Genre: Sci-fi, YA
Source: I bought my own copy from Sony.
Rating: 4 birdies
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Across the Universe. The romance didn’t meet my expectations, but the world building, the descriptions and the mystery were excellent!
Across the Universe is about a 300 year journey to another life sustaining planet. It has what you expect – people being frozen for value, plus people on board the ship living lives. It follows a girl named Amy, who is frozen along with her parents. The story then fast forwards to the future, where we meet Elder in a strange version of life. This sudden immersion into nearly an entire, unknown culture is startling. Normally, I do not have a problem getting used to new worlds, but this one I had quite a lot of trouble understanding the new terms and realities. I didn’t take long for me to get into it, though I was constantly shocked by the difference of life-on-spacecraft.
Despite not understanding at first, I really liked the detail that went into creating futuristic space life. So much thought went into it that there was absolutely no room for a single plot hole (that I could detect, anyway). This detail went forward into the descriptions; I was always well aware of what the surroundings were in the story and had a clear picture. I also loved the details of things such as the “freezing” of human bodies. It made it feel so real and plausible.
This detail was also found in the characters – I thought all the main characters were well rounded and developed. I loved Amy’s conflicting emotions and confusion. Coming from a world much like ours, I felt as though I could relate to her the most. I definitely understood everything she went through, with being unfrozen too early and being immersed into some really strange world really quickly. Even though Elder was the oddity on the spaceship – being unlike the people around him, I still understood him and I really liked his character. He was flawed and naïve, though smart and more accepting than others on the ship.
The one problem I had was that I didn’t feel any real spark between Amy and Elder. There was a little attraction, though it didn’t make me feel anything. To be fair, there wasn’t a lot of movement in the love department, though the blurb hinted at it enough for me to want more.
Across the Universe included some adultish material that I wasn’t expecting. This was shocking at first, though I came to respect Revis for including it. At first it felt unnecessary, but as the plot moved along it began to fit and make more sense.
Something else that I loved? The mystery! I felt like we were in a sci-fi murder mystery! Something I haven’t actually come across before. I love guessing in books, and I loved being surprised. I was amazed at how many times I was surprised! There were only a couple of really guessable things.
However, another big thing that let the book down for me a little was some of the revelations and truths of these mysteries. There was some seriously strange behavior going on inside the ship, but when the reason for this came out? It was really unbelievable and almost too “out there”. It seemed like such a huge, extensive and pointless effort. It was complicated – and really, the more simple answers are sometimes better and more effective. I feel like this could have used some more common sense.
Other than feeling off at this point, and being disappointed at the romance, I still really enjoyed reading Across the Universe. I am such a sucker for that great description and detail, and I was honestly hooked from the beginning. So, I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. Across the Universe can have a rating of four for hitting my weaknesses. However, I do warn younger readers. There are some parts in the book that seemed a bit much for anyone under 18.