Thursday, August 29, 2013

Series Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Author: Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: January 2011 - January 2013
Pages: 1,153
Format: Hardcover/paperback
Average Rating: 4.07
Read it in: A few weeks
Source: Bought from Amazon

- Summary - 

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.

- Review - 

What do you think it would be like; to live on board a spaceship? To have never seen the stars? Never felt a cool, Autumn breeze? Never experienced the bitter cold of winter, or the feeling of pool water on hot skin? To exsist with the promise of a new world, but unable to live long enough to escape the walls that keep you alive? The concept of space travel—to journey from one broken world to the next—has been a topic of debate and speculation for quite a while. What would happen if the earth was no longer habitable and we had to find somewhere else to call home?

Now, I am not a huge fan of science fiction. Things like Star Trek and Star Wars never really appealed to me growing up (even with two obsessed parents), and I have pretty much kept away from the genre my entire reading career. So, when Across the Universe first came out, back in 2011, I was not interested. And I remained uninterested until earlier this year, when I discovered Booktube and was hit in the face with how awesome and wonderful these books were. So, I caved. And that is where this love affair begins.

Let's begin with the plot. Like I said before, the whole "Cryogenically frozen passengers and a ship en route to a  new world" idea is nothing new to the genre, but the way that this story is presented and followed through is just... spectacular. One of the things I liked the most about this series, other than the characters, is how well the world on board this ship was built. I loved the set-up; how only a select few were chosen to be frozen, and how the ship was run—the complexity of both the Eldest system and lies. Everything was fast-paced and emotional, and I was never, ever bored with the story. In fact, I could hardly put the books down! There is just so much happening—which is awesome, given how the characters (minus Amy) have all been stuck inside the same metal walls their entire life, doing the exact same things, day after day—that by the end of books one and two, you are left feeling extremely claustrophobic and wanting to escape just as much as the passengers. I enjoyed watching how all of the lies and history of the ship fit together in the end, and how everything remained suspenseful and extremely believable. And the romance! If you have been following this blog for a while, you probably know how much I can't stand Insta-Love. Well, there was certainly a lot of fluffy, romantic moments in all three of these books, but the feelings between Elder and Amy never overpowered the plot. Instead, it was a part of it; leading to some great character development and adding to the overall story without covering anything up. Betrayals and deaths in these books felt personal, and I ended up becoming extremely attached to these characters by the end of book three.

Which leads me to the characters, themselves:

Amy was a very strong, very independent female lead. Anyone would be overwhelmed after waking up early and finding out that they may never arrive at the new planet they left earth for, or see their parents again. And Amy was. But she was also pissed off. She was scared and confused and bullied by the people on Godspeed, but she refused to give into Eldest and worked to find a way to solve the mystery of her early wake-up, the frozen's murderer, and finding a way off of the ship; all the while standing firm in her beliefs in what was right vs. what was wrong. I will admit that I was a little worried that she would hate Elder when he finally told her the truth (their "relationship" was still pretty new, and I was afraid it would turn into one of those books), but she surprised me. She certainly showed selfishness at different points throughout the story, but was able to remain strong and do what was right, despite history not being on her side. There were certainly moments when she was frightened and in the midst of breaking—like in book two, when she was terrified of Luthor—but these feelings only helped us to realize that, beneath that strength and sharp tongue, she was still human, and capable of feelings other than spite and vengeance. Her character development from book one to book three—from believing in her parents and despising the shipborns, to standing up for them—was outstanding. She lost so much throughout this series, and I think that her greatest development occurred when she allowed herself to break. 

Elder was another amazing character, and probably my favorite of the lot. Despite everything that happened—realizing that he was a clone, loosing three of his confidants, destroying the ship (through his disuse of Phydus and literally destroying key parts of the vessel)—he was able to put aside his own selfish feelings and focus on what he needed to do for his people; no matter how much they distrusted or disliked him. Elder probably went through the most betrayal in this series (which is saying something), and yet he still managed to remain the same person that he was before, if not a bit wiser. He made mistakes—a crap-ton of them—but was able to do what was best for everyone, even if it meant stepping down from his position. He had his breaking points, just like Amy, but I really liked seeing him hollow and without hope, because it made his comeback that much more epic. 

These two characters on their own are pretty kick-ass, but together they are outstanding. I liked how, despite their conflicting feelings for one another, they were able to remain friends throughout the series, instead of turning on each other. They put a lot of trust into the other person, and in the end, they were all the other were willing to have. Their whole relationship was based on truth, and I really liked how Revis worked that concept into everything that they did—together and individually. Elder was extremely selfish with Amy, but he told her the truth at the end of book one, even if it meant that she would hate him (which is something that both Eldest and Orion could not do). I liked how Amy was unwilling to "settle" for Elder, and told him so, just because they were the only two people their age on the ship. It made their feelings and friendship seem that much more genuine, which is something that, nine times out of ten, you do not get with Insta-Love.

The writing in these books was extremely engaging, and I really enjoyed the duo narration; how each chapter flowed into the one that came after, as well as the suspense that it provided. Everything was really well paced, and each character was an individual person, with their own quirks and traits and personalities. Everything fit together really nicely, from beginning to end, and seemed so real that I could actually imagine something like this happening. There was not much I didn't like about this series (seriously, my cons list is practically nonexistent), and I really, really enjoyed falling in love with this story, and am excited to see some more of Beth Revis' work in the future.

- Rating -


5/5 stars from me! I can see why this series gets so much hype. Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment; I would love to hear from you!

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