Originally, I wanted to post this review in January. However, it felt better to wait and truly let the story sink in before diving into a review head first.
I was first introduced to "Across the Universe" in July 2010, when Jaye Wells tweeted about the OMG AMAZING! first chapter she'd read online. A few minutes later, I read the first chapter and I knew I was hooked. This was going to be a book that I had to read, no matter what.
For the next six months, I entered every contest for an ARC I could find -- and lost all of them. Finally, release day came and I marched into the book store. I read the book across a span of a couple of days, and came out with a lot of mixed emotions, which is why I decided to postpone my review.
"Across the Universe" is told through two viewpoints. Amy, a regular girl from Earth who is cryogenically frozen along side her parents for what is going to be 151 years, and Elder, a teenage boy who is next in line to command Godspeed, the ship.
When Amy is woken up fifty years too soon, she's a wreck. Everything and everyone on the ship is alien to her. The technology is far more advanced than what she was used to back on earth, the people all look similar -- dark hair, dark eyes -- and they're weird. They go through mating seasons like animals and yet it's Amy who is the freak.
The majority of the story is kind of like a murder-mystery. Someone aboard the ship is killing the "frozens" and though the story is told from two different perspectives, it's hard to know who to trust. Like Amy and Elder, the reader has to put things together and decide for themselves who they want to trust.
I don't read a lot of science fiction; I'm always worried it's going to come across as super cheesy. Beth Revis, however, made the science in "Across the Universe" believable. Most of the story takes place on the ship and through Amy's eyes we discover new things, while through Elder's eyes we learn the history of the ship and the society aboard it.
For me, the best character was Harley, the artist. He was a lot of fun to read. Amy's whining for her parents kind of got old, though it's understandable. What teenager alone on a weird spaceship worrying about her parent's untimely demise wouldn't whine? Elder seemed a bit wishy-washy to me. One moment he's a scared teenage boy, another he's a boy on the verge of becoming a man. I disliked his immediate love interest in Amy -- it made me wonder why he was chosen to be Elder if he's so easily "corrupted"/distracted by a pretty blond? Granted, Amy's the only blond on Godspeed, but I would have liked to see Elder be more like Eldest and struggle to be different, rather than just being "OK, I'm different from you because I'm in love with the blond chick."
This could also be because I wanted Amy with someone else... *ahem*
All in all, Revis delivers a good story; personally, I think it was all the over-hype about the book that took away from the story. When something is hyped up for six months, I'm expecting to be blown away by the story and immediately fall in love with the characters. I guess I was expected something like "Harry Potter" but in space.
All hype aside, it's a good story and good read for those who, like myself, aren't very comfortable/familiar with science fiction.