A Million Suns
By Beth Revis
Ages 12 and up
Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.
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.
But as the ship gets more and more out of control, only one thing is certain: They have to get off the ship.
I honestly wasn’t sure if Beth Revis could create a follow-up to Across the Universe that was as good as its predecessor. Boy, was I ever wrong. A MILLION SUNS was my book of choice to accompany me during my 5-hour flight out west last week. Ironic, considering I think myself positively “trapped” anytime I must fly, and my being on the plane was a funny little parallel universe to the ship I read about in those 5 fast-flying hours. But back to the review: A Million Suns (AMS) goes above and BEYOND everything the first book presented to us (and then some.)
If you thought that the plot in Across the Universe (AtU) was outstanding and the mystery complex, you ain’t seen nothing yet. I must say, I think I enjoyed the complications and the events of this book much more than those of AtU. In fact, what’s going on here makes the events of AtU pale in comparison. Let’s just say that your eyes will likely dryout from being wide open and your jaw will be hanging agape by the end of AMS. Have someone at the ready to help you close both your eyes and mouth as you read.
I personally loved both main characters more in this installment than I did in book one. I related to them more, if I can say that I relate to an evolved people living on a ship in outer space. Gone (for the most part) is the “woe is me” Amy from book one. Gone is the super-creepy-obsessive-over-the-red-head-girl Elder from book one. Now that some weight has been lifted off his shoulders, and a new weight is put in its place: The weight of having to be a leader. Yup, Elder is now leading the ship, and the obstacles that he faces are brilliantly used to move this character forward. He does some real growing up in this book. I really, really liked the Elder of this book. (I admit, I didn’t really know what to think of him in AtU.)
We learn A LOT about the characters in AMS. Both those involved in the present day and those dead and gone. Many new surprises are in store, as well, when it comes to these characters we’ve grown to love. Whatever their destiny, it was a real treat to see them evolve as the story progressed.
Who doesn’t love the Godspeed? This ship is awesome! It’s as much a character of the story as is Amy or Elder. The question is, what will be it’s ultimate destiny? I was bummed that we were not treated to another map of the Godspeed on the book’s cover for convenience, but eh, no biggie! I was obviously spoiled with the first book.
The book’s pacing yet another area in which AMS trumps AtU. The beginning is perhaps not as “gripping” as the beginning of AtU, but Beth still has some tricks up her sleeve in order to pull you in and keep you running right from the start. As I said, the overall mystery is more complex than the one contained in AtU, and as a result there is a more varied and greater amount of action and revelations. The obstacles and adversaries that Elder has to face as the new leader are numerous and difficult. Even if I had read this book over the span of days and not in 5 hours, I still would not have found an easy place to stop and put the book down. It would have been near impossible. Nearly every page, and just about every word moved the story forward.
Once again, Beth uses the perspectives of both Amy and Elder to tell her story. I appreciate this because these two characters have two fairly different personalities, backgrounds and thoughts, so seeing the world from each of their perspectives was a storytelling technique that I am glad that Beth thought to use. Not only do we see two versions of the world, but we’re allowed to be in multiple places where multiple story lines unfold almost at once. This makes for a real page turner.
So Beth has done it again. This time she has managed to one-up herself to the point that A Million Suns is even more brilliant, more ingenious than her stunning debut. My only concern is that there is no room for her to top herself with SHADES OF EARTH in 2013. Here’s hoping, though I honestly doubt she will disappoint.