Jacket blurb: 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.
I actually read this book back in January, when this book was still full of beyond-the-skies hype. Taking into account that hype, the excerpt I had read, and the general “LOVE THIS BOOK OR YOU SUCK” attitude pervading the blogosphere at the time, I was incredibly underwhelmed by Across the Universe. I’ve spent the rest of the year trying to wrestle myself into a more objective opinion of it.
But I have to face facts. I will never love this book, and I will probably never reread it (the ultimate test for any book I think I love).
For why though, you ask.
It’s a well-written book. It’s solidly-plotted and paced, Revis’ writing skills are perfectly adequate and in some places quite lovely. The world-building and premise were fairly original. Tension was used very well in this book, strung out like a chocolate trail leading you on. I loved the idea of being stuck on a ship for so long and exploring how that would change and affect the people living on it (I love Wall-E for much the same reason).
But I was never surprised during this book. I would call the genre a scifi mystery thriller dystopian, but the thriller part never really thrilled me. I guessed every twist and turn that came at me (save one at the end which I will of course not spoil, but it wasn’t the MAIN twist at the end). I spent most of the book pointing at things and insisting the main characters listen to me and PAY ATTENTION. They never did.
That brings me to another element that kept me from really enjoying this. The characters. Despite the fact that Amy has been thrown into this place and I hate it as much as her, I never really empathized with her. She just annoyed the heck out of me, probably, again, because I was yelling at her the whole time to notice things or do things that she just refused to proactively do. Elder was a mixed box for me; I empathized with his struggle to define himself and decide who his loyalties belonged to, but much of the time his narrow-mindedness and lack of observation killed me.
Orion and Harley were the two characters I cared about most, but they disappointed me in different ways. Orion didn’t turn out to be nearly as interesting as I had hoped, and Harley was underused drastically. I hope he has more of a role in future books cuz that boy is golden.
I also don’t know if the mixture of genres really works out in this book. There is so much going on and not enough space to work it all in, and again the characters seem stuck in a limited pool of actions. Maybe the sequel will expand the horizons more (in more ways than one).
So after all that ranting, I need to tell you that I gave this book 4/5 stars on Goodreads. It’s perfectly adequate and obviously enthralls a lot of people, so to some extent I’m assigning my dissatisfaction with my own reading wants/needs/feelings.