I'm usually not a huge fan of [pure] sci-fi novels just because I don't have the patience to deal with the technical/mechanical aspect of the world. Sometimes the exposition becomes a bit too boring, especially when the author gets carried away with their worldbuilding. (Maybe I just read the wrong sci-fi books.) Anyway, it took me too long to finally go and get Beth Revis' Across the Universe, despite the rave reviews of readers everywhere. But I did, and then I wanted to slap my forehead for not getting it sooner.
It is brilliant! It is amazingly well done!
Ahem. Before I do more gushing, here's the blurb from Goodreads:
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.
About the Author:
Beth Revis writes science fiction and fantasy novels for teens. Across the Universe was her debut novel and the first in a trilogy. The next in the series, A Million Suns, is slated to come out January 10, 2012! You can find her website here.
The Book: YA Sci-Fi
The book alternates between two POVs--that of 17-year-old Amy who is cryogenically frozen in the ship Godspeed, and Elder, the next-in-line leader of the gen (generational) people populating the ship. When Amy is awakened from her sleep before they land on Centauri-Earth, the new planet Godspeed was heading for in hopes of beginning a new life there, she almost dies having been unplugged improperly from her frozen state. Life in the ship is strange and unnatural by Amy's standards. At the same time, the gen people regard Amy as different and therefore, crazy. She clearly does not belong. Amy doesn't think the people in the ship act naturally, or even are remotely similar to the people of the Earth she left behind. For one thing, they are all mono-ethnic--same color skin, hair, and eyes. They don't think for themselves; rather, their leader named Eldest does the thinking for all of them.
Elder is being trained by Eldest to take over his position once the time comes. He's taught to serve the people and know what is best for them. But Elder feels that his mentor has been keeping lots of secrets from him. Secrets like the cryo chamber and why someone was suddenly intent on unplugging and therefore, murdering the people sleeping in their icy coffins.
As Amy and Elder work to find the murderer, the ship's secrets begin to unravel around them.
I really enjoyed Ms. Revis' world of Godspeed and its eerie inhabitants. The contrast between Amy and Elder is striking and it felt real--Amy having come from Earth, and Elder who never knew land or home except for the ship where he was born. The characters (both main and secondary) were well thought out. The worldbuilding was the one I was most impressed with--I didn't get bored or felt that there was too much telling, too much technicality. Like I said before, it was done really well so that I never got lost in the exposition. Fast-paced and tension-filled, this book had me turning pages even when I was so dead tired and ready for a nap.
I can't wait for the sequel A Million Suns to come out in a few days!