Sunday, April 07, 2013

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis (@bethrevis)

Across the Universe by Beth Revis (@bethrevis,

Lori picked this one up at the library for herself but said that I might enjoy it as well. I picked it up and very quickly made my way through it. With nods to WALL-E and Firefly, this is a book that takes place in a bubble - a colony ship headed for a distant planet, an attempt to save humanity. There's a crew that over the generations runs the ship and a bunch of people cryogenically frozen, ready to be activated upon arrival to help colonize and terraform the new planet, well, except for one of them, a "non-essential" brought along because both her parents were essential. Of course, she is unfrozen part way through the journey, almost killed in the process. The story is told in chapters that alternate between this young adult and a similarly aged male aboard the ship. Her presence on this ship is a disruption - the catalyst for a bunch of things unraveling and not going according to a prescribed plan.

I liked this book, so I'm trying to speak in generalizations that don't give too much of the plot away. That said, this is a popcorn book - the characters aren't exceptionally deep, the story a bit predictable, you will undoubtedly figure most of it out on your own as you go along anyhow. There are a few twists and turns and a few surprises, a few red herrings, but for the most part, you won't be asked to think too hard.

On Amazon, there is a diagram of the ship itself. I would have liked to have seen this - if it was in the book, I overlooked it. It is quite helpful because this ship is massive, capable of carrying over 3,000 people plus spaces for farmland and several multistory buildings inside a single level designed to give an approximation of earth to people who have never been there.

A recurring theme I liked was the idea that you can be amongst so many people and yet still be alone, that you can be so dependent and so helpless (though I could have done without the attempted rape scene that made sense in context but made me question it as a YA romance book). People are also frozen naked so there's other talk about the anatomy of our 17-year-old protagonist which seems a little out of place for a YA book since it would obviously not make the cut if this were turned into a movie. And I could see this being made into a movie. Settings and CG wouldn't be really expensive, very few actors would be necessary (lots of extras in the background, though) and there's enough in terms of themes (being alone, racism, romance, aging, totalitarianism, unchecked power being corrupted, family, suspense, science fiction, angst, longing, staring into eyes, etc.) that I wouldn't be surprised if it were considered for a movie at some point.

I will definitely be checking out more from this author.

After I wrote this, I found a website that has an interactive model of the ship -

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