Saturday, August 2, 2014

Tea Time: Across the Universe

I know I promised ya'll reviews on Tuesdays, but then I ran into the problem of having the next three Tuesdays in a row taken up by other things that can't be moved. And I really wanted to post this review and others. Therefore, I'm revoking my words about Tea Time being on Tuesdays, and now I'm posting them on Saturdays.

And, honestly, this was totally my bad. I owe ya'll virtual cookies, or something.

**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**

Across the Universe, Beth Revis (Across the Universe #1)

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, 300 years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end 50 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. (source:goodreads)

Cover-I'll admit, the cover didn't pull me in the first time. Then, the longer I stared at it (and waited for the book to arrive at my apartment because I bought it, anyway), I started loving it more and more. The style of the text is what screams of the book being science-fiction; the frozen state of the borders of the cover hint to the cryogenics involved in the plot, and when you finally look close enough: there' the ship (well, what I assume is the ship.

It's so simple and fantastic all at the same time. Therefore, I really don't have a bad thing to say about it.

Narrative-I was extremely excited when I found out about the POV in this book. AtU is told from two perspectives, both in first person.

The first perspective we see comes from Amy, the girl who gives up her life on Earth (or Sol-Earth as it is later called) in order to be cryogenically frozen alongside her parents for three-hundred years until they reach the new Earth (called Centauri-Earth).

The second perspective comes from Elder (not to be confused with the all-powerful Eldest), the boy who is to become the leader of the ship once the current leader is no longer capable (or when the new generation hits).

Honestly, I thought this was just fantastic, and I have a few people in the Twitter-sphere who can vouch for the fact that I was stoked about there being dual POVs. What's more, the fact that the perspectives are told in the first person gives it a little bit of an extra challenge, given that the author would then have to ensure that the narrative for each character doesn't read the same. In my opinion, Beth Revis did a phenomenal job; both voices were so completely different, that even if there weren't names at the top of each chapter to dictate who was speaking, I have faith that I would have figured it out on my own by page twenty.

Plot-Oh my dear lord, I have no clue where to even begin.

From the very beginning the reader is introduced to an emotional environment, the first chapter encompassing the moments in which Amy watched her parents become cryogenically frozen, and then is frozen, herself. From there, we move to the future: introduced to Elder as he explores his ship.

It's a roller coaster ride. Amy's trying to come to terms with the fact that she'll be an old woman by the time her parents are thawed, and Elder's trying to work through his feelings for Amy. In the meantime, both of them are trying to figure out who is purposely unplugging the frozen people and leaving them to die (in a horrible way), and figure out what, exactly, Eldest is hiding, and determine why everybody who lives on the ship and is so...weird.

What I loved is that this book had a definite BRAVE NEW WORLD feel (any fans of

Characters-Let's talk Amy and Elder.

Amy gets to go first, though, since she's the first one you meet. And let me tell you, Amy's first chapter is jam-packed with emotion. The way in which she sees her world, and then begins to mourn it when she wakes up on the Godspeed is one of those eye-opening things; the only way I can put it is that she was real. I felt her emotions. She's smart, too, and not afraid of a challenge (in this case, "challenge" is equivalent to Eldest). I loved how she was also gentle and acted very much her age in enjoying the little things whenever she had a chance. Not only is she believable, but relate-able. Her choices don't always make sense, either, but they made me sit down and really think that if I were in her shoes, I'd probably hang on to anything I had in the same way that she does.

Elder. He's the other side of the spectrum from Amy in that what she views as completely otherworldly, he sees as normal. He's curious about the ship that he will one day lead, but at the same time there are certain things that he accepts as truth simply because that's the way he's raised, and the way he's been taught to survive. Where Amy gets to tear down a world that she knows is backwards and filled with lies, Elder has to discover it, which puts him in a more complicated position. Despite this, he's willing to explore every avenue, so he's impressive in his determination.

Yet, he still makes his own mistakes, some of which have repercussions with Amy. Another impressive aspect that you get to learn about him is the way in which he deals with those mistakes, and does whatever he can to make things right again.

There's also a whole slew of secondary and minor characters who are to die for. Harley, for instance, is Elder's "crazy" best friend, and an incredible artist. He has a childlike glee to him that can melt into dreamy intensity in the time it takes to blink, but his protectiveness is what really stood out to me.

Last I'll bring up Eldest, simply because he's technically the "villain" of this book. He's Elder's predecessor, and as such he knows everything about the Godspeed, including a plethora of secrets. His villainy is by no means transparent; his relationship with Elder, in particular, brings up incredibly interesting questions, in that Elder has to determine for himself whether the secrets should actually remain secrets. Then again, there's a constant fear following both Elder and Eldest around of what would happen should those secrets get out.

Basically, the characters are all incredibly three-dimensional. They have their own regrets, their own secrets, and they're all working toward the same goal; the conflict comes in that they all have different ways to achieve that goal, and they all think they're in the right.

I read this book in an afternoon. It's fast-paced, and I was absolutely sucked in. My advice? Read it.

Final Answer: 4.75 / 5

If you'd like a chance to get a free copy of this book, check out my giveaway set up to celebrate 100 blog posts. The first prize winner can choose ACROSS THE UNIVERSE out of a list of my favorite books, and the second prize can win a gift card to Barnes and Noble. Win / win right?

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