When I first heard the concept for this book, I got excited: A cryogenically frozen girl on board a spaceship wakes up fifty years too soon when her cryo chamber is unplugged, and she is nearly killed. Sounds cool, right? But how could the author sustain this concept over an entire novel, let alone a trilogy?
She does it. And she does it brilliantly.
This book succeeds on so many levels because there are so many layers to this story. (Just like a croissant!) We get a murder mystery, a political thriller, a space fantasy, a medical intrigue, a love story (could you guess from the cover?). But we also have the story of a teenage girl who wakes up fifty years before her parents in a foreign world where she is a minority of one. And that’s a powerful story.
There is so much to love about this book. It’s beautifully written, full of action and the futuristic gadgets are way cool. I was blown away by the thought and detail she put into creating the amazing society that has survived for generations onboard this spaceship. The main characters pull you into their stories with their distinct voices. The questions she raised and the themes she explored left me thinking about it for days on end.
A few things bugged me in the beginning, but by the end of the story, they totally made sense. And while there are some loose threads dangling for the next book, there was enough of a conclusion to the story to leave me more than satisfied. That’s huge for me. I don’t like reading a series only to be left dangling on the edge of a precipice because, you know, there’s another book coming out in fourteen months. That makes me hate the book and the author. I’m glad that didn’t happen since Beth is a bloggy friend of mine.
Now before you start thinking that my review is colored by friendship, let me just say that reading books by blogging buddies can be a double-edged sword. Because if you don’t like it, then what are you supposed to say? So I was apprehensive going in. I wanted to like it but worried that I might not. I’m so glad that I didn’t have to worry.
Across the Universe comes out January 11, 2011. I’m sure some of you are holding your breath, wondering if I’ll be giving away the ARC (they are a sought-after commodity!). But I already have a lineup of people who want to read it here at home because I can’t stop telling everybody how good this book is!
Even though I have the ARC, I’ll be buying my own copy of the hardcover version. The story is THAT good. This is a book I will read over and over again. Plus there’s a cool perk that comes with the hardcover version: a reversible cover.
This map of the ship will actually be a reversible cover. How cool is that? You can’t get the full impact with an ARC.
I was excited when Beth got her agent, amazed by how quickly her novel sold, even more surprised when I saw what a fast-track the book was on to publication. Because seriously people, last year this time Beth didn’t have any of that. None. (You can read the interview I did with her here to learn more about her road to publication.) Now that I’ve read the novel, I can see why.
Congratulations Beth on a stunning debut!!