Friday, June 1, 2012

BNRC- Across the Universe

Book Nook Review Corner! 
Today's pick: Across the Universe
By: Beth Revis
3/5 Pens 

(Summary from Amazon) Fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing, Amy's cryo chamber is unplugged, and she is nearly killed.
Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense.
Godspeed's passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader, and Elder, his rebellious and brilliant teenage heir.
Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she? All she knows is that she must race to unlock
Godspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.

To be honest, when I picked this book up, I couldn't help but hear the Beatles song (of the same title) playing in my head. Then I looked inside the cover, read the summary, and saw the quote from the a fore mentioned song. And after looking up the lyrics, the song works fairly well with the story. But back to why I like and don't like this book.

I liked the way it was written, you alternate between Amy's and Elder's perspectives. I've read a handful of books that take this approach and I think it can either show a lot of depth or totally wreck the book.

I'm a fan of a good dystopian novel. This had many elements that can make a fairly good one.
I'm also a fan of almost any retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Amy wakes up from a (almost) 300 year slumber, though not from a kiss. However, I like looking at this as a fairytale dystopian retelling that just happens to be in a Sci-Fi setting.
I was not very impressed with the Sci-Fi elements. Actually let me scrap that. I was impressed with the Sci-Fi elements because they were so "normal." Revis wrote them in so that you could understand how things worked and the "weird space stuff" was kept to a minimum. I mean, unless you're going to go all out Star Wars, Trekkie, or Firefly, sometimes I think subtle is the better way with Sci-Fi. There were no page-and-a-half descriptions of how things worked, simply because all of the technology was familiar in one way or another. Fingerprint scans, floppy disks (I know right?), simple medical terms without a lot of strange substances.
Everything was plausible, and that made it a little scary at times because I can see how that might work out in the future. Shudders.

The reason why the book only earned 3 out of 5 pens, is simply because I didn't like the characters. Eldest was a mediocre villain at best. Elder was a little too scattered for me to find any balance in his character- until the end when he seemed to get his act together (but only a little bit). Amy was good, but if the book had just been written from her perspective a LOT would have been left out.

My biggest peeve was that Revis totally threw in a character loop at the end that wasn't carried out well. If Eldest was a bit cheesy at times, this character was even cheesier with an extra helping of cheddar.

So every element was carried out well, and the characters (while a little wishy-washy at points) were well made. I think my biggest deal with this book was that it needed to be a touch more suspenseful, or a touch more romantic to make it work. It just didn't hold my interest for long. All in all, it's worth a read during a lazy summer day when you don't want to get too invested in something.

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