published by Razorbill
release date: January 11, 2011
hardcover, 398 pages
intended audience: Young adult
(recommended age: 14+)
description: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.Review: Oh my. This one was fascinating. Really fascinating. I don't read a lot of science fiction. It just tend to be a bit too technical for me a lot of the time. This one, however, was touted as "science fiction for people who don't like science fiction". What? Once I read this, that statement made perfect sense. Along with being science fiction, it was a romance, a murder mystery, a dystopian...yes, more than anything else, I think I would put this in the dystopian category. Because more than anything, it is about a futuristic community that has been built on a ship traveling through space. And what happens when a society has to accommodate being cooped up in a metal cage. What happens when a leader emerges from the group that thinks he knows what is best for the whole and goes a little overboard with the power and control.
Going into this book, I really had no idea what to expect. The beginning, for me, was brutal to experience. The story starts with the introduction of Amy and her parents and describes, in vividly gut-wrenching detail, the procedure they have to endure to be cryogenically frozen. I'm admittedly a bit on the wimpy side when it comes to things like this, especially when it comes to things being forcibly shoved down a persons throat while they are conscious. So just the first chapter left me just a bit shaky.
I liked the array of interesting characters in this book. Amy has a fiery spirit, made even more so by her anger at being unfrozen and by her determination to protect her parents and the other that are still frozen from being attacked in the same way. Elder seemed a bit young and innocent, much like a mischievous school boy, but that made sense because of the way he was raised. The romance in this was light, more about curiosity and fascination than passion, since Amy is the first "different" person he has ever seen and also the first person he's ever met that is his own age.
There were quite a few sexual situations in this, but not like you would expect. In this wacked-out society, sex has become more of a basic human function than an act of love, and the people of a certain age stop in the streets and sidewalks and field and "mate" not unlike animals in the wild. It was pretty shocking. And with the situation that it puts Amy in, it also becomes quite frightening.
This story throws a few of those profound, what-would-you-do conundrums at you, where the line starts to blur between right and wrong. At times, it deals with some pretty heavy themes, like prejudice and misuse of controlled substances and genetic manipulation.
This was a gripping tale, definitely one that gets you thinking. I really enjoyed it and recommend it! An impressive debut novel!
Visit Beth Revis's site here.
Purchase Across the Universe at: Amazon • Barnes & Noble • BookDepository