Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe
Beth Revis
Raborbill / Penguin Group
Published January 11, 2011

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Seventeen year-old Amy and her parents join a team of scientists and military personnel who will endure 300 years of cryogenically induced sleep as they travel across space to form a colony on a new planet. Fifty years before the ship’s scheduled arrival at Centauri-Earth, Amy awakens, trapped and suffocating in her cryo-chamber. She cannot wake her parents without risking sabotage to their mission, so she is left to find a place within the strange society of passengers who make their lives aboard the ship Godspeed.

An unpredictable, manipulative man called Eldest rules the populace, and he immediately threatens to cast Amy off the ship to her death if she disturbs the other passengers in any way. Eldest’s protégé, Elder, finds himself drawn to Amy’s exotic beauty and inner fire. Her stories of life on earth and her insistence that something aboard the Godspeed is very wrong send Elder spinning into doubt and confusion. What if Eldest is wrong? What if the way he governs the people is wrong? When another cryo-chamber is disturbed and the person within dies, the crew aboard the Godspeed must face the possibility that someone is deliberately sabotaging their mission. To stop the killer, they must uncover the truth about Godspeed, its mission, and its leaders.

Amy finds herself trapped in a ship filled with people for whom earth remains only stories and legends. Over hundreds of years, the people of the Godspeed have evolved into a society regulated by artificial hormones and genetic engineering. Does this manipulation reduce the elusive qualities that separate man from animal? Revis expertly explores the morality of such a world in her cleverly constructed sci-fi arena.  I loved the exploration of this idea, and thought the story did a great job of showing some ideas about it without ever getting preachy.

The serial murderer on the loose on board a space ship within a pretty constricting dystopian-like society plus a budding romance makes this an intense read and kind of a genre-bending story, which I loved as well. This is a book that has a lot to offer a lot of different readers.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
No straight up profanity. Instead, characters use faux/made up swear words, like “frexing” and “shite.”

Sexual Content
Passengers aboard the Godspeed are hormonally manipulated into having a mating season, just as animals do. During this “season,” the passengers engage in sex out in the open. Descriptions are brief and spark conversations about the importance of love in relationships and the difference between humans and animals. Several men surround Amy, intending to rape her. The men pin her down and partially expose her, but a friend rescues her before the men fully assault her. The scene is intense.

Spiritual Content

One resident aboard the ship removes passengers from cryo-sleep one by one, allowing them to thaw and die by drowning in the cryo-fluid. Amy wakes in her cryo-chamber. Someone rescues her, though the experience traumatizes her.

Drug Content
Hormones and medical supplements/drugs control the ship’s populace. Eldest, the group leader, is drinks liquor in a couple of instances.





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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

4 Responses to Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

  1. Sasha C says:

    Thank you for clarifying what to expect. I just got it for my 13 year old daughter and am now wondering if it’s appropriate. I appreciate your site so much!

  2. Wow. This sounds like a great book. I’m definitely going to have to check this out. Thanks for an awesome review