Thursday, April 07, 2011

Somewhere out there

Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

At the beginning sixteen-year-old Amy says goodbye to her parents, both essential crew for a colonization mission into space, knowing that they will be reunited 300 years from now, when their cryogenically frozen bodies will be revived. Then Amy goes through the painful process of being frozen. Over the years she dreams – and sometimes hears voices.

Teenaged Elder is the next in line to lead the inhabitants of the spaceship Goodspeed, now only 50 years from landing. Attempting to learn his place in society and what his future duties will hold, he struggles against the tyrannical ruling of Eldest, his predecessor and current ruler.

When Amy’s chamber is unplugged, she narrowly escapes death and is thrust into a world she never imagined. Physically different from the rest of the ship’s inhabitants, she stands out, something that Eldest does not like. As Amy struggles with trusting Elder, she also worries about the safety of her parents – especially as more of the frozen occupants are unplugged. Can Amy and Elder figure out who is trying to murder the hidden frozen inhabitants before another one dies?

Across the Universe

The story unfolds in alternating chapters told by Amy and Elder, giving the reader both sides of the tale. Both characters are well developed. Amy’s original apprehension at joining her parents, her confusion about life on the ship, sadness about life before leaving Earth and her fears of being without her parents for at least 50 more years are all written with honesty and realism. The same can be said of Elder’s conflicting feelings about one day being in charge of the ship and his questioning of how things are done. The two are teenagers, and at times do act as expected; however, they are also forced to act as adults, especially when it means saving the ship from total disaster.

The story made me think, long after I finished reading. However, even with a solid ending, I want to know more about Amy, Elder and the journey from Earth to Centauri-Earth.

Dystopian novels are all the rave right now. I like the genre well enough but have been getting annoyed reading the same formula again and again. That being said, this look into the future has some differences that I very much enjoyed, the most noticeable being location: a ship in outer space.

Now…if I could only get the title to not bring the Beatles song to my head, I would be a lot happier. Lovely song, but not as an earworm.

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