Across the Universe is a planned trilogy of sci-fi books by Beth Revis, set on a Generation Ship making a slow sublight journey to a planet to set up a colony. The future colonists are kept in cryogenic pods, while generation after generation of shippers keep the Godspeed functioning.Amy, the teenage daughter of two essential personnel, is abruptly woken up while the ship is still en route when her cryogenic pod is unplugged — someone tried to murder her. Amy tries to adapt to the strange dystopian society aboard Godspeed and track down the attempted murderer before he can do the same to any of the other colonists.The story alternates between her perspective and that of Elder, the future leader-in-training of Godspeed. He believes that the current leader, Eldest, is keeping secrets about the ship and its journey from them, and is determined to uncover them. He also has a crush on Amy, who is utterly unlike any of the other women on the ship.The trilogy consists of:
Awful Truth: One of the messages of this book is that even an awful truth is better than a lie. Elder and Amy end up disclosing a lot of the ship's secrets, including the Phydus, the fact that Godspeed is 250 years behind schedule and the mutiny rather than keep the population in ignorance. Elder even confesses to Amy that he unplugged her, and she's grateful enough for his honesty to somewhat forgive him.
In A Million Suns, we get another layer of secrets: it turns out Godspeed has been orbiting the new planet all along!.
We get a ridiculous amount of secrets in Shades of Earth.
Big Bad: Orion of the first book and Doc of the second.
Chris of the third.
Bittersweet Ending: Yes! Amy and the rest of the ship managed to land...but more than five hundred ended up dead including both of her parents, war is right around the corner with Earth, Amy is now a hybrid and the murderer of both her parents walks free...but at least she's got Elder!.
Actually rather brilliant in terms of frex: the third book reveals a lot of stuff about the FRX, AKA the people behind the mission. Suffice it to say, using the acronym as a swear word is very fitting.
Harmless Freezing: Not quite. Even when done properly, the freezing process is rather unpleasant. When not done properly, the results are compared to a wet sponge. And even if someone is frozen and thawed safely, they can't survive the process a second time.
Human Popsicle: Godspeed carries about a hundred of these, including Amy.
In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race: Due to the limited gene pool on Godspeed, everyone currently living on the ship is the same race. The multiethnic cryogenically frozen colonists are therefore very visually distinct from them.
Inadequate Inheritor: Eldest sees Elder as this. Not without reason, it turns out, considering the massive social upheavals in book two.
Incest Is Relative: After the Plague killed 3/4 of the population, the limited gene pool made incest inevitable. Genetic engineering is used to mitigate the effects.
Internal Retcon: Amy discovers that the historical database about Earth has been heavily edited.
Karmic Death: Eldest dies from getting a bucket of Phydus dumped over him by Orion.
Kick Them While They Are Down: Amy and Victria immobilize Luthe with a Phydus patch and kick the stuffing out of him as a revenge for being raped.
Jerk Ass: Colonel Martin, Luthor, Doc, Eldest, Orion and Bartie come to mind.
Love Makes You Evil: Victria's love for Orion, even after his being frozen, leads to her becoming a willing accessory to murder to have him revived.
Love Triangle: One arises in Shades of Earth between Elder, Amy and Chris.
Mad Artist: Played with. All the residents of the hospital's psychiatric ward are actually artists, scientists, engineers and other creative thinkers necessary to the running of the ship. They are more or less sane by the reader's standards, but labeled "crazy" to distinguish them from the mindless mainstream. The "medication" they take are actually pills to inhibit Phydus. Harley, a painter with dark mood swings, and Victria, an embittered novelist, are somewhat more straightforward examples of this trope.
May-December Romance: Victria loves Orion, her twenty-years-older literary mentor. It's not known whether he feels the same way.
My Master, Right or Wrong: Doc supports Eldest without question, even when the latter's extreme measures give him pause. This lands Elder in big trouble later on, since Doc is not loyal to the man so much as the system - and Elder's rule deviates from the plan. Later, Marae and Shelby do the same thing for Elder.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It turns out Elder unplugged Amy, without knowing it would nearly kill her, strand her in a hostile environment, separate her from her parents forever and give Orion the nasty idea of unplugging colonists just to see how he would react.
Precision F-Strike: It's not an official swear word, but on the one occasion Elder calls Amy a "freak" during an argument, the effect is just the same.
Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Elder is implied to have killed Luthe without a trial as punishment for raping Victria (and, unknown to him, nearly raping Amy). When Amy finds Luthe's body, she throws it out the airlock without telling anyone.
Red Shirt: A lot of minor characters die in the second book.
The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: An unusual example, seen through the eyes of the leader rather than the revolutionaries. Poor Elder really has enough on his plate without having angry anarchists rioting against him.
Red Pill, Blue Pill: Orion, via posthumous letters, offers Amy a choice that will determine the fate of the ship - risk untold dangers by colonizing Centauri-Earth, or stay aboard a slowly degrading Godspeed? Justified as she's the only one who knows what life on a planet is like.
The Rival: Bartie, Elder's former friend who challenges him for leadership.
Single-Target Sexuality: Harley still feels this way about his girlfriend, who died two years before the story starts. "Why would I want to be with any other woman?"
Writers Cannot Do Math: The 20-year-old Feeders are looking forward to planet landing in 49 years - in a society where everyone dies at 60. The Feeders are put down when they start remembering the last time such a prediction was made - there is no reason an individual would expect that to happen to them.
You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Doc to Amy in A Million Suns. He's wrong, but being a soldier's daughter who knows how to handle guns, she manages to shoot him in a nonlethal place.
Your Cheating Heart: Back on Earth, a jealous ex informed Amy that her boyfriend Jason might have been cheating on her. Her greatest regret is not confronting him about it.