Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday Reads: Across the Universe

No longer just a reference to a sixties boy band! Across the Universe by Beth Revis was another one of those "this is why I love this genre" sort of books. It's described as a YA sci-fi mystery. Maybe with a touch of dystopian. But totally awesome. (By the way, admire the cover.)

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awake on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into a brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone—one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship—tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

First Sentence: "Daddy said, "Let Mom go first."" Not the very best first sentence, but it's enough to make you wonder and read on. It's the first scene that will captivate you though. It is so unique and emotional that you can't help but keep reading. Far from anything you'd expect. And I was thoroughly hooked.

Beefs: Hm... there is one in here somewhere I think. Maybe it's that I figured out the ending--the "who dunnit?"--before we were told. But, as my mother tells, me I always ruin the endings because I can figure it out. Maybe I'm the only one. Maybe not. But honestly, this wasn't a major draw back because I didn't know exactly HOW things happened, WHY things happened, or WHAT was going to happen next. It's a ride this one, one you'll enjoy. (and there is a little delicious twist I definitely did not see coming--not giving anything away though.)

Brownie Points: Do I talk about POV a lot? Voice, yes (which is also well done here). But POV? Well, let me start. When alternating first person POV is done well, it's a big asset to the book. It can be trick of course. I did have to concentrate on the new chapters/POV shifts and remember who was talking (though most of the time the voice was distinctive enough to clear it up), but most of the time it was superb. All over, the major brownie point is craft--on everything: plot, pacing, characters, world building, etc, etc. Study this one if you want to write YA, mystery, sci-fy, or dystopian.

Ending: Wholly and completely 100% satisfying. You didn't know exactly how it was going to end, and believe me, you won't expect the twist (even I didn't). You'll believe in truth again, and courage.

Recommendation: Do you even remotely like any of the genres/sub-genres? Read it.

Would I represent it? Contemplated making my yes in really, really big, annoying font. But decided against it.

Happy reading!


Bkloss said...

So glad you reviewed this one--I've been very interested in reading it. I'll move it up further on my list ;)

Steph said...

This book has been on my TBR list forever and I finally bought it last week. I have a few library books to finish first (I always overload on these) and then I'm going to dive in. Thanks for the I really can't wait to read it :)

Heather said...

I really enjoyed this book. Most would say it's a bit early to call it one of my favorite reads of the year but I know it will be hard to top so I say it is!

Roberta Walker said...

I am reading this right now and thoroughly enjoying it. I agree about the first sentence, but the first chapter was so creepy and kind of horrible (in a good way) it had me hooked. Revis' world building is fantastic. I'm sucked in 100%.

Unknown said...

Ha! Roberta is reading my copy! I read "Across the Universe" for my January 2011 Debut Author Challenge book, and then gave it away.

I usually struggle with books that "head hop" in first person like that - it's very hard to do, but Revis did a great job. At some points, she's switching perspective so quickly that it's like she's choreographing the reading experience with page turns, part of building the intensity. Very cool, I don't think I've ready anything else quite like that.

Kristine Asselin said...

I used a Christmas gift card to buy this book for myself. At full price. BEFORE Borders discounted everything. And it was so worth it! :)

I'd been admiring the cover since Beth Revis released it on her blog and I read the first chapter a few months ago. I've been salivating to read it ever since.

It's a really great read. I can't wait for the sequel! Great review, Vickie!

Unknown said...

I also figured it out pretty early, but found the why's compelling enough to continue reading, and I'm very curious as to what will happen in the sequels. It reminded me of Brave New World actually, which is a pretty high compliment.

Sarah said...

I loved how it dealt with the theme of truth, making certain choices extremely difficult. There's one point at which a character acts with nobility and I actually thought while reading, "Wow, I don't know if I could have done that." Usually I just want the characters to suck it up and do the right thing. Pretty cool.

Anita Saxena said...

I just finished reading this book last weekend and I agree whole heartedly.

Julie said...

Excellent! I'm always up for another good recommendation!

Nicole said...

This was a great book. The cover is wonderful and sucked me in (then the few quotes on the back finished me off). I had no choice but to give it a 5-star review and recommend it on my bloggie.