Friday, 18 February 2011
UK ARC Review: Across the Universe - Beth Revis
Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed. She expects to wake up on a new planet, 300 years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing, Amy's cryo chamber is unplugged, and she is nearly killed.
Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed's passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader, and Elder, his rebellious and brilliant younger heir.
Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she? All she knows is that she must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.
Across the Universe is currently available in the US and releases in the UK on the 3rd of March 2011. It is Beth Revis' debut novel and the first book in a trilogy although I couldn't find the titles or release dates for the next two books yet.
Visit Beth Revis' website or the Across the Universe website for more information.
Amy's parents have signed up to be part of an exciting expedition to a new planet that is a 300 year journey from Earth. Amy must make the difficult decision to be cryogenically frozen and travel with them or remain behind and never see her parents again. After deciding to go with them she is expecting to wake up with her parents on a new planet so it comes as quite a shock to discover that she has been woken 50 years early and is still on the spaceship Godspeed. Life on the ship is nothing like the life she remembers on Earth and with someone systematically unplugging the cryo chambers and murdering the sleeping passengers Amy is determined to find out what is going on before something happens to her parents. Elder was born on Godspeed and has been raised by the leader Eldest to take over as leader himself when he is old enough. As he gets to know Amy and she raises her concerns about life on the ship Elder starts to doubt things he has always considered to be natural. The deeper he digs the more secrets he discovers that Eldest has been keeping from him but can Elder and Amy get to the bottom of the mystery in time to save the remaining frozen passengers?
There has been so much buzz about Across the Universe that I've been looking forward to reading it for ages. I was a little nervous that it wouldn't live up to the hype but if anything it actually surpassed my expectations. I haven't read a great deal of science fiction so this was completely different to anything else I've read before and I was sucked in from the very first chapter. I've always been a little freaked out of the idea of being cryogenically frozen and I have to say the graphic description of what Amy and her parents go through didn't make me feel any better about the idea - it was almost enough to give me nightmares!
The story is told from both Amy and Elder's points of view in alternating chapters which was a great way for us to get to know both characters and to see life on the ship from very different perspectives. Amy's perspective is much easier to relate to - she finds things just as strange as we do as she had a normal upbringing on Earth - but I think I enjoyed reading Elder's story even more. For him life on the ship is all he's ever known and he was very accepting of things that seem very strange to both Amy and the reader. It is only from talking to Amy that he learns more about what is going on and starts to question the leader Eldest.
Although I figured out quite early on who was unplugging the cryo chambers there were still quite a few surprises that I didn't see coming and I have a feeling that there are more mysteries to uncover as the series progresses. Both of the main characters are very likable and easy to relate to and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the romance didn't overtake the rest of the story. Although there is an attraction between Elder and Amy I definitely felt it more on Elder's side but that was understandable and felt more realistic. I have high hopes for more romance developing in further books but was glad that they didn't immediately jump into a full on love affair. Instead Beth Revis focuses far more on showing us what life is like on Godspeed and she did a great job of describing the claustrophobic feel of life on board, I don't think it's something I could cope with.
I don't want to give any of the storyline away as I think it will be much more enjoyable if you go into the story not knowing what to expect. I will say that this was a fantastic debut and one that I would highly recommend trying - I can't wait to read future books in the series! If you're not a science fiction fan don't let that put you off giving Across the Universe a try, I would look at this more as a dystopian mystery that just happens to be set on a spaceship. I would be very surprised if this book doesn't make my top 10 list by the end of 2011 and would definitely suggest you give it a try.
Source: Received from Penguin in exchange for an honest review
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.