30 January 2011

Across the Universe; Beth Revis

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)Across the Universe by Beth Revis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm trying really hard to pretend that this isn't going to be another series (or, to use the word this society created, another frexing series). Really really hard. Because the ending is just, well, right.

First off, frexing is too similar to frelling or fracking - so you know there's nothing incredibly creative here. The cryogenic freezing scene and Amy's dreams are a little difficult to take, but mixed with Elder's story you get to step away often enough to make them bearable. One of my students couldn't get into the book, calling it confusing, and I can see why she thought that: Amy and Elder sound alike, and if you don't understand the first premise (there's a ship heading from Earth to some star around Alpha Centori) you will get confused.

So what's life like on the ship? It's controlled, it's passive, and more than a little odd. The Feeders were Stepford people, with a hint of The Giver thrown in. Since we never really explored the Shipper level, we only see the Feeders and the people on Ward 3, the ones that get the Inhibitor pills. The latter are the only "normal" people on this ship. Amy, who was cryogenically frozen and then thawed before her time, is of course struck by the oddity of all this.

At the heart of the book is a simple mystery: who unfroze Amy, and who is trying to unfreeze others? No one but Amy survived their thawing. The answer was one that I'd guessed about halfway through the book, but I think that others will be surprised (just go on the Sherlockian theory that once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth).

As for the sci-fi aspects, they're derivative. Amy even says that before she and her parents were frozen, they'd watched the "Star" movies and series (Wars... Trek... and probably Gate). The book felt a little more like "Star Trek" (particularly the premise behind the "Voyager" series) than the other two, with some dystopian elements tossed in.

ARC provided by publisher.

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