Across the universe

It all begins when Amy Martin is asked the question ”Do you want to go with your mum and me to outer space or do you want to stay home on Earth?” For Amy, that’s not a hard question to answer. It is, however, hard to leave her school. Her friends. Her boyfriend. The life she’s always known. And it’s very hard agreeing to being frozen for three hundred years while travelling to this unknown planet that’s supposed to be her new home. A planet no one knows practically anything about. Expect that it’s habitable for human beings and that it'll solve their problems.

Amy leaves Earth, frozen and tucked away in a glass box, on the spaceship Godspeed. The trip is supposed to take three hundred years and when she wakes up, everything she’s ever known on Earth will be gone and long forgotten. But at least she has her parents. That’s what she thinks, anyway, until Amy by mistake is awoken, still on the ship and fifty years from the new planet, Centauri-Earth. She awakens to learn all the strangeness onboard the ship only to find out that it wasn’t a mistake that she was unfrozen. Someone did it in an attempt to kill her. What Amy is left with is uncertainty. Uncertainty of who wants her dead, and why. Uncertainty toward the ship and its inhabitants. Uncertainty about who, and why, someone walks around among the frozen, pulling them out and letting them die in their boxes. All she has to her help, to navigate through the endless list of lies, is Elder, the ships future leader, and Harley, the crazy painter who is considered mentally ill. Will that be enough to uncover the truth?

This is Beth Revis debut novel and it’s a really good one. She writes about out of both Amy and Elder’s perspective, which gives more depth to the story. Not only is it an easier way to learn about how the ship is controlled and ruled, one can also see the differences between Amy and Elder. She’s a girl from Earth and he’s a boy who has never seen anything besides the metal of the ship. Yet somehow they’re pulled towards each other and while things shake around them, they have each other. I loved seeing the story out of both perspectives. It doesn’t always work writing like that, but it did here.

I didn’t have a clear idea of what this story was about, only that it took place on a spaceship and that the main character woke up too early from her frozen travel state. Across the universe turned out to be a fast paced novel about so much more than young love. Even though there is something growing between Amy and Elder, all that is put into shade as they search for the murderer. It’s a story about leaving everything you know behind to search for something new. To be scared out of your mind but still doing it. And it’s a story about crossing invisible borders and finding comfort and consolation in someone that might be more real than everyone left behind.

It’s quite hard to judge a book, to say “It’s this good or that good”. “From one to ten, I’d give it a nine”. I don’t like doing that, because those numbers means different things for different people. So I’ll say this instead. It was good, even great, but not sparkling brilliant. It’s not one of the best books I’ve ever read but I did enjoy it a lot. There is a sequel and I will most definitely read it.

Cinder

I’ve heard quite a lot about Cinder, people praising the book, saying that it’s amazing and so good. It was inevitable of course, I had to see what all the fuss was about so I searched for it online and read the plot. And then I decided that no, I was definitely not going to read that book. Because it was about a cyborg. I thought it was weird and didn’t want to read it for just that reason. Then I read it anyway. And now I feel really shameful for ever judging a book for what it’s about before reading it, when in the end, it turned out to be better than good. Brilliant. It was brilliant.

This story takes place in New Beijing, over a century past the fourth world war. Cinder is a sixteen year old girl living with her stepmother and her two stepsisters, working as a mechanic. She is also a cyborg. When she was eleven, she was severely injured in a hover crash that killed both her parents and turned her into a cyborg. She was adopted by a man living in New Beijing, who brought her with him from Europe to his home in the Eastern Commonwealth. Though when he died shortly after that, in the plague that threatens to kill all people on earth, Cinder found herself living with his wife, a woman who never wanted her. Now years have passed and Cinder is not happy, but content with the life she’s living. She accepts that her stepmother owns her, that she’s treated like a servant and that she does all the work without getting any credit for it. She even accepts not being allowed to attend the annual ball at the palace. But all that changes the day one of her sisters gets the plague and Cinder gets the blame for it. All of a sudden, her life turns upside down and before she knows it she stands at a crossroad, not sure whether to turn right or left. Practically all she ever thought she knew turns out to be lies. She has to figure out who she is in order to help her country and her planet avoid war with the Lunars.

As is quite obvious, this story is based on Cinderella, but remade in a futuristic version where, though both the ball and prince appears, the main character also is 36.28 % not human. When I first heard of it I thought it was weird, as stated earlier, though mainly for the cyborg reason. I did think a remade version of Cinderella also sounded quite strange, but after reading just a few pages I found myself sucked into the story and loving every word of it. It is a weird story and it is strange but it’s also so very good. You have to be careful remaking things, it’s easy to ruin the original, but for me, Marissa Meyer has done the opposite. I never liked Cinderella as much as I like Cinder.

All in all, this fast-paced, crazy story swept me off my feet and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I finished it. Luckily, it’s just the first part of four and I can’t wait until I get my hands on the next one.

It’s safe to say that I’ve learned my lesson now, not to not judge a book by its cover, but to not judge it for the plotline. Not to be scared off by something so silly and end up missing something so amazing. I have to thank Marissa Meyer for that. That, and for the book. Because it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Legend

I remember when I first heard of Marie Lu’s Legend, like always when I hear of a new book I immediately see a storyline in my head, based on what I’ve heard about it. Which makes me think I know what it’s about only to actually read it and realize that that’s not the case, at all. And it happened yet again with Legend. I remember hearing about it, remember seeing things in my head, what I thought it was like. And I remember how excited I was to read it, how long it’s been on my to-read list. Then I got it, I sat down and read it and I cursed myself because it wasn’t at all what I had expected.

Legend takes place in Los Angeles, California, the Republic of America, some time into the future. Day is the male main character, a fifteen year old boy who lives on the streets and causes the Republic a lot of trouble with his not so boyish pranks. June is the female character, a fifteen year old girl who lives in a wonderful flat with her older brother, who works as a captain for the Republic. June herself attends the most honorable school in the Republic and is expected greatness in the future, working for the government. But everything changes the night that Day kills June’s brother. She swears to avenge his death, starting with hunting Day down, whatever it might cost her. But upon meeting him, she realizes that he might not be that horrible monster she set him out to be. And maybe some of the things he tells her might be true, even though they all make the Republic out as the bad guy. Can it be that everything she’s believed her entire life is a bunch of lies?

This story is written in both Day’s and June’s perspective which isn’t all that common, but I liked it. It gives a lot to the story in itself to see it from both angles, especially since Day and June are so different. He comes from a poor sector of the city and she is rich. But he has seen the government for what it really is and June has grown up hearing things that she now realizes might as well be lies. Their differences draw them to each other and throughout the book they both work to find the truth, only to realize that they’re working in the same direction. This is more obvious for the reader of course, since we get to see both sides of the story, which is exactly why I think it’s good that the book is written in both perspectives. You get to see the differences and you get to see the joint target.

It’s a surprisingly small book, I thought it would be larger, but a lot of things happen. Actually, there’s never a dull moment. It’s quite fast-paced and very dark, the government hidden underneath a coat of lies and question marks pops up everywhere, for both Day and June. I have to admit that it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, though I did picture it to be about something else, if not entirely, then definitely not what I got. But that’s not to say the story isn’t good, because it is. It’s really good, actually. Just not quite as good as I thought it would be. I do, however, love Lu’s characters. They’re deep and profound and you really feel that there are things, secrets, hidden in all of them. Secrets I can’t wait to discover. Legend is the first part of a trilogy and even though it wasn’t quite what I thought it would be, I’m very excited to see what comes next.