March Discussion: Across the Universe


Well! That turned out to be a pleasant surprise. For the first, oh, three quarters of the book, I was banging my head against a wall, wondering why I was wasting my time. But then, around page 300, things started to pick up, and I raced through the last 100 pages quite happily.

There are so many things to talk about with this one! Let’s get started. Obviously, here by spoilers, so if you haven’t finished the book and you care about that sort of thing, maybe come back later.

  • I felt so bad for Amy when she realized that she was not going to see her parents again. On top of knowing that she would never see earth again. That is just cruel! Talk about leaving your entire life behind.
  • What do you think about the ethics of what Eldest did? The ethics of treating a whole population as though they were animals, keeping them as domesticated and docile as possible, even controlling their reproduction. The whole idea was so skeevy to me. (Also, I’m no prude, but the whole Season made me vastly uncomfortable.) And that they were called Feeders?! That is some next level creepy stuff. But do you think that there was some merit to Eldest’s methods? Elder seems to think so, and I am not sure that I entirely disagree. Their situation is a strange and precarious one: a population stuck on a ship, nowhere to go, no ending in sight. That’s tough. But I also wonder what would have happened if they didn’t know about Sol-Earth OR Centauri-Earth. If they just knew that this was their lives and that was that. Would that have been better?
  • Not to brag or anything, but I totally called that Orion was the previous Elder (just ask my mama!). I did think the cloning aspect was a bit much, but it does bring up some interesting questions about cloning and whether or not it is possible for a situation like that to arise, where three people with the exact same DNA turn out to be so different. I don’t know enough about DNA to even begin to make a hypothesis about it, but I am interested.
  • Harley. Broke my heart. That is all.
  • I actually think I might read the rest of the series! The me of even yesterday would be shocked, but there you have it. Across the Universe actually turned out to be as good as I was expecting, despite a really lackluster beginning.

AND NOW! Over to you guys. What are your thoughts?

(Also, vote for next month’s book selection here. Remember, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about what we read!)

March Discussion: Across the Universe

6 thoughts on “March Discussion: Across the Universe

  1. Jeri says:

    I enjoyed the book but not enough that I will read the rest of the series. I’m also the opposite of Jessica. I enjoyed the first part of the book much better than the last part. During the last third of the book I just started skimming instead of reading it. I felt it just dragged and I couldn’t believe how long it took Elder and Amy to figure out that Orion was the previous Elder.
    I found Amy quite whiney. While she seemed to really care that she wasn’t going to see her father again she didn’t seem to care about her mother.
    I loved Harley’s character as well.
    I think the population of the ship might be better off not knowing about either Sol-Earth or Centauri-Earth. I hadn’t really thought much about it until you raised the question. If that was just their lives they would probably have been quite happy. After all, we are.
    Overall, the novel didn’t wow me. Parts I liked, parts I disliked,.

  2. Valerie Steckler says:

    I can’t say this book really gripped me because I could not get into the characters. I found myself trying to empathize with them but it just didn’t happen for me. I am a character driven reader. So I threw myself into the plot and figured if the characters were not going to do it for me, then the plot will have to. Being very claustrophobic, I could not put myself on that ship. I struggle through a two hour plane ride. I do feel that the population would have been better off not knowing about the beginning or the end. The elders would not have had to control things so much if people just believed that that ship was their life; with all its accompanying joys and sorrows. The book begins to deal with the issues surrounding genetics and social control, and perhaps further books in the series will delve deeper into these very layered issues. Perhaps also, further books will develop the characters of Elder and Amy to the point where I may begin to ‘like’ them. Harley’s character was refreshing and ultimately tragic. For these reasons, I may read further. And for the record, Jessica did nail Orion being the other Elder.

  3. Carlia says:

    I’m in line with Jeri here. I too enjoyed the first part of the book and found it hard to get through to the end in an equally enthused way.

    I found I wanted more Harley throughout the whole book and think Valerie put it well how she found it hard to empathize with the characters Amy and Elder, i’m right there with you.

    I love how Jessica brought up the whole ethics thing, this is such an interesting concept and to look at it from a deeper psychological level is intriguing. That may just be our Psychology degrees talking though 😉

  4. I agree with all of you about Amy and Elder. I think that’s why I found it so hard to get through the first half of the book: I disliked the characters a lot and found the plot totally lacking.

    I have started reading the second one and the characters are not getting any better, but the plot is interesting enough to hold my attention.

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