Monday, December 19, 2011
Review of "Across the Universe"
I don't want to say that this isn't a good book, because it is. It probably has one of the best opening chapters out of any book I ever read. The book itself is very gripping, and, as many other reviewers have pointed out, Revis is really good at creating a sense of claustrophobia. I also liked a lot of the characters.
As the book continued, however, I found myself growing disappointed. This was partly because of predictability. A lot of the major reveals I predicted halfway through the book. The Elder/Eldest clone thing I guessed within the first fifty pages. Additionally, when the killer's identity is finally revealed (another thing I predicted early on), not only is it very sudden and rushed, but that person's motives are very, well, overly paranoid and not quite believable.
The dystopia aspect was also a bit problematic. (And yes, this book definitely counts as dystopia.) This wasn't a bad dystopia by any means. The creation of the dystopian element was well-done in that the "world-building" was complex, and the author did a good job explaining how the origins of this world. The problem? It's hard for me to describe. Maybe I've just been reading too much dystopia lately, but it felt very much like "This is a dystopia and dystopia is bad." Yes, I know, that's the whole point of dystopia, but the world felt very much "on display." Additionally, it didn't feel all that original--I often felt like I was reading "Brave New World: In Space." (Does any of that make sense?)
Do I recommend reading this? Yes. The writing, characters, and world-building are good. (And really, most of the problems I had with this book aren't going to bother most people.)
The sequel comes out next year, but I'm still undecided as to whether or not I'll read it.