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Die Auslese - Nur die Besten überleben
Joelle Charbonneau
Across the Universe - Beth Revis I was hesitating to get this book as "space stories" aren't really my preferred genre. It had won me over soon enough though. It is much more a story about the development of a society in a very contained environment with no contact to the outside.
The "Godspeed" took off from Earth centuries ago, on its way to some planet that most likely could be a home for humans. On board are about 100 scientists, military members and other people who are supposed to conquer that planet to make it a refuge for humans. They travel in cryo-freezers, supposed to be woken up when the ship arrives 300 years later. Also on board is 17-year-old Amy whose mother is a very important biologist and her a father high up in the military, who didn't want to leave their daughter behind.
But something goes wrong and Amy wakes up during the flight, 50 years from the destination and due to her uncontrolled unfreezing she can't be put back into cryogenic slumber. The society that developed on the ship is a shock to her. There are farmers, that produce food, some engineers, who don't mix with the farmers and there is the leader of the people on board and the ship itself, called Eldest, more than a captain he takes care of the people. The person supposed to follow him as leader is Elder, a young man, who falls in love with Amy and due to her shock about the way society is structured on board, he starts to question things as well and stands up against Eldest and the way he rules the ship.
The point of view alternates between Amy and Elder, which gives insights into a lot of things going on aboard. The story is very catchy and it was hard to put the book down, especially in the second half. The main characters are likeable, but the really interesting characters are those "in the second row", not really Amy and Elder.
It is a dystopian story about a crooked society but also brings up questions about how far a leader can and should go to keep up the hope of his people and fullfill the mission of his life, to what extend he should make decisions for the individual for the greater good and the big goal, the arrival at the planet of destination.
A very good read, above the average young adult dystopy.