Daddy said, “Let Mom go first.”
A Red Raven Reads Review of “Across the Universe” by Beth Revis.
Amy is a teenage girl. (A very, very teenaged girl. I don’t know how to better describe her. Very teenage-y.) And, lo and behold, she is a teenage girl whose parents have been selected as “essential” crewmembers for the ship Godspeed, and Amy can’t stand to stay at her home on Earth, knowing that her parents are cryogenically frozen and hurtling towards a new Earth. Go figure. However, the story begins when our heroine awakes 50 years earlier than the estimated 300 year-long flight and nearly drowns in the midst of cryostasis. Is it merely an accident, or otherwise? That’s what Amy, and her handsome new space-beau, Elder, intend to find out. “Across the Universe” will sweep you into a world of mystery, murder, and intrigue… all in space.
This novel is phenomenally written and offers realistic portrayals of different character views. The story is fabulous. It’s compelling, interesting, and exciting. It is clear that Revis has an excellent understanding of the craft of suspense, as her work teems with it. It is clear that a great deal of work and thought went into the novel. In the all-too-trite world of Young Adult, this novel is a breath of fresh air that seems to part the red sea of mediocrity. However, while an excellent book in these areas, there are a few areas where “Across the Universe” falls short.
It could very well be just me, but I found Amy intensely unlikeable, naïve, and almost bitchy at times. I didn’t like her a bit. I didn’t care what happened to her. I only followed the story because I adored Elder and his perspective (and book boyfriend sexiness). And, while the suspense was well done, the impact and “punch” of the book seemed to fall flat as well. It was as though there was a film of apathy layered over all of the excellent writing and passion. At times it just felt weak, and it really affected the book as a whole.
While I personally didn’t enjoy the book as much as I’d liked to have, I would still recommend it. My personal taste has no bearing on the quality of the novel and I can see why others love it so much. With that being said, objectively it’s difficult to render this book at four stars, simply because of Amy’s characterization and the seeming distance and lack of “seriousness,” for lack of a better word.
To me this was a good Young Adult experience, and I was impressed by the uniqueness and veer away from trend. However, due to its flaws, I have settled on giving it 3 stars in 1-point rating systems and 3 ½ stars from a half-point rating system—the truest rating being the latter. If you’re a sci-fi geek such as myself minus the intense critical nitpicking, I have no doubts you will enjoy this novel.