The Beatles Song is Better

Across the Universe - Beth Revis

According to one of the promo blurbs, this is a "genre bending" story that is part sci-fi, part murder mystery, part budding romance, and part dystopian.

 

It fails pretty hard as science fiction, being somewhat lacking in the science department (and by "somewhat" I mean "ridiculously").

 

It fails pretty hard as a murder mystery, what with the murderer practically dancing around with a flashing neon "I'M THE BADDIE!" sign over their head before anyone even gets killed.

 

It fails as a romance, but I don't really believe that's what it was meant to be anyhow.

 

It does succeed as a halfway decent dystopian, and that's pretty much the highest praise I can give it.

 

This book lost me early on with what I thought was a ludicrous premise. The reader is told this ark of humanity was launched into space by a global corporate entity of some kind in order to profit from the natural resources of a distant planet. But no one has a clue what kind of resources might be on this planet, and it will be several centuries before anyone can even hope to see profits from this asinine venture, assuming all goes well. I know the usual sending-seeds-of-humanity-to-distant-worlds premises have been done to death, but there's a reason for that: Most of them make sense. This premise doesn't.

 

I was tempted to give up on this book early on. "Then why stick with it?" you might ask. Well, someone loved me enough to track down an autographed copy and have it shipped overseas because they thought I'd love it. And I so desperately wanted to love it. So I stuck with it, even though the first person present tense got on my nerves, and the rigid alternating viewpoint structure meant I had to read chapter after pointless chapter of Amy's frozen dreamtime ramblings, and when she finally woke up I'd already solved the murder mystery before it happened and had to wait 300+ agonizing pages for Amy and Elder to figure out what I'd realized back in chapter six. 

 

Sigh.

 

If you can disconnect your brain, forget everything you know about science, completely suspend disbelief, and overlook some super-contrived situations and generally poor storytelling, and if you don't read a lot (or any) hard sci-fi and/or murder mysteries and you like YA dystopian stories, give this one a shot. You might enjoy it more than I did. If, like me, you do read a lot of hard sci-fi and murder mysteries and your disbelief only suspends so far, I cannot recommend this book to you. And if, like me, you read it anyway, you're probably going to need the help of grumpy cat photos and memes to express your displeasure.