Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Tags: YA, sci-fi, dystopian, mystery, murder, secrets


Amy wasn’t planning on being nearly killed when she, her parents, and 97 other people are cryogenically frozen for a 300-year journey aboard a massive spaceship. But someone unfreezes her 50 years early, and she finds herself aboard a ship run by a tyrannical leader named Eldest. As Amy spends time with Eldest’s successor, a teenage boy named Elder, she discovers that the ship contains many secrets. What is Eldest hiding? Why is someone still killing the cryogenically frozen passengers? What’s wrong with the zombielike behavior of the ship’s residents?


ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is a heartpounding sci-fi/mystery by debut author Beth Revis. Whether or not you are a fan of science fiction, you’ll be pulled into the mysteries that the Godspeed contains, and this future world that Beth has so stunningly created for us readers.

Perhaps most impressive about this book is the development of the ship, Godspeed, and its inner workings and secrets. From reproduction to crop control to emotional stasis, the people who run this ship have created an eerily controlled dystopian environment. No concept is too complicated for a non-science person to understand. It creeps you out yet keeps you glued to the pages.

Amy and Elder are enjoyably well-rounded. Amy is headstrong but not annoyingly so, as many female protagonists have a tendency to be when faced with dramatic situations. Elder, likewise, is a sweetheart, with both his vulnerabilities and leadership. Other characters occasionally fall a bit unbelievably flat, such as Eldest’s unconvincingly one-dimensional villainy. Still, the pacing moves the story along nicely. Beth Revis makes use of the actual space on the page and crafts her sentences to appropriately reflect the amount of tension in the situations, adding to the mood.

The conclusion of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is explosive yet satisfyingly so, leaving you wanting the sequel. This book just might convince many readers to be interested in science fiction. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to Amy, Elder, and Godspeed next!

Similar Authors
Orson Scott Card

Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 4/5

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Cover discussion: 4 out of 5 - The opposing heads kind of freak me out a little, but that sky is GORGEOUS. The astrophysics nerd within me swoons into a puddle of my own drool.

Razorbill / Jan. 11, 2011 / Hardcover / 400pp. / $17.99

ARC requested from author/publisher.


  1. Thanks for the review. Think this would be a cool read alongside Orson Scott Card's ENDER'S GAME and Dom Testa's GALAHAD series. LOVE your cover comment - just keep repeating the phrase "the astrophysics nerd within me" and giggling :)

  2. Sounds really good!! I wanna read it, even though SciFi isn't my go-to genre.
    thanks for the awesome review!

  3. Thanks for the review! I really like Sci-Fi and ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is a great read.

  4. I was excited to read this before but am even more so with your review. Thanks!

  5. Nearly picked this one up at Borders over the weekend -- they had an entire endcap filled with copies! Sounds really, really good, and I love that cover.

  6. I can't wait to read this one, plus the cover is gorgeous. Great Review!

  7. Great review. I'm in the middle of reading it, and can't wait till I finish.

  8. I don't read a lot of sci-fi but I'm really curious about this one. I think it's good that more YA sci-fi books are coming out.

  9. I absolutely loved this one as well - I didn't anticipate how incredible this was, and how thoroughly innovating it was for the genre. I was lucky to get a chance to pick this one up at the SIBA Trade Show in Daytona in September last year and it was one of the first ones I read. I hope they make a film out of it.

  10. That cover is so beautiful. It took my eyes a while to work out that thoses were faces.

    Fab review, I'll need to get myself a copy of this. It's been ages since I've read a good Sci-Fi.

  11. This one was a bit slow going in the beginning but then I got sucked in and really enjoyed it. The world building, as you say, is excellent and I found the characters to be quite intriguing at times as well.


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