First off, sorry for being gone so long, it’s been a rough month here at Frags and Beer. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you all, and there’s been plenty of beer drinking and nub fraggin going on here. This time around, since this blog is about whatever I am interested in, I want to give you all a heads up about a great book I just read. It’s not brand new, I think it released last year, but I just saw it, something caught my eye and I bought it. Little disclaimer…I bought the book on my own. This is not a paid or asked for endorsement. No one at the publishing company, nor the author, has asked me to do this. I just loved this book so wanted to spread the word.
Across the Universe is a young adult science fiction novel, that has a thriller element to the story, and a deep and interesting mystery…oh and some romance. Thankfully it’s not written like a lot of young adult books, it’s not hard sci-fi, too scary a thriller, too confusing a mystery, or too sappy of a romance. I was impressed with how the author incorporated so many genre elements into the story, kept it interesting, and didn’t make it seem like a forced mash of so many genres. It is honestly one of the most unique, and interesting books I’ve read in awhile. I would recommend this book for just about anyone that likes to read. Even if you aren’t into sci-fi, or any of those other genres, I think you will still like this book.
The basic gist of the story is this. In the future Earth has gone to crap, and a lot of people have decided that leaving for another planet some 300 years away is the best course. Backed by a big company, who sees potential profit in sending colonists to this planet, they build a ship, get some volunteers, and get going. The book opens with the scene of a family being frozen for the trip. This is where the book impressed me first. Here Beth is giving us a very sci-fi element, and she goes even further to explain in detail how it’s done. She presents the entire process, how the people feel about it, what it’s like to watch a family member ‘die’ basically, as their bodies are frozen solid for reanimation centuries away. She didn’t fall into the trap of many sci-fi writers, and the reason I don’t read hard sci-fi. Beth stays away from the huge, made-up words, the lengthy explanations of how the made-up technology works, and she made sure to keep to the human element of the process. We can actually relate to the characters, and what they are feeling, instead of getting a lecture on the tech.
Anyway, back to the issue at hand. On the ship are also people whose sole purpose is to run and maintain the ship, water, and food supply. These people are to live, work, breed, and die on the ship as successive generations learn their tasks to keep things going so the ‘frozens’ as they are called in the book can do their job when they get to the new planet. The people on the ship, the ones that are awake form their own society, which has its own problems that slowly unfold as the book goes on. We are quickly introduced to the mystery element, and while I had it figured out before the end, it took longer for me than it usually does. You can ask my wife, I usually figure out ‘who did it’ way too early in most movies and books, and that’s something I’ve gotten used to so I am pleasantly surprised when I come across a book or movie that keeps me guessing for awhile.
I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say that the tag line, “What does it take to survive aboard a spaceship fueled by lies?”, is pretty apt. It explores a lot of themes we are dealing with today, and you will be hard pressed not to relate the society of the ship to our own in many ways. Parents be warned, while it is a young adult book, there are some harsh scenes in the book. There are no graphic depictions of sex or anything, but Beth does dance at the line of what some would consider almost too much. To me that is not a bad thing, but I encourage parents to read this book before letting their children read it…get that, let them read it just read it first. They might have questions, some of the themes in the book might be a little troubling, and as parents we should be there to talk about those things. I do not think the book crosses the line and it deals with real, and troubling issues without talking down to the audience, which is great.
All in all, fantastic book and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one, A Million Suns. This book was Beth’s first, and as an aspiring writer myself, I am impressed. I’ve read books by seasoned authors that weren’t nearly as good. Buy this book, read this book, and tell everyone you know how good it was, cause if you read it you will agree. If you don’t…well then you are just wrong 😉
Now, off to work. I have more articles planned, going to catch up on our Gamer Chick segment with a belated February entry soon, and a March one shortly after, as well as my thoughts on an upcoming game that I’m pretty excited for. See you all soon.