Book Review: Across the Universe–Beth Revis

across-the-universeI mentioned Beth Revis’ book Across the Universe in a previous blog entry as a book my wife told me I needed to read.  She had bought it on her Kindle, and since we generally don’t buy the same book twice, I decided that I would steal my wife’s Kindle for a couple of days and read this book.  I have never read a book on a Kindle before, so this was quite a new experience for me.  I’m going to cover the e-book aspect in another post so I can do both this book and the e-book experience justice. 

Across the Universe is a Young-Adult Science Fiction book about a journey to the stars.  Seventeen year old Amy Martin is dropped into a freezing creche next to her mother and father and put onto the spaceship Godspeed, with the goal of being awoken 300 years into the future at a new planet which the ship will terraform.  While a large number of people are frozen, a large number are left awake to run the ship during the trip.  It’s a generational spacecraft, and by the time Amy is awoken, things have changed dramatically on the ship, and she is caught in a web of deceit and danger that threatens the entire ship.

I really liked this book.  It flowed very well, and I didn’t really want to put it down.  The point of view alternated between two first person characters, and at first I thought that would be distracting or confusing, but I got used to it pretty quickly.  I can’t recall ever having read a book done in first person from two different point of views (I may have read one, I just don’t remember it).  I actually debated this technique with Ben Newland a few months ago when we were plotting out our next books.  His books has multiple main characters and I told him it would have to be done in third person because of this.  Clearly, I was wrong.  Sorry, Ben, if I led you astray.

Revis covers a lot of hard science fiction in this book.  Not the kind of hard science that has you double-checking her equations, but the kind that tells you she put a lot of thought into respecting the reader’s ability to see the ship and the future as characters.  This is not a YA book on a spaceship.  It’s a true-science fiction book which just happens to have two teenage lead characters.  The problems they have are not just teenage problems.  They’re deeper issues that any adult would have problems dealing with, and the stress of being the youngest only makes their lives more difficult and makes you root for them more.

If you like science fiction, you will like this book.  If you are willing to read Sci-Fi and like YA books, you will like this book.  Revis hits a sweet spot in combining genres, and she should be very proud of the results.