“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.”
Thoughts: In Beth Revis’ Across the Universe, mankind has been hurtling towards a new planet and unknown salvation for generations. The heroine Amy is thrust into this new world by accident as she is cryogenically unfrozen fifty years before she should be. What is supposed to be a mission of peace and survival quickly grows cloudy and confusing as she discovers the changes over 200 years on-board have wrought mankind and finds clues that lead her to believe that the mission about which her parents were so passionate may not be as peaceful as she initially believes. It is this air of mystery and potential doom into which Amy is thrust while trying to make sense of her new surroundings and find allies sympathetic to all her foreignness. Across the Universe begins with an intense moral dilemma and quickly moves on from there to mystery, intrigue, and a glorious amount of realistic science fiction that will makes readers eagerly anticipate more from this talented writer and her spooky, intense new series.
The wonderful thing about Across the Universe is the fact it portrays science without romanticizing it. The description of the cryogenic freezing process is horrifying, which adds an air of reality to this piece of science fiction. More importantly, it is exactly what more pragmatic minds would consider when freezing someone alive. Even better, Ms. Revis discusses the ramifications of being cryogenically frozen and woken generations later. The adjustments to this new life are lengthy and confusing, and it is not as simple as waking up and moving forward with one’s life without missing a beat. In other words, Ms. Revis presents her plausible science with all of the ethical and moral dilemmas that should also coincide with advances in science.
Another strength of Across the Universe is the mystery. This is much more than Amy’s confusion about Elder and her concerns about life on Godspeed. It is the overarching mystery about the Godspeed‘s true mission, the reason why certain people were frozen, and what they hope to obtain when they reach their destination. There are hints throughout the novel that all is not as rosy as Amy was led to believe, but at this point in time they are nothing but shadowy clues. While in more poorly written stories, the lack of answers could be bothersome, under Ms. Revis’ skill, however, the reader is only drawn more fully into the story of the Godspeed.
Ms. Revis’ debut novel is as good as they come. It has all the harbingers of its successful predecessors in its particular genre while being completely unique. Amy is a strong and sympathetic character, and a reader instantly bonds with her confusion, her desire for answers, and her issues adjusting to her new life. The story ends satisfactorily but builds anticipation for the rest of the series and the sought-after answers which remain nebulous and filled with potential. In other words, Across the Universe is a more than welcome addition to the YA science fiction canon.
Acknowledgments: Thank you to the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association and their trade show for my review copy!