I heard the buzz on this one. Visiting the Blogverse I started to hear positive responses and once I knew it was a YA set in space I was completely sold. So there it went into my nook wish list and I was counting the days til its release. Then at my first day at ALA Midwinter in San Diego I walked down the Penguin aisle and was overjoyed to see a STACK of them for giveaway's! So excited!
I have to admit I have mixed emotions about this book. There are so many things I love about it and some things that bother me so Away we go!
From the opening scenes of this book Beth Draws you into Amy's world. In under 10 pages I found myself emotionally connected to Amy. Her parents are on the cusp of a 300 year journey that will take them to a new world for terraforming. Amy's father gives her the gift of choice. He goes into cyrofreeze after Amy's mother letting her decide to join the crew or live on earth with her Aunt.
As she chooses the mission with her parents we discover that despite the freeze there is a part of Amy that is partially conscious as she waits, and dreams.
Next we are introduced to Elder and his world upon the ship Godspeed. Elder is the the youngest person on Godspeed but he will lead the next generation. He is under the tutelage of Eldest the current leader of the people. Elder is chafing a little in this relationship. Eldest is very selective in his teachings and even on the controlled environment of the ship . He rarely rebels until an alarm sounds and The two men find one of the cyro chambers open and exposed. When Elder who lives in a world where all of the residents share the same brown skin and black hair, Amy's pale skin and red hair are spellbinding. Later when someone releases the controls on her cyrofreeze Amy nearly dies until the Doc and Elder rescue her.
The world of God speed is fascinating. Amy's character is a perfect way to introduce the reader to some of the cracks in the structure of the ships lifestyle.It is not just her looks that sat here apart from a mono ethic crew but also the questions she asks. More and more strange event s begin to happen in the lower ares of the ship. Secrets about control and genetic manipulation come to light and despite her instant attraction to Elder Amy is not sure who she can trust.
Beth does a great job at developing Amy and Elder through their journal entries. Amy is very strong willed yet vulnerable. Despite having to deal with he knowledge that she has woken up years before her parents she manages to put all her energy into unraveling the mystery of the murders and protecting her parents bodies. Elder is equally brave. He has always been a little rebellious but under Amy's influence he allows himself to seek out answers that have always been there for the discovery.
I really enjoyed their story together and though I pretty much had figured out the ending (Rare for me!) It still was enjoyable.
These Two Things
There are a couple of things that I had a hard time with in this book. Mid way through the book the tone of the narrative took a huge shift. There are some graphic descriptions of a sexual nature. I realize this book is aimed towards teens and Beth was using it as a descriptive tool for life on the ship but I found it a little jarring. There is also an attempted physical attack on a character that was equally disturbing. It bothered me because it seemed gratuitous especially since I felt the danger inherent to the character at that time had already been well established, also the decision that precipitate the attack seemed a little rash and not in alignment with the characters prior intelligence. I mention this because I think a lot of younger teens might be attracted to this book and based on the first half of the book you wouldn't really expect the change of direction. I respect Beth's choices but the back of the cover blurb is quite correct when it compares the novel to the book "Brave New World"
Beth has created a very enjoyable book and characters I definitely want to see more of. I especially enjoyed that at its heart this book is a Mystery which I always find engaging and interesting. I look forward to seeing what is in store for both of these characters and The GODSPEED.
Thanks to Simon &Schuster for providing me with an ARC for this title at ALA Midwinter