April 16, 2011

Book Review: Across the Universe

Author: Beth Revis
Across the Universe is the first of a series, but the series doesn't have a set title at the moment.
Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin)
On-Sale Date: January 11th 2011
Format: Hardcover

We find the story hundreds of years in the future on a spaceship named Godspeed.  A journey was planned after discovering a planet with oxygen in its atmosphere.  Our characters are light years from Earth, and surrounded by metal.  There is an entire human workforce on the ship, and none of them truly have a clue what to expect when they reach their final destination.
After some time on Godspeed, the inhabitants created a hierarchy to sustain peace and order.  Eldest runs the ship, and he is not immortal.  If Eldest dies, the ship still needs to function without him, which is why Eldest always trains an Elder to take his place.
Unfortunately, it seems as if the current Eldest hasn’t been completely honest with his Elder.
Elder, like any curious 16 year-old, stumbles upon something.  It was something Eldest should have shown him.  It was something that would dictate his entire future.
Godspeed has existed for years, yet one girl can change everything.
It all starts with Amy ...

Across the Universe was worth it.
I did not know how I was going to put my emotions and opinions into words, but I supposed Beth Revis could put ‘Across the Universe’ into words, that so I could do this.

Across the Universe was narrated by two characters who could not have been more different.  One male, and one female who were worlds apart … literally.
Beth Revis created characters you could connect with.
Elder was more than simply likable.  Elder had heart and he proved himself to be a hero.  In the beginning, he didn’t believe in his abilities, and even throughout the novel he was still unsure and continuously questioned himself.  Elder was battling with what he knew to be true, and what he wanted to believe to be true.  To put it lightly, it was an emotionally shocking time for Elder.  However, he handled the surprising turn of events as a true leader.  Plus, he had a killer instinct.
When Elder first saw Amy she was raw and naked.  From the beginning, Amy’s vulnerable side could be seen.  However, she proved that vulnerability didn’t equal weakness.  Amy made a strong character, because she worked past her fears and through her insecurities.  Her strength only built up, which made her an impressive character.  Amy always fought for her beliefs, and for answers.  Part of the reason she was so successful in her endeavours was because her curiosity could not be sated.  At times, you wanted to comfort Amy, as you were always on her side.  
As the story progressed Elder and Amy took on each other’s characteristics.  Elder became the leader he was meant to be while Amy exposed her heart.  However, this in no way meant that Amy was weak or that Elder found confidence easily.
It was easier to get to know Elder than it was to get to know Amy.  Elder was more open and believing (which really isn’t surprising, given the circumstances), while Amy was hesitant and questioning.  But there still was so much to each character.  By the end of the book both characters blew me away.

If Elder had a best friend you would say it was Harley.  I used to think Harley was innocent, and that he lived in ignorance.  I did not feel that way once the book ended.  Harley did not like living in the dark.  He sought answers.  He wanted truth.  Perhaps, more than Elder.
Beth Revis wrote characters you could be proud of.  I cheered for Elder and Amy and Harley.  I wanted the best for these characters, because I cared about them.
She also wrote characters that you hated, and ones that you thought you hated.  My mind changed, and at certain points I wasn’t sure who I believed.  My questioning mind found answers, just not ones I ever expected.
This was a book of secrets, and the imagination it took to plot this was out of this world.  Beth made a great storyteller.

Across the Universe was not a book I would have usually read.  The plot summary didn’t hook me in, but the writing in between the covers was captivating.  The storyline was nothing like I expected.  There were too many twists and turns to count, and I enjoyed every surprise.
This was a book where you could see the care that the author put into the story.
It was entertaining to see how the plot unfolded.

Across the Universe explored some seriously interesting concepts.  This was a story that really made the reader ask questions, and ponder some uncommon issues.  (For example, I never considered being frozen, and waking up hundreds of years in the future.  However, I can now say that I have thought about such a thing).  The story was so much larger than I originally thought, and I could not believe that all of it was contained in one book.
I enjoyed the impossible aspects of the story.
Across the Universe had one of my favourite endings.  This chapter came to a close, but the story beyond that was open-ended and left to interpretation.

The selling point for me with Across the Universe was that it was science fiction written for people who didn’t like science fiction.  That shouldn’t be the selling point for you.  Across the Universe is the perfect definition of sitting down with a good book.

Premise: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

I found out Across the Universe was first in a series after I wrote this review.


  1. Ahhhhh this book sounds SO GOOD! I seriously have got to read this. I love the way you talk about the characters -- what beautiful, insightful illustrations of their personalities and strengths and weaknesses. Thanks!

  2. Was still trying to decide on this book, but you have convinced me. Such awesome reviews. I would like to share the Stylish Blogger Award with you. To accept, visit http://notquitesuperhuman.blogspot.com/2011/04/coolness-i-got-some-awards.html

  3. I cannot wait to read this book!! :D