May 16, 2012

Review: Across the Universe

By: Beth Revis
Published: January 2011 by Razorbill
Format: Hardcover, 398 pages
First Reviewed: June 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
Add it on Goodreads

What does it take to survive aboard a spaceship fueled by lies?

Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed. She expects to awaken 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 teenage 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.

Rating: 4/5

Not gonna lie, I wasn't overly excited to dive into this book. Mainly because I'd never read this type of book before--I don't even think I've read a sci-fi book. Oh wait, yeah I have. Black Hole Sun. I didn't care for that one. Anyway, I wasn't too excited, even though many people have told me it was great. But, boy, am I glad I moved this up on my list. I really enjoyed this.

I quite loved Revis's writing. To be blunt. I have only two main issues, which were over within a few chapters: Some of the repetition in both Amy and Elder's chapters, and at first the prose was a bit hard to get fully into. But those are my only "problems." Once I got used to her style, I really fell in love. She has a simple yet complex way with words that made the narrations mature and teenage-sounding, without being overwritten. And she even had a style within her style, scattering poetic sections throughout, only when they work, of course, so they weren't distracting.

Also, Revis is another author who can pull off a dual narrative. Honestly, I think this may be one of the best dual narratives I've read. She stayed true to Amy and Elder's voices, their personalities very different and consistent. I didn't even need to see the name at the beginning of the chapters to know exactly who was talking. Oh, and there was just one more nitpick. So third "problem": Some of the dialogue sounded a bit forced to me. Not very often, because 95% of the time the dialogue was fantastic. But just sometimes.

There is one major nitpick I have with the characters, though. Mainly just Elder. For the first fourth--maybe a little more--he got on my nerves. He just...was too...what's the word? Just annoying. I can't exactly pinpoint the reason. He kind of felt too disconnected, all while being hung up on Eldest more than I felt he should have been; that's mainly all we heard out of him for that time period. And Amy also grated on my nerves every now and again. Not as much as Elder had in the beginning, but there were sometimes where I just wanted to tell her to shut up.

However, when they weren't annoying me, I really liked them. They had these voices and personalities that were strong enough to lead an entire story on their own (Amy could have narrated this whole thing and would have been a great lead, likewise for Elder), though I loved the dual narrative. The minor characters never really popped, but I liked that. This book focused more on the story and the leads, and the other characters--who were developed as well--were just moving the plot along, coming in where needed. Very good characterization all around.

The storyline, I felt was very original. Something I've never read before and something that wouldn't normally appeal to me, but Revis makes it appeal to many, in my opinion. I absolutely loved that the romance part wasn't overdone in any way--though, I do think the kiss should have happened a little later--and it never distracted from the book. It was more of a connection and grew stronger instead of the normal commercial romance.

The main plotline was full of mystery and watered-down action (the good kind of watered-down action, mind you; not the shooting and obsessive fighting kind, but conflict action-y). I did, however, find it to be a bit predictable. There was only one main point that I didn't see coming, but the others I figured out either way, way before the characters, or just a few chapters ahead, but still. I also didn't care for the sex ordeal. I felt that was a little too drawn out. I was a bit much for me.

Other than that, I really loved the pacing of this. I felt as though I was on that ship, which was pretty dang awesome and creative, if you ask me. And I thought the emotion was pretty good, too. I was a bit disappointed in the ending, though. *Spoiler Alert* Read at your own risk, I say! I wish Amy could have been refrozen to join her parents. Staying with Elder was sweet, but it seems like books never care about family. It's always the romantic counterpart who wins. That was depressing. *End Spoiler*

Also, Revis likes the word "snorts." She used it. A lot. And there were a few things that had some open-ended reasonings. I was a little confused on some of the technology and words, but not overly so. And, and, and! The book jacket! It's reversible! REVERSIBLE. Yes, all caps needed, because it's just that awesome. I've never had a reversible book jacket before! The main cover is the one you see above, but the other side is the ship's layout. So cool!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. So much more than I could have imagined. Revis has fantastic writing skills that I look forward to reading more of.

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