Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

21 December, 2011 Reviews 3 comments

Review: Across the Universe by Beth RevisAcross the Universe by Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe #1
Published by Razorbill Books on January 11th 2011
Pages: 398
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

I’ve heard it mentioned before that DNF(Did Not Finish)reviews were useless and self-indulgent.  Why would someone want to read a review by someone who didn’t even finish the book?

My answer to that?

have a fucking cookie

There’s always going to be a small fraction of reviewers who don’t connect with a book and can’t finish it, but to dismiss all DNF reviews, I think, is problematic.  Especially for an author.

Because it’s not necessarily the reader’s fault for not being able to connect to the book.  Often there are rookie mistakes made in writing, plot or characterization that inhibits readers from investing in the story.  Being able to hook a reader within the first couple of pages is an essential skill of any artisan storyteller and if you’re having a lot of DNF reviews or simply bad reviews then they probably contain a goldmine in advice to help improve your range of skills.

I credit Revis with imagination and thoughtful plot.  The language changes and mono-ethnic parts of this book showed the kind of forethought and deep, intensive investigation I generally like in an author.

My issues were that the writing is very vague and sloppy.  One of the first events in the book, Elder attempting to save the ship, is vague in the writing which makes it difficult for readers to visualize the scene or get a handle on what’s happening.

The characterization is equally nonplussed, taking quite a while to really root down.  There is little incentive to connect with the characters or anything that makes them feel particularly vivid or well-constructed.  It’s basically one cardboard cutout after another, filled with overused archtypes.

By page seventy-five I knew who the antagonist is, which is bad storytelling.  I even flipped to the end to double check and was able to easily verify that I was right because I had trouble believing that Revis had made it so obvious.  Do not hang giant, obtrusive warning signs over your secret antagonist.  Please.

Overall I couldn’t bring myself to invest in the story and characters.  This review may be useless or self-indulgent to some but I think reviewing even the first 125 pages of a book to give feedback is a higher compliment than if I’d ignored it entirely.

Also, and this is the important part, bite me.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

3 Responses to “Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis”

  1. Kate

    I'm always torn as to whether I should review a book I can't finish. Maybe I'm not confident enough, but I mostly think it's an issue on my part if I can't get into it. So I usually leave it behind and quietly move on to something else.

  2. CuddleBug

    Sometimes it is the reader. In this case, I know it's not just me. You'll see for yourself but the first scene we see of Elder is so sloppily written, confusing and vague! Generally, it's not really the reader's job to stay focused and invested in a story. It's the author's job to hook them. Like I said, SOMETIMES it's just a particular reader not connecting – but generally it might mean some form of improvement is required by the writer.

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