I think it’s pretty safe for me to say that I’ve never read a book quite like Across The Universe, which makes me happy that I’m actually accomplishing my goal of broadening my interest of genres this summer.
Across The Universe is a story about living on a space ship in hopes of creating a better life on a new planet Earth. However, Amy (the main character) and her parents will be frozen for 300 years before they reach this new Earth. During those 300 years the space ship is populated by roughly three thousand people, who over many generations have become monoethnic and behave as if they are empty shells of the real people who once inhabited the real Earth. There is a strange leadership system in place, and more secrets are contained in this ship than there are people to keep them. Perhaps the biggest secret is Amy and her frozen companions, until suddenly someone is unfreezing her and killing the rest. When Amy wakes up she meets Elder who is chosen or destined to be the future generations leader, and together they uncover all the secrets of the ship they live on known as Godspeed.
I’ve never read or seen any of the Star Wars books or movies (please don’t hate me, it’s on my to do list I promise), but Star Wars seems like the closest story I could relate to Across The Universe. The whole “Luke I am your Father” concept of secrets and denial in space is vaguely mirrored in this novel, however I can assure you from what knowledge I do have of Star Wars that the two stories are completely separate.
This story was intriguing and it begs you to ask questions and examine yourself, what would I do in this situation? It’s a great interpretation of life after Earth, the journey through space, and different leadership tactics. I think a great part of this book was how Revis used clones to show that, even though people can be genetically identical, each person can be so severely different and complexity prevails through DNA to make each of us unique. This book was also a good reflection of Earth, of our wars and history, and the different ways people try and prevent our past mistakes from reoccurring. Instead of repeating the past, the leaders of Godspeed create even more damage, just in a new yet still horrifying way. There are many parallels to government control which are touched on, such as putting drugs in the main and only water supply to subdue the inhabitants of the ship to comply with orders, thus demonstrating how the people blindly trust their leaders to do whats best while being taken advantage of.
This book was a breath of fresh air, a breath of air the characters will never actually get since they will live and die on the Godspeed. However this isn’t the end of Amy and Elder’s journey, and the story continues in two more novels I can’t wait to get my hands on. Revis’ new perspective on a dystopian future was enlightening as well as a bit scary because of the small elements of realism intermingled with the elements of fantasy. Romance, spaceships, murder and secrets when mixed correctly create a page turner that will leave you wondering, so what happens next?