I picked this book up after (1) seeing the author at Southern Festival of Books and (2) it fit the space for a purple cover for Fall Bookish Bingo. It’s a YA sci-fi pick, and I found that I enjoyed it. The story follows Elder & Amy, both on a spaceship headed for a new planet, initially under very different circumstances. The spaceship carries what’s left of the human race towards a new planet and a new chance at society. The ship’s society, led by an Eldest (one born to each generation), preaches that homogeneity is essential to peace and happiness (…sound like anyone from Germany?). Amy, a girl from Earth, is on the ship in a cryogenic tank. Her parents are essential to building the new society and so she was also allowed to come along. They are supposed to be frozen until the ship lands, but Amy is woken up prematurely and only survives because Elder, the next in line to rule, happens to find her and save her.
The book’s story was very interesting. I really liked how real the characters felt, especially Elder and Amy. Elder is struggling with his upcoming role as Eldest, and truly wants to be the best ruler he can be, even as he see cracks starting to form in his world. Amy is struggling to fit into a society where everything she remembers is gone, and she’s unable to even get her parents back. As they try to piece together who could’ve tried to kill Amy (and who is killing other cryogenically frozen passengers), Elder and Amy form a realistic bond that lends more gravity to the thriller type story. The society on the ship was also well built, with enough background given to truly paint a picture of how the society morphed and changed over time. It really made me think about how we don’t get to write our story once it’s history and a lot of what we know or think to be true may sound completely different by the time our stories are history. I also found the ethical choices rampant in the story to be interesting, and they really made me think about how I would react in certain situations.
Obviously, there were many aspects of the book I enjoyed. However, not all of the book worked for me. The pacing was fairly slow for a book that sounds like a murder mystery set in space. There was some good world building, which does take time, but there were also some passages/chapters that I felt moved things along too slow. Some twists and turns at the end were unpredictable, but I felt that the end was more predictable than not, which is always kind of a bummer. I am interested, however, to see where the series goes and what happens with Elder and Amy’s story as the trilogy progresses, so I will likely continue the series at some point.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Have you read Across the Universe? Thoughts? What would you do if you were cryogenically frozen and woke up before everyone you knew? Let me know in the comments!