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.