Book Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

, by Janine M.

Me, as a reader: I can read a book in a day or in a matter of hours if the story is very riveting, while it takes me days or even months to read something when I am bored to tears by the plot (yeah I have the patience to finish a book I started reading, however long it takes me to do so). However, when I read love stories and inspirational fiction (e.g. Sparks, Coelho), I tend to drink all that literary sweetness in, reflecting on the narration and the dialogue, causing a supposed quick read to extend to 2 or 3 days. :P

Moving on to the review...

First, I want to say thank you to Christy. I won this book from her second summer giveaway in the blog she and her friend Erica owns.☺ It arrived in the mail yesterday, and I was surprised to find a beautiful hardbound book from The Book Depository (I really hope shipping would still be free after being acquired by Amazon).

Title: Across the Universe (Across the Universe #1)
Author: Beth Revis
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian 
Hardcover: 416 pages 
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin Group
Release Date: January 1, 2011
Source: Book Depository, won from a giveaway

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

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.

Alternate Blurb:
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 a tiny world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed’s 2,312 passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader.  And 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 tried to kill again.

Opening Line: 
Daddy said, “Let Mom go first.” Mom wanted me to go first.

The cover: 
I am a sucker for anything with a magical and dreamy feel. The stars, plus the colors, the couple in the middle... I like it very much. It gives you the feel of how vast the universe is and how two persons are brought together by whatever (impressions prior to reading. :P).

The plot:

What would it feel like to wake up in a place where people looked the same, thought the same, felt the same (which is, nothing)? A place where people do not know and do not have love, compassion, free will, and all the other things that make us human? An enclosed ship where a society changed by time and necessity lives?

Feeling alone in a time and environment light years away from the things she's ever known, Amy struggles to keep herself together as she, with the help of Elder, unveils the truth behind the organized and blindly obedient society run by Eldest while trying to find a murderer. Amy feels claustrophobic in Godspeed (ironically, people do not recognize God nor practice religion in the ship) and having experienced living on Earth, she knows that everything in the present is just a cheap imitation of the life she left. Another irony is that "normal" people are labeled as "insane" in Godspeed. I don't want to give any more spoilers. Read the book to find out! :P

This is the first dystopian YA novel I've ever read. A mixture of sci-fi, suspense, and romance, this book is unputdownable. The story is told from two points of view, those of the male and female protagonists. Contrary to most people who found the book dragging, I found the pace quite okay. Maybe I've become more patient over the years. I was excited for Amy to wake up already, though. :P I found myself wanting to write my own version of some parts of the story, but I'm good with the plot overall. There were times I overthought what would happen next when the answers were actually predictable, but there were also moments that I was surprised by the twists.

The setting:
Time: 250 years into the future, from whatever year Amy was frozen. 
Place: Let the photo speak for itself.

The characters:

Amy swings back and forth between being a strong-willed character to a crying mess. I couldn't blame her entirely given the weirdness of all she's witnessing. If I were her, I would've gone mad already. Though I haven't noted the exact time frame in the story from the moment she woke up, I think it took place in less than a week. However, I am neutral about her character. I don't hate her, but I don't like her that much either. I just find it hard to empathize with her. I hope her character develops in the next book enough for me to like her. Towards the end, the reader is given hints that Amy has reached a better understanding of her situation, that there was no going back, that she is somehow close to accepting her fate no matter how painful, and that she wants to take part in the changes that the civilization in the ship will undergo.

Elder started to question Eldest's credibility when he knew that lie behind the stars. He became more observant and less trusting of the current leader with every lie he discovered. He has the potential of being a just and effective leader (in Earth's standards) but with his youth (16 years old) and the heavy influence of all the things he's ever known to work, he questions his ability to rule. There were times that he was so distracted with Amy that he could forget about Godspeed! I am imagining how he looks like in my mind's eye. :P

Harley was kind-hearted, emo, a romantic, gifted, and a very good friend. I almost cried when "he chose to be among the stars".

Eldest - I just included him here because I want to stress that I pity him. He did what he thought was best for everyone, lying to the people, removing their freedom to choose, using science to control and manipulate them, giving them false hopes, emulating Hitler. He wanted to pass this ideology on to Elder, but he was also power-hungry and did not want to let go of his position until his death. But you got to give him props for having that kind of conscience. Also, because of him, you would question yourself if you would make the same decisions he made. The situation in the ship also blurs the definition of right (necessity vs. being morally correct).


Beth Revis writes awesome sauce, given that this is her debut novel (2011). She writes in a refreshing manner, refusing to be cliche and overly romantic early on in the first book. She wrote a page-turner, and I really couldn't stop reading until I finished the book.

I love the cover, I like the plot, I wasn't bored reading it.

 Rating: ♥♥♥♥ (I would've given it 5 if the characters were more loveable. :P)

At first I thought that the novel felt open-ended. I was okay with it being open-ended, but I was relieved when I learned that this was the first story in a trilogy! So, that's why the romantic scenes were that few! So, that's why Elder is still torn and undecided on how to lead the people.

Will Elder turn out to be righteous? Will Amy still see her parents? Ultimately, will Godspeed ever reach its destination? I definitely want to find out.


Watch this book trailer! ☺

Read the first chapter here.

So excited for A Million Suns! ♥


  1. this is one of my all-time favorite movie. followed you. :) 

  2. Is there a movie for this? Thanks for following. :D

  3. oh geez i love this book! i bought it out of impulse and i was so happy with it i blogged about it too... the best part is BETH REVIS tweeted me for it :D

  4. @Kumiko Mae I am so excited for A Million Suns!


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