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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Across The Universe (Across The Universe #1) by Beth Revis

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.

Released: January 11th 2011         Pages:398
Publisher: Razorbill                      Source: Library

(Note: I read the book with the original cover, but I couldn't bring myself to post it here.  The original cover bothers me to no end.  It's brimming with so much awkwardness that I can't even take it.  I mean, that isn't even a romantic almost-kiss position.  That's an "I wonder how your chin smells" position.  And that's just weird.)

First Look: ***** I've never really been drawn to this book.  Probably because its cover screamed "Insta-love!".  Still, I've heard so many good things about this book.  I was at the library, and at the same, spaceships sounded good.  I don't know why--I was in a spaceshipy mood?  So, both on a whim, I picked up this and Black Hole SunIt turns out that I was impressed with neither.

Setting: ***** I could never figure out what exactly the spaceship was supposed to be like.  Was it enclosed with rooms and corridors, like you'd expect a spaceship to be?  Or was it open on the inside with actual buildings inside?  I could never tell.  Sometimes I thought it was one way, sometimes another.  Or maybe it was both?  I don't know.  It would've been nice if this was made a little clearer.

Characters: ***** First, Amy.  Elder kept talking about how spirited and rebellious she was.  Um...she didn't do anything.  Sure, she never hesitated to verbally challenge someone, but she never backed up her words with actions.  She'd be fine yelling at Eldest all day long, but then she'd go and sit in her room and act depressed. 

And then there's Elder.  He was a well-developed character, but I never liked him because he was also a well-developed creeper.  From the moment he sees Amy, all he wants to do is make out with her.  Seriously?  That's romantic, now?  Amy has just gone through the trauma of being unfrozen early and has no hope of seeing her parents again and you want to start a relationship with her?  No.  This is not okay.  She is obviously in no condition to be entering a dating relationship.  I spent most of the book mentally screaming "BACK OFF!" at Elder.

Elder did redeem himself a tiny bit at the end.  The key words are a tiny bit.  His confession in the final chapters didn't make me like him, but I regained an ounce of respect for him.     

Plot: *****
The plot was highly predictable.  When someone started unfreezing people, I knew who it was right away.  A certain character appeared near the beginning, and right away I knew he was the culprit.  Then, Eldest is being all secretive and there are some sketchy records out there.  Is something fishy going on here?  I was thinking "Well, duh.  What are you idiots waiting for?  Get to the bottom of this?"  But the characters were more like "Is something weird?  I don't know.  Maybe sometime in the next fifty years we'll look into that but OH LOOK EVERYONE, IT'S THE SEASON!"

And by the time the big reveal came along, I had it all figured out.  It doesn't take rocket science (pardon the phrasing).  Seriously...all the so-called "normal" people are brainwashed robots but the "crazy" people who can still think for themselves are on mental pills.  How does that not strike anybody as suspicious? 

There were a few more things that didn't make sense.  For example, Amy's brief period of brainwashing after drinking the ship's drugged water.  She spent a long, extended scene showering in this same water, and it didn't affect her.  But as soon as it comes out of a cup, she's brain-dead.  This makes no sense.  So having all the drugged water soaking into her pores didn't affect her, but a glass of water did?  What?  Also, every time Amy ate, she'd eat a bite, get disgusted, and throw the food away.  Why is she not starving yet?  It's been a few days.  Why has this not yet been an issue.

Also, one more thing.  This book supposedly had romance in it, but all I see is a creeperly insta-lust on the part of Elder.  Romance:

Uniqueness: *****
Claustrophobic spaceship of people traveling to make a new world on a new planet?  Check.  Something is not as it seems in said spaceship?  Check.  I've seen this pattern before.  The freezing thing, though, was unique.

Writing: *****
The author's detailed description of freezing at the beginning of this book freaked me out.  I suppose that was the point, but still.  I was thinking, "When did I sign up for this?"  But, ah, well.  I got through it. 

The only complaint I have about the rest of the book's writing is with the separate POVs.  The chapters from Amy's POV were pretty much identical in voice and tone to Elder's.  Most of the time I could keep track of who was narrating, but if I left off reading in the middle of a chapter and came back to the book awhile later, I'd have to go look at the chapter heading to check.

Likes: The freezing thing was interesting, and provided the opportunity for some interesting ethical and emotional issues on Amy's part.  Unfortunately, though, the author never went anywhere with this.

Not-so-great: Eldest?  Really?  What is this, the Inheritance Cycle?  The only guy I'll call "Eldest" is Murtagh McAwesomesauce Morzansson (middle name invented by yours truly).

Overall: Overall, this is one of those books where it seems everybody loved it but me.  I found it to be highly predictable, with several logic gaps.  Amy didn't do much of anything, and Elder was a creepy stalker who needed to back off.  Frankly, I don't see what everyone liked so much about this book.  I don't recommend it, and I have no plans to read the sequel in the near future. 

Similar Books: It has a claustrophobic spaceship setting, like Glow and Inside OutIts main character reminds me of Juliette from Shatter Me, and the author's writing style reminds me of Matched.

*I've determined that one of the quickest ways to freak me out is with scary-looking medical equipment. You can show me all the disgusting and scary evil creatures you want and I'm fine, but this kind of thing honestly terrifies me. The unwinding scene in Unwind, the part where Steve Rogers is injected with the super-soldier serum (I don't even think that's supposed to be freaky but it is), even that scene where Pepper Potts is pulling out Tony Stark's arc-reactor and pulling on the wires...I don't think I could be a doctor.
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