I’ve had my eye on Across the Universe for a while. I’ve seen it on numerous book blogs and on the shelves of book stores. Finally, I decided to see what it is all about. Across the Universe has a little bit everything. It is part murder mystery, part science fiction, part romance, etc. Author Beth Revis does a nice job of weaving all these parts together.
Across the Universe takes place on a large spaceship called Godspeed. (When I say large, I mean it’s about size of a small city.) Godspeed’s mission is to land on a new planet that will take over 300 years to get to. Hence, a select few people, consisting of military specialists and scientists, chose to be frozen for 300 years, in order to use their skills when they land on the new planet. In addition, more people chose to live and work on the spaceship and breed new generations.
Amy is one of the people frozen, along with her military dad and scientist mom. She lives in a frozen tube and balances between dreams and awareness. On the ship, we meet Elder, a 17 year old boy, who is next in line to be Eldest, the ruler of the ship. The current Eldest has always been evasive with information around Elder, which leads him to do some research on his own. He’s frustrated with Eldest, and gets even more frustrated when he learns secrets of the ship.
It’s then when Amy gets switched off, 50 years earlier than expected. Amy survives the abrupt switch-off, and Elder instantly becomes enamored by her. Together, they try to discover the dark secrets and lies of the ship and who is the person switched Amy off, along with other frozen people and leaving them to die.
The book is written in first person and alternates perspectives between Amy and Elder in each chapter. I really like Amy. She’s my favorite character in the book. She’s smart, determined, and strong. To be able to spend centuries semi-conscious in a frozen tube and not go insane takes a lot of strength. On the other hand, Elder takes a little more getting used to; he was born and raised on Godspeed. He’s inquisitive but tame. He has moments of defiance, but then doesn’t follow all the way through in those moments. It’s not that we don’t know where Elder’s loyalty lies; it’s more trying to understand what he’ll do next.
The story is very interesting and well-paced. Revis does a good job describing life on the ship. She blends the murder mystery in well, in addition to all the other strange things that happen on the ship. Towards the middle, each page has a new discovery about the ship. Another lie or secret is revealed, making the story even more complex. I flipped through these pages fast; eager to see what more will be discovered.
However, when I get to the end, I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. Revis started out with this brilliant, complex story and the ending was too simple. It acted like it answered many questions, but it didn’t. Since this is the first of a trilogy, I was expecting some loose ends and possibly a cliffhanger.
It does end with a cliffhanger and many loose ends. They particularly revolve around Elder. The surprise at the end was very much a surprise. It felt a little forced and out of place. It didn’t fit right, especially from what we know of Elder. It left me perplexed, and not in a good way. However, despite the faulty ending, I think Revis did set it up for a fairly interesting sequel. There’s a lot she can expand on, and I feel like the sequel should have more of a sci-fi thriller quality than the first, so sign me up!