August 17, 2013

Book review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

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Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the spaceship Godspeed. She has left her boyfriend, friends--and planet--behind to join her parents as a member of Project Ark Ship. Amy and her parents believe they will wake on a new planet, Centauri-Earth, three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing, cryo chamber 42 is mysteriously unplugged, and Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber.

Someone tried to murder her.

Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed's 2,312 passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader. And Elder, Eldest's rebellious teenage heir, is both fascinated with Amy and eager to discover whether he has what it takes to lead.

Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she put her faith in a boy who has never seen life outside the ship's cold metal walls? All Amy knows is that she and Elder must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

Across the Universe had the potential to be a really good book. It's a YA sci-fi/dystopian story that's right up my alley. There were big mysteries to uncover, which I enjoyed (and some which I guessed early on). The premise and the setting of the ship were planned out logically for the most part. The main characters, Amy and Elder, were both well developed and people I could root for. I even liked the way their relationship evolved. It seemed realistic given their very different backgrounds, none of this nonsensical insta-love that pollutes YA books.

The main reason I'm giving this book 4 stars instead of 5 is that it's way too long. The hardcover edition I read was almost 400 pages long, and it could've easily been pared down to under 300. In fact, the first half of the book dragged at times while I waited for something to happen. It wasn't until the second half, when the mysteries of what's happening on the ship drove the plot, that the story became really interesting. If the first 300 pages had been like the last 100, this would be a 5-star book.

I read this book as part of the Authors A to Z reading challenge. Next up: Everlost by Neal Shusterman.

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