Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1) by Beth Revis
Published by Razorbill on January 11, 2011
Genres: young adult science fiction, science fiction and fantasy, young adult romance
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Maybe it’s because of the amazingness that was Illuminae, but this book bored me. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, I had a hard time caring about what was going on, and the story seemed pretty lackluster to me.
For the most part, I found Godspeed to be intriguing. It was interesting to explore the various parts of the ship with Amy and see how so many people could survive so deep into space. The way the society on this ship functions is cohesive and different from other sci-fi books I’ve read (though I haven’t read many like this), which is good.
The levels of leadership were also unique and full of potential. I like the idea of having an “Eldest” as the leader, and then having “Elder” as his apprentice; the names sound cool and different to me, and it makes the positions of power easy to distinguish. It’s cool how, even so young, Elder is destined to be the leader of the ship and learning how to maintain it and take care of its passengers.
However, the idea of “the season” irked me, and just felt really weird and awkward. For a place that seems so technologically advanced, it seemed very bestial and uncivilized. My reaction was very similar to Amy’s: shocked and grossed out.
Reading two different points of view added a dimension to this book that couldn’t have been there otherwise, but I found Elder’s viewpoint held my interest much more than Amy’s did. To me, Amy was whiny and on the bland side, and, while I didn’t hate her, she wasn’t exactly a memorable character, either. She was a typical teenager, only she was too typical.
Elder caught my attention a lot more, for some reason. His struggle and journey of learning how to manage the ship and the people on it was fascinating to me. Throughout the book, he’s learning how to make big decisions and think for himself and do what he feels is for the greater good, even if others disagree. Seeing his growth in these areas and in knowledge was something I thoroughly enjoyed.
I wish I could say I enjoyed our villains, as well, but unfortunately I found them to be very one-note and cartoony. They had a ton of potential, but it was never fully realized, and I think the mystery aspect of the book suffered for it.
There were a few other pleasant surprises (like Harley) and several unexpected twists in the character department, but overall, I felt this was the area that needed the most work in the book.
There actually wasn’t a lot of romance in this book up until the very end, so if you like your characters’ love lives in the background of your science fiction books, you might appreciate this. Most of the romance here was Elder pining for Amy (though not in a mushy way, thank God) and learning how to relate to the only girl his age on the entire ship. It was nothing to write home about, but it was okay, I guess.
In short, though there were some aspects of this book I enjoyed and many I saw potential in, I found Across the Universe to be too underwhelming and vanilla for my tastes for me to continue on with the series. But I wouldn’t be opposed to reading something else from Miss Revis (an Elder novella? *wink, wink*) in the future.