Saturday, 22 October 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis


Across the Universe by Beth Revis was a dystopia I’ve wanted to read since its release back in spring, but never got around to buying. I had high expectations and, frankly, I didn’t expect them to be fulfilled. But I did think the book was excellent in most areas and my biggest problem would be that it felt jumpy on occasion.

The plot itself is a mix between dystopia, science-fiction and murder mystery. Though I guessed at how things would turn out (I was right) it didn’t make the journey to that conclusion any less enjoyable. In fact, I found myself doubting my prediction numerous times as I thought it too farfetched and unlikely. Reading it wasn’t difficult and I could quite easily picture what I read without trying so I respect the work that must have gone in to achieve such a thing. It was relatively un-put-down-able for me and, being short-ish, I finished it in a few hours. I probably haven’t taken everything in, but too bad; I was too drawn in.

The romance was, for me, a little too sudden and ‘love at first sight’ originally but I do think this sort of corrected itself when past, influential loyalties came into play. Amy’s reluctance, due to Jason, made it so she could actually develop feelings for Elder rather than embarrassing swooning and tiresome make-out sessions. I actually got an idea of how this relationship blossomed.

Godspeed, and the county-like atmosphere it represented, was easily the best thing for me. I enjoy reading world-building, and it didn’t take long until I was completely absorbed in Beth’s. That may have been because there are always secrets in a mystery sort of novel so I unwittingly was solving it, but I genuinely believe that the ship and its inhabitants became (fittingly) one organism and influence I read with glee. I had the hardback, too, which included a map of the ship- making visualisation just that bit easier.

My dislike was, as I mentioned, a feeling of jumpiness. I felt that some parts of the plot felt abrupt and that they came about merely because that was the plot; I didn’t acknowledge any evidence or development that I felt pointed in that direction. I don’t believe in spontaneous inspiration so abruptness in the story jarred me a little. Thankfully, in this case, pros easily outweigh cons. The ending, I might add, felt a little sudden too; but not so much as earlier. In fact, one could put it down to the “surprise!” at the end of the book. I mean, aren’t surprises supposed to seem uncomfortably abrupt?

I genuinely cannot think of someone who wouldn’t like this book. Sure some would say it wasn’t their favourite, but it is easily a well written and enjoyable book that is easy and safe to recommend. Except, of course, if you hate science fiction or murder mystery. Honestly though, I loved it and the only reason I don’t give it a 5 is that that doesn’t feel right for everyone. Truth is, I empathised with most characters to a fault. This doesn’t happen often, therefore I am suitably awed. Don’t miss this or it’s sequel, A Million Suns.

Apart from the review, I also have two personal little enjoyments in the book. One is that I follow Beth’s blog and twitter so I knew a bit of the book’s lore and the origin of some things before reading so I felt that gave me insight and, dare I say, a connection with the book. I guess that shows how effective author blogging can be. The second thing is that I happened to read this when two topics mentioned in the book were on my own mind (the idea that ‘ignorance is bliss’ and the endlessness of space) so it felt as if I was getting another’s views.

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