Thursday, February 21, 2013

Across the Universe Trilogy

Across the Universe - 2011
A Million Suns - 2012
Shades of Earth - 2013
Publisher: Razorbill Publishing/Penguin
Author: Beth Revis
Genre: Young Adult Space Sci Fi

First off - no zombies! :)  No nuclear wars!  Simply a good old fashioned space travel novel - pioneers traveling to outer space to find a new planet to live on and claim for human kind. 

This is a true trilogy where the next book picks up directly after the last one, with no backstory fill to speak of.  You would be able to enjoy the later books if you should pick one up on it's own, but there would be a good deal of mystery to the why's and how's.  I highly recommend you start with Across the Universe and go from there.

I am attempting to be careful and not give away good plot points, but as the next book continues the storyline, it's a bit difficult!  So I will warn now... Possible Spoilers Ahead!

Note - while this is a very gripping book and labeled as Young Adult, there are some very adult sections of the book that include rape, suicide and murder.  I would say the Young Adults need to be on the more mature side.


Across the Universe:
This is a very good young adult book that asks the question - how to control people in a very claustrophobic, no hope of escape setting.

The Godspeed ship has taken great minds of the earth, all with needed skill sets, and cryo-frozen them before sending them off on a 300 year trip to the edges of the universe to populate another planet.  They are to be the salvation of an overpopulated planet.  Amy, a teenager, was allowed to go along with her parents to the new world. 

But Amy suddenly awakens and finds that she's still on the ship and it doesn't arrive at the planet for another 50 years.

Generations of families have lived on the ship to grow food, keep records and make new discoveries and inventions while traveling through space to their new home  - where at that time - they would awaken all of the "experts" to make the planet habitable.

The leader's goal is to keep the ship running, the people calm and the generations growing, at a controlled rate.  But at what cost?  What will they do with Amy, who clearly doesn't fit in and might make people start to question what they've been taught for the last 250 years?
A Million Suns:
This story picks up three months after The Elder is now the Eldest, the drugs that kept the population calm and controlled have been destroyed and suspicions are arising that all is not as it should be with the ship.

When Elder finds out the truth about the ship, he's on a race against time to devise a solution that will save it and the people on it.  At the same time, with the calming drugs out of their systems, everyone's true emotions come out for the first time and anarchy and overthrow are a true possibility.

Elders worst fear is what will happen if the people learn the truth about the ship - how will they react and can he remain in control?

At the end of this book in the series yet one more giant surprise causes Elder to re-evaluate everything he believed in and everyone he trusted.  

Shades of Earth:
The last book in the trilogy starts off immediately where the last one ended.  A big secret was discovered while on the ship in the previous story, and a new home has been found for the people.  But the questions arise:  Can they make it to the new home, can they live in it successfully, and why has no one gone there before?

The planet is discovered to hold a violent and malevolent group on it that definitely is trying to make sure humans don't try to settle in. 

Many mysteries are solved in this final book of the trilogy.  Many years of secrets come out and reasons for so many decisions that were made in the past become clear.  Can all of the adversity that these people from the ship face be overcome so that they can finally feel land and air and sun on their faces?

In the end the question remains - why do humans act as they do and why do they not ever seem to be able to live in peace with each other?

Special Novella, "As They Slip Away" that goes along with the trilogy - free HERE.
Original 2011 Across the Universe Full Review HERE.