|A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2)
by Beth Revis
Published by Razorbill
Publish Date: January 10, 2012
My Source: Borrowed
It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to enact his vision – no more Phydus, no more lies.
But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that’s growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.
In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it builds up to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship. -(summary from author’s website)
1. The Characters: Amy & Elder. Things are different with Amy and Elder this go around. Amy has had a little bit of time to adjust to life on the ship, and I must admit – she’s doing a little bit better at being the oddball on board. Elder is no longer just regular Elder – he’s become Eldest and is now the ruler over Godspeed, which is both good and bad. The good in this is that he can enact some of his own ideas to make Godspeed a better place.
(such as removing Phydus from the water supply, enabling the population to think and act for themselves, and giving them access to the library so they can educate themselves on the events of the history that led them to where they are currently)
The bad is that he is pretty much the youngest person ever to be Eldest – which makes him nearly unqualified.
Amy, if you remember, is still the only unfrozen person that is from Earth, so she is rather lonely on the ship. She is also constantly in danger AND a wealth of knowledge and information. Early in the book it becomes clear that the now-frozen Orion left her a series of clues that should lead her to a decision that only she can make for the future of those aboard the Godspeed. She accepts the challenge and goes on the scavenger hunt, although her motives are mainly selfish rather than for the good of the ship. Amy is flawed – she is young and immature – and this is one of the things that makes it harder to like her than I really wanted to.
Elder believes wholeheartedly that in taking away Phydus he was doing the right thing. He believes he was giving people free will and a choice to make decisions for themselves. However, these people are uneducated, basically, and they’ve never made choices for themselves before. They really don’t know what they’re choosing. Elder cares a great deal for his new role as leader of the ship and embraces it fully despite his young age. He is conflicted at times, though, because he still has extremely strong feelings for Amy. I thing he handles his role very well – as well as he can be expected to with murders taking place as well as mutiny, Amy constantly challenging him and not obeying his wishes, someone in his staff betraying him, and his hormones getting the best of him. His advisors are not to be trusted. Is Elder really the best person for the job? At this point, we really don’t know…but he is all we have right now and, well, the ship is in chaos.
Outside from these issues, there is the unavoidable fact that Amy and Elder have feelings for each other. This is something that we can’t make light of and we can’t ignore. We’ll address this more in detail a little bit later.
One could say that the Godspeed is like a character in and of itself. It almost seems to have grown since Across the Universe, although we know this really isn’t the case. The author just has chosen to reveal more of it to us, to give us more access. She is more descriptive in its passages and hidden areas, its hallways, its floors, its breakaway areas, etc. Godspeed was almost alive and functioning as a character, and I loved this.
2. World-building. The vast majority of the world-building that occurred happened on the Godspeed, but it was better than it was in Across the Universe. I have already touched on the fact that we are privy to more of the ship’s areas, hidden passages, and breakaway chambers. I feel more familiar with the layout of the ship at this point than I did before I read this book, and this is impressive given its size. In addition, the author created a palpable ambience and atmosphere that was almost thick and humid while reading. It was tension that was uncomfortable at times, which was incredibly awesome. I STILL felt a sense of claustrophobia, which was again supercool – meaning that this author is talented in building her world because even in space, I felt completely enclosed inside the spaceship right along with the characters, even thought I wasn’t! The difference in this book and the last book is that there is a period of time when some of the world outside of the ship is talked about. Not much of that outer space world is built, but it is safe to say that someone ventures outside of the ship for a few minutes. But why? Hmmm….
3. Genre. Oh, my favorite! A mash-up! I’m calling this one a Science-Fiction/Fantasy Romance with Mystery and Dystopia thrown in. Because it is a Young Adult book and there is some romance and mystery, it is a bit light on the Sci-Fi, but it is still absolutely Sci-Fi in nature. I adore it. It’s probably one of the closest to the real thing that there is out there for YA readers right now (in my opinion). Please, if anyone feels differently, correct me because I’d love to discuss this with you…
4. The Twists. There are twists around every turn, almost on every page. Everytime you think you’ve got something figured out – you don’t! There were so many times when I literally gasped and said to myself out loud “NO WAY” or “WHAT??” and I loved that. Friends, this is what makes a book awesome! There are some things in this book that will blow your mind and make you think OH MY GRACIOUS!!!
5. Phydus. Phydus is a drug that was placed in the water and given to the residents of the ship to control them and keep them subdued. It worked well to keep the ship in order, and everything was maintained very smoothly…until it was removed from the water supply. With Phydus, there was almost a utopian society…almost. Without it, people began to think for themselves…which was not really a great thing in this environment. People began to feel jealous, rebellious, lazy, and even depressed/suicidal. They compared the amount of work they were doing to the amount of work their neighbor were doing. They withheld food and services from one another. Before long, there was all-out mutiny and revolt occurring and it was up to the very young Elder – who wasn’t yet equipped with the knowledge to handle this sort of thing – to sort it all out. Not only that, but a series of murders was rocking the ship, and they were all being blamed on Elder. In reality, it was the lack of Phydus that was contributing to this. After a few days, a few people that were working closely with Elder began to urge him to put the Phydus back into the drinking supply but he stuck to his original plan that the people didn’t need it. Things really began to get worse before they got better until some BIG, CRAZY, TWISTS started happening and WOW. Just WOW.
6. The Romance. Yes, the crush that started out in Across the Universe has developed into a romance in A Million Suns. The problem with this is that now that they feelings are truly there – Elder has a big problem on his hands and he is the one who is responsible for it. Every time Amy and Elder get two seconds to be alone, Elder is called away to deal with a murder or a crime of some sort. SO…there is a bit of maturity that is shown here in that Elder and Amy both realize the priority that comes before the relationship – which is a step up from Across the Universe – but in their minds, we as readers are privy to the annoyance they both feel when they have to walk away from each other to deal with these things. While it may seem like they are whiny for having these feelings…FOLKS, WE’D ALL FEEL THE SAME WAY. I myself feel the same way when my husband has meetings that keep him gone until 9pm on Friday nights. So, let’s cut Amy and Elder some slack, okay? They’re young and yet they have BIG responsibilities.
And I quite like their romance myself. They both show bigtime growth NOW from the beginning of Across the Universe, and nowhere is it more evident than in the scenes revolving around the romantic interactions and conversations.
I’d also like to point out that at NO TIME did I feel like the romance was more important or even equally as important as the other stuff going on in the book. It was a part of the plot, but it was not a huge part of the plot. It should not be a reason people choose not to read this book or the following book, in my opinion.
7. The Cover. I think this cover goes with this story much better than the cover for the first book. While the cover for Across the Universe felt a little misleading to me (it led me to believe there was more romance than there actually was) THIS cover tells what is going on. And WOW, friends, there is SOMETHING going on.
I can’t believe how much better this book is better than the first. Certainly no sophomore slump here! Even if you didn’t like the first book all that much, I think the series can redeem itself to you with A Million Suns. And if you are as much of a fan of the series as I am after reading Across the Universe, these feelings will only grow after reading A Million Suns. It is intense, non-stop, nail-biting, page-turning action with twist after twist after twist. I can’t believe that I’ll have to wait so long to find out what happens next.
Science-Fiction/Fantasy Genre with
*I borrowed this book as part of Around The World Book Tours in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions. I received no compensation for my review.