“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.”
Not to be confused with the song by the Beatles, Across the Universe is the debut novel by author Beth Revis. Combing elements of sci-fi, dystopia, romance and murder mystery and sticking them within the confines of the spaceship, Godspeed – 2011’s most anticipated releases start off with a bang.
The story is told alternating between the perspectives of sixteen year old Elder – who is next in line as the leader of the ship, and Amy – who till now was part of the cargo having been cryogenically frozen 250 years ago, to be woken up when the ship landed. Only thing is, she’s been woken up 50 years too soon by someone attempting to kill her….and she was only first on their list.
Amy is unlike anyone Elder has ever seen before – literally. Since the ship has been working with the same gene pool for 250 years everyone has become mono ethnic. So when Amy is violently woken up in all her red haired, fair skinned glory, Elder’s world is turned on its head.
But don’t think that the love story is a done deal. Amy is freaked out by her situation. Not only will she have to live out the rest of her days as an outcast on ship that makes a poor imitation of the Earth she knew, but she’ll also probably outlive her parents who are still frozen below.
Elder has his own set of problems, as the next in charge his mentor and current leader, Eldest has taught him very little about the ship and it’s many secrets. As he tries to uncover the truth about the ship and who is killing the frozens, he discovers just who he can trust and a lot more than he bargained for.
Usually a dystopia or sci-fi (in this case, a mix) can be a bit disorientating to read since there’s so much concept and world building that you need to grasp but Revis lets the world form completely seamlessly. The dual perspectives worked perfectly with a brilliantly plotted storyline that had so many twists and turns, weaving in the issues of free will, corruption and control, all of which made it feel haunting and disturbing in all the right places.
Our main characters are both strong and fierce, I loved that their emotions were completely real, especially Amy who does not automatically adjust to her new surroundings. She struggles with her fear, anger and confusion as well as with the four walls now containing her, which is exactly how anyone would feel. Though I found it a little creepy that she always referred to her father as Daddy, I still really liked her.
For Elder, up until now he’s felt more like a child than a future leader and really grows throughout the book, becoming what he was born to be. I loved that they weren’t in an all consuming love at first sight (well, maybe Elder was…;) ) relationship which would’ve made it feel fake. They have a lot of potential together and I really want to see what happens next.
It’s an epic dystopian sci fi that’ll make you very thankful your feet are planted firmly on Earth. It’s evocative and haunting but basically, it’s a frexing awesome book.
Publication Date: January 2011
Challenge: Debut Author
Teaser Quote: “And the whoosh! The flash freeze filled the tiny chamber. I was in ice. I was ice. I am ice.
But if I’m ice, how am I conscious?… I can’t be awake for three hundred and one years. I’ll never survive that.”