Amy and her parents are embarking on a voyage of a lifetime. Several lifetimes. Cryogenically frozen in order to survive the 300 year journey, they are heading toward a new planet, with the hopes to colonise it for humankind. But Amy awakes 50 years early. Separated from her parents, she must learn to acclimatise to her new life on-board Godspeed. As she finds out more about the community keeping the ship running, she comes to learn her awakening wasn’t a simple malfunction.
Across the Universe starts off with an amazing scene featuring the cryogenic freezing process. It’s not pleasant or full of hi-tech sleekness. It’s such an uncomfortable scene, first watching her parents and then as the goo envelopes Amy, it’s incredibly claustrophobic. So I was all set for an intense, outer space story awaking on an empty ship. This probably flags the fact that I didn’t really read any descriptions of the book beforehand, just on the recommendations of it being a good YA sci-fi read. When it turned out the ship was populated by a rather dystopian society, I was a bit disappointed. I thought “oh no, no another one” but once I got into it, the community made some sort of warped sense. Hang on, this was a dystopia that had been thought out (and was on a space ship).
There’s a suitable amount of clues along the way to give you a chance to work out how they got that way. It touches on topics such as segregation and how communities can fear the different; how their normal can become so different to ours, for no reason other than environment. There are plenty of harsh truths in this world and it’s not sugar coated for a younger audience.
I did think Orion’s identity was a bit obvious. The ending also felt a bit rushed, especially after such care was taken building up the world. However there were two sorts of endings and the very end was just so emotional. A simple act that breaks your heart. I will be interested to see how it continues in the next book.
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