Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone – one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship – tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
As a sci-fi nerd from way back, I’ve been meaning to read this book for some time, but something held me back. It wasn’t that it wasn’t getting great reviews; it was. It wasn’t that it wasn’t highly recommended by my fellow bookworms; all four of them told me it was fantastic. But still…
I guess I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to my sci-fi standards (yes, not only a nerd but an elitist nerd…sad but true).
Boy was I wrong!
This book is so much more than the sum of it’s parts: sci-fi and mystery, YA and multi-generational, adventure and love story. Pardon the pun, but this book touches on some pretty universal themes: isolation and community, the effect of absolute power and it’s terrible responsibility, the strenths and the weaknesses of individuals and group thinking communities. And beyond all that, it’s just a damn good read!
I loved the way Beth Revis divided up the society upon the good ship Godspeed. At the base of this power pyramid are the Feeders: the dull, plodding, sheep-like folks who are the workers of the ship, doing the growing and working and repopulating on the ship, but living almost completely non-cerebrally. Above them are the Shippers, smart, aware but almost too clinical to be considered people in the fullest sense of the word, more like cyborgs, rigidly following orders, doing what they must to keep the Ship up and running. Finally, the Keepers: Eldest and Elder, the ruling class, unrestrained in their control but responsible for every living soul on the ship, a responsibility they both take very seriously.
But, as in any society, not all people fit in. And for those who don’t there is the hospital ward. Much like a psych ward but mostly for artists, here is Doc’s domain, his place to care for the Feeders but watch over those souls who just can’t get with the Feeder or the Shipper program, and must be isolated so that their “illness” doesn’t infect others.
It was a great pleasure to see how Amy, a girl from Sol Earth, born centuries before, reacted to this Brave New World on Godspeed. Finding it both strange and a little scary, I loved watching how her mere existence threw the whole balance of Godspeed out of whack, and what those who had the power to change things would do when the balance was shifted.
But ultimately, I must simply say that I agree with what everyone else has already said, since I’m a year late to this party: this is a well-written tale, full of amazingly strong and diverse characters where heros and villians are not always what they seem. And it’s so complusively addictive that you’ll be up all night reading it in enormous gulps. I know I was!
If you haven’t had the pleasure of spending some time with the inhabitants of Godspeed you’re doing yourself a disservice. This book is not to be missed!
One of the things I love about blogging with my fellow Bookworms is how much we share in common. And our love for this book is no exception. You should definitely stop by these posts to catch the other girls’ take on Across The Universe: Kristen’s Mini Review, Cutie’s Sci-Fi Double Feature, Heather’s 5 Star Review and Danny’s Goodreads Lovin’!
And stay tuned because the sequel, A Million Suns, released earlier this month and Heather and I will be reviewing it in a couple of weeks!!
Now go and get lost…in a book!
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