Book Reviews

Review: “Across the Universe,” Beth Revis

January 21, 2011
Review: “Across the Universe,” Beth RevisAcross the Universeby Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe #1
Published by Razorbill on January, 2011
Genres: Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Pages: 398

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 initially didn’t jump on the hype-wagon for this one. Sure, it sounded original and great but something just didn’t stick. I picked it up on a whim when I went into Borders whilst on holiday and although the book sat on my nightstand for a week without being touched, the day I got home I finally opened its cover. That was that! Across the Universe will have you furiously reading through the night in order to figure out its secrets!

This was another duel-perspective read. If you’ve been following my reviews, you’ll know that those often leave an awful taste in my mouth. I’m not a big fan. However, I think it was necessary in Across the Universe‘s case. Although it felt a little jilty switching back and forth between Amy and Elder, it was most definitely needed to tell the story as completely as it did.

I’ll star with Amy – I liked her! She reminded me immensely of Amy Pond from Doctor Who. I had a picture of her firmly in my mind as I was reading although I know she’s much older than seventeen! I think it had to do with her brilliant red hair, feisty attitude and coming to terms with a new world… in space! Although some of her actions were a little over the top, I must admit in her situation I’d be a lot worse. A lot! But I admire her so much for being able to adapt the way she did, have the fight to stand up for things that weren’t right and demand change for the better.

I liked Elder, too. He was unsure of himself but he’s a sixteen year old boy and I thought he did awfully well with what he was given and the life he’d been spoon-fed since birth. I loved the chemistry between Amy and Elder, and was wishing and hoping with all my might for more of the romantic scenes between them. I honestly don’t think there was enough!

I loved Harley! He was my favourite and the three made up a great trio! I also loved the quick friendship Amy and Harley strung together and their dynamic. I probably could’ve shipped them, too, if it weren’t for Harley’s love of Kayleigh.

As for the plot twists (spoilers ahead, beware) there was a lot I saw coming and a lot I didn’t. I’d say it breaks even. I had figured out the Orion/Elder twist a few moments after noticing the scars below the ear. Somehow he just felt shifty from the beginning and my reader intuition was acting like an alarm system whenever he stepped foot on the page.

Things I didn’t expect were the things about the engine, just how far the Phydus went, Elder’s beginnings and a few other bits and pieces.

Something that has really stuck with me from Across the Universe was the opening chapter; where Amy sees her parents being frozen and the choice she has to make. For me, that chapter was so raw and hard hitting I knew instantly this book was going to be a great read. I was so drawn in from those first few pages I knew the rest would be just as good!

I’m not sure what choice I would have made in her position, but most probably I would have turned around and lived my life rather than being frozen… however, it wasn’t clear if the planet Earth was in more trouble than just economy. It seemed like Amy had a pretty normal life before the freezing. If the world was about to end in a month or so, I would have opted for the freezing. I wish Beth Revis had told us a little more about the on-Earth situation to begin with, but it’s not a major irk of mine.

A lot of people are making references to The Beatles in their reviews. Honestly, I didn’t think the title had anything to do with the Beatles to begin with and I think it was a fitting title for a new YA sci-fi novel. My sister saw me pick up the book and asked if it was the book adaptation of the film we saw and I had to tell her it wasn’t – so I suppose there are a lot more people out there who have the same idea! It wasn’t until I saw the first quote in the book that I realized this was Beth Revis’ intention – to have the lyrics from Across the Universe mentioned.

I’ll have to do a little more research – I’m not sure if there is another book to come in this series or not. Anyone know? I’d definitely be interested in picking up the story and seeing how Elder establishes his leadership duties and how his relationship with Amy grows. If not, I think the book ended on a great note and my imagination can come up with some great ideas on how everything eventually unfolded.

Recommended to: Fans of sci-fi readers, mature or YA readers!

About Beth Revis

Beth Revis grew up reading the works of C S Lewis and Agatha Christie, which resulted in her debut novel, a YA murder mystery set in space. A former teacher, Beth lives in rural North Carolina with her husband and dog.


  • Reply StefanieEmmy February 21, 2011 at 4:13 am

    Great review! I really enjoyed Across the Universe a few weeks ago :) And there will be two more books in the series, book 2 will be published one year from now in January 2012. Too long to wait if you ask me ;)

    Greetings from Austria,

  • Reply Katy January 27, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Seriously wish I motivate myself to finish this book!!! Good review girl :]

  • Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge