Across the Universe, by Beth Revis

What I’d Pay: $12

To sum it up: A teenage girl and her parents are cryogenically frozen for a 300 year trip to colonize a new planet, but she is woken up early and must try deal with the strange civilization that has evolved on the ship.

This book might have the most intense opening chapter I have ever read.

However, after that incredible opening scene, the book slowed down quite a bit. I even set it down halfway through and read another book before coming back to this one. That said, I think it had a very interesting premise and raised a lot of uncomfortable ethical and moral questions. The main character’s interactions with the strange society that has evolved on the ship in the hundreds of years it has been journeying is legitimately creepy. The people are controlled by a dictatorial leader called Eldest, who determines what they know, what they can do, and even when they die. They aren’t even aware of the group of cryogenically frozen people on their own ship because it’s been kept a secret from them.  There are some disturbing scenes and behaviors by the ship occupants, and ultimately the book raises questions about what measures we can, or should, be willing to take in order to preserve human existence. I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters and I had a difficult time connecting to them, despite the very emotional and dramatic situations. I also figured out one of the ending twists early on, but was still quite surprised at some of the revelations at the end of the book. But, ultimately this was a success in my opinion due to its very creepy and intense setting, and the legitimate questions it raises throughout the book about how humans might respond to such an extreme situation.

Bottomline: This book has some creepy moments and raises questions about ethics and morality that can really mess with your mind. Definitely for fans of scifi that appreciate psychological thrillers since this one doesn’t have a lot of action but manages to keep you tense while seeing the plot unfold.  I am definitely going to be reading the next book in the trilogy since I am anxious to see how things evolve. Got the ebook from the LA library after about a week wait.

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