Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Published Date: January 11th 2011
My rating: 5 out of 5
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 awaken 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 the 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
The First 20%
I've had this book in my TBR pile for so long! I found the story quite difficult to understand from the first few pages. Not the going onto the spaceship and being frozen but the backstory. The Why. Told from two point of views-Amy and Elder-we get to know about Godspeed, it's purpose, and the lies that Elder is being told. He figures out a vital clue right near the beginning just in time to set his-and our-minds working through the truth and lies. The biggest question is who unfroze Amy, and why?
The Main Characters
Amy is quite a young character, a little naive. Born on Earth she comes from a life that we all know. Boyfriend, best friend, school etc. But Godspeed is so far away from anything she's known and right from the start she's confused. Her friendship with Elder isn't an easy one. Her friendship with Harley is better, and its through Harley that we grasp the finer points of life on Godspeed. Once Amy understands the environment and why the workers are they way they are, because of the drugs, she begins to take a stance. But the thing that drives Amy is that soon, one day, she'll be able to unfreeze her parents. She misses them so much, which is one thing that Elder can't understand.
Elder. Well, the whole concept of Elder/Eldest was completely creepy. But in no part of the story did I feel like I couldn't relate to Elder. I felt so sorry for him. He had a good childhood, of sorts, but where we arrive in the story is vital to him. He isn't supposed to question anything, but he finds himself questioning everything. And when he finds Amy all reason falls away. For someone so young, he was a great inspirational character. Only he's still the youngest person on the ship.
Harley really appealed to me. He's happy but then shows a really sad side. He'd amazed at the smallest things. I wondered what Harley would be like without the drugs but he really kept Amy together when she was falling apart.
So, most of the occupants of Godspeed are given drugs to keep them compliant. I figured this out before it came up. The constant drug taking was something that didn't sit well, and in the end this factors into the downfall of Godspeed. Eldest has been leading the people for so long, but he hasn't been telling anyone the truth. He constantly lies to everyone, keeps them in order, allows a Season to interfere with his final plan, and constantly tries to bring Elder to heal. He's the ultimate dictator. Amy and Elder, with the help of Harley discover so many secrets that soon they're both on Eldest's list of people he wants to pop off. The creativity behind the story is awe-inspiring. It isn't so much the story itself but the processes that the author has put in place to help us understand life on a busted spaceship. The self-sufficiency, the history of the Plague, the creepy Elder/Eldest thing and the creation of the drugs. All these tiny threads weave a great story together.
Obviously there's another book after so it can't possibly be the end! However we do resolve a lot of issues in the final few pages.
I'm a sci-fi fan so this book initially appealed to me. I would say its for a younger Young Adult audience than Mature Teen. But, overall I would definitely recommend it!