compartments that hold secrets that aren't revealed till the end. One such room is where the so-called mentally ill passengers go. They're the ones that don't follow blindly along.
Revis succeeds in having two different points of view. Elder is rebellious and when he finds Amy he refuses to listen to Eldest and demands to find out more. He's more multi-layered as he really wants to be the next leader of Godspeed but also resists the authoritarian rule of Eldest. With Amy he hopes to bring change.
Amy's voice is realistic especially when she describes what it's like to be 'sleeping' for hundreds of years.
I love how we see the world of Godspeed through Amy's eyes. When she goes for a run and witnesses the inhabitants staring in first shock then angry gave me chills.
The chemistry between Elder and Amy starts out slow but increases. This forbidden love doesn't fall back on tired cliches but rather builds until the end which even surprised me!
I couldn't put this book down. I read it until early in the morning. One sign of a great writer is if you end up having dreams about being in that world. Yes, that happened to me!
Check out the reversible cover! One side has the map of the ship Godspeed. The complex world of Godspeed is filled with lush and rich details that suck you right in. Can't wait for book two!
The writing was stylized, but not in a way that I minded. And I appreciated the ongoing thread of 'Alice In Wonderland' references. I also liked the underlying concept of removing human will via scientific manipulation and historical revision. It was interesting to see the idea of 'progress' painted in such an ominous and morally thought-provoking light. In that way, more than anything I found it somewhat reminiscent of 'The Giver'. On the down side, the foreshadowing was more heavy-handed than tantalizing. And while there is, fortunately, a minor twist at the end, the murderer is obvious from very early on.
Ultimately, I found that I kept reading because I wanted to know what was happening and why, not because I particularly cared about the characters.
My primary problem was the lead female character, Amy. The girl starts out as irritatingly childish; her thought process and immaturity giving me more the sense of a 13 or 14-year-old rather than a 17-year-old with well-educated and influential parents. She progresses to becoming something of a whiny Nancy Drew figure, minus a good deal of basic common sense and self-preservation. I couldn't sympathize with her. As 'Alice', she takes entirely too long to accept that she's in Wonderland, and that her new reality has very different culture and rules.
On the up side, Elder was believable as a 16-year-old boy--from any time period. And Harley was a welcome side-character who's quirkiness was expressed well while avoiding the prevalent PC stereotype. The 'villain', however, wasn't as multidimensional as I would have liked.
As many have already mentioned, the cover of this book is misleading. It is not a romance. There are few romantic elements, actually...and while there is definitely sex that is portrayed in an animalistic (although oddly tedious) orgy-like fashion (including a fairly graphic sexual assault scene that I would have liked to have been warned about), it is all bluntly sexual rather than sensual. Not exactly what I was expecting from a YA novel, and not really my taste. But that's just my opinion.
I tend to agree with those who would prefer to think of this book as more Dystopian Fantasy than Sci-fi. There were just too many logistical problems that were driving me crazy. Are kids 250 years in the future really still abusing the word 'totally' as an adjective? And after a few centuries, why would there only have been four new slang/cuss words conceived? (Chutz, Brilly, Loons, and Frax being the sum of this vocabulary. I may be picking nits here, but it just felt like too much attention was drawn to their use.) But beyond the language, which I can overlook if I try hard enough, were things that forced me to suspend disbelief.
*Despite repeated mention of incest being a ship-wide problem, the artificial 'season' for mating is wild and unregulated. Genetic issues seem to be modified or resolved by a 'goo', which comes off as more magical than scientific.
*Why jettison bodies into space when everything else on the ship is so carefully and deliberately recycled?
*The big mystery on the ship seemed to revolve around attempts to fingerprint the murderer, which highlights an apparent lack of research over the manner in which fingerprints are formed (in the biological sense). Were it not such a pivotal plot point, it wouldn't have bothered me so much. But it's harder for me to pretend that anything speculative is feasible when points based on existing and determinable science are inaccurate.
When an object in space loses thrust, it does not slowly drift to a halt, as Revis claims her generation ship is doing vis a vis an engine that is incrementally losing power. This isn't a car in a parking lot. It's a spaceship in space. Frictionless objects will continue at their top speed until a force acts against them. If I sound nit-picky here, I'm not. This scenario is central to this book's plot, and Revis doesn't acknowledge the flaw. I was holding out hope that this "fact" in her story would prove another lie among many "secrets" important to the story. It was never resolved. I've since learned from a defensive reader that this flaw is addressed in further novels in the series. I'm glad to hear it, but each novel must stand on its own merits, in the end. I do wonder if an editor split up a larger ms, but still, the author should have hinted to us that she knows her physics while she had the chance. It's not appropriate to assume that I'll keep reading. Regardless, for all I know, the author could have only been made aware of this error in physics after publication, and set out to cover her tracks with clever scenario building in the 2nd book.
More importantly, I was troubled by how readily Elder adopted opinions and concerns and doubts about the ship and its leader (read: his universe as he knew it) that were unfaithful to what Elder's frame of reference would have been. Elder was too easily convinced that the social fabric of his ship was unjust and wrong and evil. His struggle with morality in the context of the ship's given ontology could have been a compelling story element. But this struggle did not exist. As an analogy, Revis' Elder was too akin to a Democratic Vice President suddenly up and switching parties because he met a cute Republican girl.
I was very intrigued by the premise of this novel. There are many fabulous ideas nestled deeply into the book. But ultimately the characters and the plot and the twists were too transparent and the story fell unfortunately flat for me.
Beth Revis' sci-fi trilogy is one you cannot escape in the YA world. I tried to read it and stopped not that far in because I just wasn't feeling it at the time. I gave it another chance recently and am very glad that I did because the hype is not for nothing.
Revis writes with a fluidity that is easy to read without being too simplistic. Despite this being a sci-fi novel, she does not load it down with jargon yet she still gives enough to show how language has progressed in the future. I thought the changes and evolution of terms made sense and added to the believability of the story.
Even though this story takes place on a space ship hundreds of years in the future somewhere in space, I could visualize everything. Granted, I would still need a map to get around, but what the characters saw I could imagine with ease because Revis does a great job of world-builiding, making it feel foreign but not too much so by using familiar images and words to get the point across. I think what astonished me most about the ship, Godspeed, was that there were no windows to see outside the ship. Revis used this as a plot point and I thought it clever.
I really liked the two main characters Amy and Elder. Amy, put in the position she's in, freaks out appropriately and I was always entertained and rooting for her during her freak outs. She really impressed me with how she stood up for herself and dealt with the problems she faced. She could have let it make her crazy, and sometimes it seemed to, but she tried to keep the bigger picture in front of her, which showed her compassion and selflessness.
Elder too was a great character, and I most enjoyed his internal struggle over being good versus being a good leader. I also thought how cool it was that he was so taken with Amy despite being taught that differences were bad. I can't wait to see where he takes things in the next books because he has the opportunity to grow and even change in ways that could be good or bad.
The other characters were interesting because they were different from what I expected. The ship was more like a hive with a few unusual worker bees than what I've seen in things like Star Trek or Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, which led me to expect a community or a crew, not drones (yes, I realize my sci-fi knowledge is extremely limited). The characters that made up the supporting cast (I consider the drones the background cast) ranged in so many directions that it was definitely hard to know who to trust.
There were only a couple downsides to this story and the first was at the beginning. Until the action began, it just seemed like the scenes were setting up the world and the characters, which they were. I understand why it was all there I was just ready to get to the meat of the story, which it did before too long.
The other one regards a scene in the book that is just extremely difficult get through. I was cringing and gritting my teeth during that whole part and was very glad once it was over.
The main character is a redhead named Amy. I am a Whovian who adores Amy Pond. Insta-love for me right there.
This book made me so ridiculously tense, which is bad for my heart but great for my mind because I love action and mystery, so that made it more enjoyable (once I could breathe). I also loved finding out all the crazy stuff about what was really going on the ship and was horrified, which is good (for me, not the characters). I had not anticipated life on Godspeed to be as it was and it was just awful so I was just like Amy in wanting things to change.
Across the Universe is a great read and different from what I'm used to in the YA sphere. It had great characters and came complete with action, mystery, and with being set in space, it had a kind of claustrophobic atmosphere that makes you feel the suspense and danger right along with the characters. This is definitely a book to check out and I cannot wait to dig into the next installment, A Million Suns.
Cryo sleep terrifies me! Not only is the procedure leading up to it painful and uncomfortable, but what happens after the flash freeze is much worse. Amy undergoes the freeze in the first chapter, and her first few chapters are her in the cryo sleep. That’s right, she manages to narrate when she’s supposed to be in a 301 year slumber. She’s conscious and that’s just not right. I do not even want to imagine what it would be like to be trapped inside your own body, in the dark, alone, and unmoving for three centuries with nothing but your thoughts. That sounds like a recipe for insanity to me.
Once Amy is out of her cryo chamber is when the book really picks up. She wasn’t suppose to be defrosted yet, so who let her out? Then another person is left out to defrost, and we’ve got a murder mystery on our hands! Then, of course, there’s lots of questions about the ship. What’s behind all of those locked doors? Why doesn’t anyone aboard know about the cryo chamber level if those people are important to the mission? Why are so many people held in the mental ward and medicated? What’s happening in the “other labs”? Just what in the world is going on?!
Actually the world building in Across the Universe is pretty darn impressive. The author has created a fascinating, engaging, and completely original world aboard the Godspeed. I absolutely loved the science! It’s super detailed, complicated, and at times, disturbing. There’s times when I cringed thinking about what was happening, and other times when I wanted an encyclopedia with more information!
I could hardly stand to put this book down! There were so many questions running through my mind while reading, and once answers started popping up…woah! I knew Eldest was hiding something, and that there’s a lot of misinformation being passed along, but I never expected what actually was going on! Sure, the murderer was obvious, but the goings on of the ship? Total shocker! I cannot even begin to guess what the second book has in store, but I do know I’m eager to get my hands on it!
Mind-blowing. Excellent. Beautiful. Amazing. Well done. Perfect.
MIND-BLOWING: Again, wow! WOW! From start to finish, and I mean LITERALLY from start to finish (from the cover, to the first chapter till it ended) it was mind blowing. I was hooked on from the very first chapter, and I knew after I read the first chapter that this brilliantly written book, Across the Universe, will be one of my favorites and deserves a 5/5 slamdunk stars. There were a lot of twists and unexpected things being thrown at your face throughout the book which I loved! It wasn’t predictable and you’ll keep guessing what will happen next. There are clues being dropped at you though, but it doesn’t take away the suspense.
EXCELLENT: The characters ROCKS! All. of. them. And yes, even the bad guys rocks! Each and every single one of their little cells fits the whole story and have a significance. The book is being told from Amy and Elder’s point of view. It alternates, and I love how each chapter wasn’t super long.
BEAUTIFUL: Besides the cover, the plot was just well thought of. *Claps*. This book made me feel all sorts of emotion whether it be sad, nervous, happy, excited, surprised, etc. I remember when I was reading towards the end of the book, my palms were sweating (lol).
AMAZING: The writing style and pacing was plain a-ah-mazing. If Beth Revis wanted you to feel sad on that part of the chapter, you’ll feel it. If she wanted her readers to feel surprised, well you will! The author delivers everything very well. The book wasn’t too slow or too fast. Flawless.
In three words, I could describe Across the Universe as WELL DONE & PERFECT. Not once was I confused, not once did I get bored, not once did I not leave the house without carrying this book. There’s so much adventure that I don’t want to mention anything in this review as anything would count as a spoiler. Everything just played out like a movie in my head while I was reading it. I highly recommend this book to all of you.
From there, the story continues on in fast-paced chapters that alternate between Amy and Elder’s point of view. I was pretty hooked, I must say. Because there were two POV characters, Revis was able to end on a cliffhanger with one chapter and then go to a completely different part of the story in the next, so it was like a double cliffhanger (or something). I always wanted to keep reading and see what happened next. With this book, there’s really no good stopping place.
Bottom line for Across the Universe’s plot? It’s at once compelling and predictable. I knew from chapter 4 who the “mystery antagonist” was—Revis wasn’t subtle with her foreshadowing or hints. Might as well have been a big sign. But I wanted to keep reading; the twists in the plot kept things really interesting. I don’t mind predictibility if it’s well-handled, it seems.
I also really liked the dystopian spaceship that Revis created in this novel. It was all very cohesively done, sickening at times, true, but well done. It was obvious that a lot of thought went into this book, and I appreciated the believable wordlbuilding and engaging setting.
Amy and Elder were both very interesting characters. I liked them a lot, and I wanted to see how they turned out. However, characterization is not Revis’s strongpoint, and while she created two interesting, likeable characters, they seemed to lack depth. I understood what they were doing and why they were reacting and what their motivations were, but the bottom layer—the part that would have made them human—was missing.
Considering that this book takes place in the space of less than a week, I was a bit skeptical of the promised “love” between Elder and Amy. And in the end, I was satisfied for the most part—there were no declarations of undying love or mushy kissing scenes. Amy was realistically aloof, and Elder was realistically experiencing an extreme case of insta-lust. I was fine with that on both sides.
Verdict: While the characterization was a little flat and the plot was hopelessly predictable, I liked Across the Universe. It was fast-paced and engaging, Revis writes well, and the aftertaste of the story itself is good. I will most certainly be reading the sequel.
The story is from two people’s points of view—Amy and Elder’s. The chapters alternate, going back and forth between the two people. Both of these characters do a wonderful job at painting the world, in two completely different ways. Elder doesn’t think the world he lives in is odd, and Amy thinks nothing but. The clash of how these two react to situations, was wonderful to watch.
The mystery element is nothing to ignore either. Watching the mystery unfold was like watching a flower bloom, the way the author set it up. The pacing was nice, and the way the characters contrasted off each other was fun to watch. Some of the culture in this ship makes you just go… who would ever think of that? These cultural aspects are just so wrong you can’t help but find them brilliant.
At times when I was reading this, I started to feel claustrophobic. I could just imagine being in Amy’s situation, and I could imagine being confined to a ship. It’s safe to say that if I was ever offered a trip to another planet—I would not being going.
I must say I liked the mystery aboard this massive ship. How Amy woke up and was launched into a problem that the people of the ship lived with everyday. It was so sad to know that Amy couldn't go back to sleep and wake up with her parents, her awakening destroyed that possibility. I like the whole 'murder' mystery, and the way that Amy drew over her wall with the black paint, I thought that was super creative.
I was disgusted by the 'Feeders'. I thought at the beginning that they were just born like that, simple minded, uneducated peasants. But after a while, the book started describing the people as having no emotion, and that was made me think harder. And finally the season, now that was disgusting. Normal people wouldn't be like that, in the streets like that. It was disgusting!!
The cover of the book implies romance between Amy and Elder. And there was, but not the obsessive type that a lot of books are about now days. I though that this was great, the fire between them wasn't there, and there were a few kisses shared, but it wasn't a to major part.
Across the Universe is an amazing book, a tale that is built on lies that have been so intertwined it is impossible to tell if it is really the truth. I reckon if you had to pick a science fiction book about this sort of futuristic traveling, This is the one to pick. It is brilliant.
So here’s the deal: Across the Universe is brilliant. So all those people that have been telling you to read it? They weren’t lying.
If I had to pick out one thing about the story that was my favorite, it’s that there’s not really any romance. When I saw that (gorgeous) almost-kissing cover I just knew Amy and Elder were going to get it on. It just so happens that I was wrong, though. Oh sure, there’s a spark there, but the story isn’t about the romance and I loved that. The non-romance means I can go around waving this book in everyone’s faces without having to worry if they’re romance haters or not.
Which leads me to what the story is about: secrets. Lots and lots of secrets. And mysteries galore! Sure, I knew about the whole “Godspeed is a ship built on lies” tagline, but I didn’t fathom just how many lies Revis was going to manage to shove into it. Every time I thought I had something figured out I was faced with another plot-twist or mini-mystery. I admit that for a while towards the beginning I was like “MORE secrets?! When do I get some answers?!” but I assure you that they’ll come and in the meantime there’s plenty of crazy stuff to keep you occupied.
I’m really hoping we get to see more of the science behind Godspeed in book two. It didn’t really have a place in Across the Universe because of everything else that was going on, but I still love learning about (fictional) science.
And can I just say that the Season seriously creeped me out? Because it really, really did.
The Nutshell: Across the Universe is a fantastic read. If you’re looking for something with minimal romance, fantastic characters, and a great story full of mystery then you’ll definite find it in AtU.