Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Book Review: " Across the Universe " by Beth Revis

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-Earrth, three hundred years in the future.  But 50 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 little world where nothing makes sense.  Godspeed's 2312 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.

My Review:
(for my old friends who have been with us for a while, read the review, but I have some thoughts and stuff for you guys at the end)

Well, I guess I sort of owe you guys an explanation as to where in the world have we/I been the last 3 months.  That will be for a Sunday Scoop but I will tell you this- We did move in October and have just had a gazillion problems happen since we did.  Not really "with" the move or because of it, more just- since the move.  Anyway, the short of it is sometimes "stuff" happens and it happened to us, all at once.  I will let you know that for whatever it is worth, I NEVER stopped reading at all.  I just haven't had the energy or or to be honest, the drive to tell you guys about the books I read.  It bothered me a lot that I was MIA, but it was for the better at the time.  If you are reading this, I appreciate your patience and most of all, your friendship to hang in there with me.

But, now things are different and better and we are all ok and I have read some awesome books lately and I wanted so bad to tell you guys about them and I'm rambling on and on and.....oh, man....I just missed you guys and the feeling you gave me when I wrote something that you read and actually cared about. that off my chest. Now, to the book. (if you are still reading this after that sob story).


I heard about this one oh, maybe about a month or so ago. Not too long ago.  I picked it up on release day and started it.  Couldn't put it down.  Definitely, without a doubt sets a HIGH bar for this type (dystopian/sci-fic/YA/fic) for the rest of 2011.  I might even go as far as saying that I don't know if I will find one as good as this the rest of the whole year.  As a book lover, I obviously hope and pray so, but I don't think it's gonna happen.

So, there are tons of really good books, right?  MOST, although excellent stories, are pretty much written kind of the same way.  I can't explain it, but you can definitely tell when a book is different.  First of all, the whole book is short chapters (which I mentioned once before that I just LOVE that format) and it is told from the poinmt of 2 people.  Amy and Elder.  It goes that way with the chapters- first Amy, then Elder, then Amy, and so on.  That stuff so far, coupled with how Revis transitions from chapter to chapter, and the actual story is what makes this top notch.  It really amazed me how "tightly" Revis puts you in a scenario where Amy is telling you what's going on and how she is feeling about the situation and then BAM, right in the middle, a new chapter starts and the SAME situation is continued in his (Elder's) eyes.  Amazing work.  I also have to say that she must have had an AMAZING editorial staff working with her.  Geniuses.   I absolutely could NOT stop reading.  The entire book flowed that well.

Now, the story.  I was definitely intrigued initially by the science fic part. A spaceship leaving Earth to go to the first habitable planet found, which happens to be 300 years away, or is thought (calculated) to be.  A bunch of people (the Noah's Ark theme) with different skills essential to starting civilization on a new planet (including military in case there is already civilization there when they land) are cryogenically frozen (SO cool!) and packed away on a ship bound for that planet, 300+ years away.  Scheduled un-freezing is for when they land, or around when they land) Amy is a non-essential having special permission to come because both of her parents are frozen on board and labeled essential.  (just telling you how she got a ticket on the ship)

On the ship with these frozen peeps is what started out as a bunch of "normal" people.  Over the years, things got more "controlled" (after the "plague" on board) and were run sort of like Hitler wanted things to be run.  Order- everyone thinking alike pretty much, under control of the one big leader.  Kind of like brainwashed.  Now, when generations and generations (remember this is supposed to be a 300 year trip) of people are on a ship simply for the reason of reproducing and keeping things running until landing it can be a "situation."  What I mean by "situation" is that it can be a good situation if everyone is ok with that and it can be a bad situation if people understand that they actually are stuck in this metal ball, simulating Earth- simply for the purpose of keeping a ship alive ONLY so those "frozens" can have a real life on a real planet when they land.  I would say that if the people know their purpose it is one thing, but if they feel their real purpose, which is not much, it can get to you.  The question is, are they better off knowing their purpose or understanding and feeling their purpose?  Also, how do you make 3000 + people be ok with being trapped on a ship with no real purpose?  Those are some central questions that the story revolves around.

From reading the description above, you should have a good understanding of the story.  I wanted to get you to try and actually "feel" what Revis wants us to feel.  Amy and Elder figure out that something is definitely wrong on the ship.  Things are just not normal.  The fact that someone is also waking up some of the frozens and trying to kill them is also a big mystery.  Remember, Amy's parents are still frozen.  Eldest, the tyrant, has the ship under control (except the murders) and is trying to pass that "control" down to Elder.  Elder however is starting to realize that things might not be so normal on the ship.  Its a story about the future, technology that is so cool (ear com pieces put under the skin that are like built in cell phones), murder, deceit, control, love and hate.  What's great is how they all blend together to make a wonderful story.  In a weird sort of way, I kind of thought of Isaac Asimov when I read this.  Not the same, but I would definitely say you will "feel" the same way after reading it as you do when you read Asimov.  Definitely.  I think that's why I loved it so much.  It gave me that feeling and I LOVE Asimov.

Keep in mind I am a bit "rusty" with this. (reviewing)  It's been a while.  When I read this, the only thing I wanted to do was tell you guys about it.  I sort of wrote this one as if we were talking about the book and I was trying to explain it to you.  My apologies if I am a bit rusty.  I promise that if you do read the book, you would come back here and totally agree with me on most of what I wrote.  

Throughout the book, I found myself trying to actually figure things out on my own.  Figure out what was right or wrong.  Who was right or wrong.  Really got me thinking.  There is a HUGE twist at the end and basically all of your questions are answered.  I definitely want more.  The ONLY thing that I might possibly not be thrilled about (going forward in the series) is location.  What I mean is as great as the story itself was, I would LOVE to see book 2 (at least book 3) be on the new Centauri-Earth.  I would love to see how things end on this ship, but I also want to see the new world and it's development.  That would definitely complete the Asimov feeling.  I believe that Revis has built it up so much that we HAVE to see the new world and how the landing goes, etc.  I think if she does that, and does that right, she has the potential to create a someday "classic"series.  YOU HEAR THAT MRS. REVIS..... PLEASE give us your take on the new Earth and the landing.  She has the opportunity to build something great.  I hope she goes down that road.

If anyone has read the book, feel free to add your comments.  With great books like this I LOVE to get other people's take on it.  Anyway, that's about it with Across the Universe.  On a few separate notes, I recently read "Matched" by Ally Condie.  It was also a great book.  I was going to review that, and still might.  If I don't though, it definitely gets an "A" and it's definitely a buy. I can see that one going on too for a while and I hope it does.

I reviewed a book here last year I think and also did an interview and giveaway with the author.  The book was "Adventurer's Wanted: Slathbog's Gold" by Mark Forman.  A while back I had the chance to read book 2 in the series, " The Horn of Moran" when Mark was still working on it.  I absolutely loved it.  I recently found out that Mark got book 2, "Horn" published (YEAH MARK!) and it is being released on Feb 2nd.  I am going to try and interview Mark and possibly do a giveaway, etc. for you guys.  Lastly, and I mean lastly, (I sure hope this is public info) my good friend Laura Bingham is working on Alvor 2 and I can't wait for that one either.  Laura is one of our featured authors here at TLGBRS and also a wonderful friend and person.  She truly is, and I am really excited to read A2 as well as a little something I know she has been working on for a while now.  When that comes out (not if, but when) you guys are gonna have something really good to read.  I promise that.

Ok, great to be back and just know that I missed you guys. A lot.