By Josie Rerecich
“Across the Universe” by Beth Revis is the first book in a trilogy of the same name. The story begins in the nearby future, when a girl named Amy Martin is cryogenically frozen with her parents. They are put on the generation ship Godspeed that will take them to an earth- like planet in the Alpha Centauri system.
After hundreds of years, Amy is unfrozen fifty years before Godspeed is supposed to land. While frozen someone has tried to murder Amy, and has succeeded in murdering some of the other frozens. Amy must solve the mystery of the murders, and learn to survive on the strange world that is Godspeed.
Along the way, Amy meets Elder, the next leader of Godspeed who is infatuated with her. Amy also meets Eldest, the current and tyrannical leader of the ship. The people currently living on Godspeed are monoethnic, and a majority of them do not know much about Earth’s past. Eldest likes it that way, as it makes his job easier, and he is a constant threat to Amy’s sleuthing. As Amy and Elder struggle to uncover the mystery as to who tried to murder Amy, they discover other long kept secrets of Godspeed and the people that dwell in it.
Although the mystery is solved in the end, “Across the Universe” doesn’t quite sell the murderer’s justifications for his crimes. By the end of the book, the remainder of the journey to the Alpha Centauri system seems even longer than before. The expedition itself is brought up more in the sequels. The whole reason for being on Godspeed only seems to be brought up in this first book in order to frustrate Amy.
“Across the Universe” covers a lot of ethical questions, including subjects like cloning and controlling people with drugs. Sometimes these ethical plot points come off as preachy, or at least overused. But overall, it is an interesting science fiction story with dystopian tropes for those readers who enjoy futuristic tales of caution.