A Million Suns by Beth Revis

A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Book Stats:

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 386 pages 
Genre: Science-Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Release date: January 10, 2012

Series: Across the Universe #2

Reviewed by: Stéphanie

Source: Library

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Godspeed was once 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. Everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed.

But there may be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to act on his vision—no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder learns shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a mystery that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier. Their success—or failure—will determine the fate of the 2,298 passengers aboard Godspeed. But with each step, the journey becomes more perilous, the ship more chaotic, and the love between them more impossible to fight.

Beth Revis catapulted readers into the far reaches of space with her New York Times bestselling debut, Across the Universe. In A Million Suns, Beth deepens the mystery with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book in this series, but I was intrigued enough to check out this sequel. As far as sequels go, it’s pretty decent. I think I even prefer A MILLION SUNS, over book one. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE left too many unanswered questions for me and was just a little bit too confusing for my taste. A MILLION SUNS provided many answers, just enough to satisfy me, while still leaving us with a manageable cliffhanger to keep the interest at the end.

We learn more and more about each character as the series progresses and while A MILLION SUNS sheds more light on the two main characters (no pun intended), it makes me like one of them more and dislike the other. Amy is someone that I can easily identify with. The only Earth born on the spaceship Godspeed, she’s been woken up from suspended animation earlier than expected and I can definitively understand her need to get off the ship. Obviously, she will stop at nothing to find out why the space mission isn’t on schedule, not only because she wants the ship to land on the “new” Earth, but also because landing would mean being able to wake up her parents from their own suspended animation. Like me, Amy is a runner and there’s nothing better than fresh air and a large open space to run and forget about everything else besides your feet pounding the pavement. The ship’s walls feel so claustrophobic that I completely understand her need to get off.

Elder, however, is a different story. Literally born to lead Godspeed, it seems like it’s one of the only things that he isn’t capable of doing. I understand that he’s only 16 years old and that he still has a lot to learn about leading a community, but almost every decision he makes leads to more problems and uncertainty. Even if I completely agree with the decisions he makes, it’s because he’s unable to stand behind them that people see him as a weak leader. Sure, almost everyone on the ship is out to get him anyways, and many try to sabotage the work he’s doing, but his inactions cost him more than his actions. His poor decision making leads the ship into a chaotic state, where mutiny and rebellion rules the community.

And if rebellion isn’t enough to cause problems, there’s a murderer roaming around, killing people and making it look like Elder is responsible for their deaths. The idea of a science-fiction/murder mystery mash-up is a great concept and I’ve read a few other book with this combination, and it works really well. I really admire the author’s courage to try the mash-up in Young Adult because it’s not something we see that often. I’m a huge fan of these mash-ups, and while I’m not a big fan of this particular series, it is getting better as the series develops.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate this series. Actually, after reading book 2, I will definitively read the last book of the trilogy because I’m intrigued enough about what will happen to Amy, Elder and the people on the ship. Will they finally make it to their new planet? Will Amy see her parents again? Will Elder finally take charge and be seen as a true leader? The ever present mysteries surrounding Godspeed will keep you interested, and the main characters will have you sitting on the edge of your seat as they follow the clues in this sci-fi/murder mystery.

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Across the Universe by Beth Revis

revis - across the universeAcross the Universe by Beth Revis

Book Stats:

Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Genre: Science Fiction
Paperback: 398 pages
Publisher: Penguin
Release date: January 11, 2011

Series: Across the Universe #1

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Stéphanie

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone – one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship – tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

I was very intrigued by this book when I first heard of it, a while back. Some people have been raving about this series, but unfortunately this book was not one of my favorites. Despite the interesting synopsis, I felt the writing wasn’t engaging enough for me to really enjoy the book. I’m usually a big fan of science fiction and I think ideally, the book had a lot of potential, but the actual result fell short.

The idea of sending a spaceship into space to colonize a far away planet, and freezing essential members of a future society so that they can be reanimated 300 years later when it lands, is quite interesting. I’m sure the subject has been explored in other books but I think the idea is quite fresh when it comes to YA. I was really excited to read this book but the first 100 pages were really difficult for me to get through. The fact that one of the main characters, Amy, is frozen for a good part of the beginning makes it hard to really connect with her. Her presence is there through fragmented pieces of narration, but those bits and pieces amounted to very little and just added unnecessary words to the novel.

The only thing holding the beginning together is Elder’s point of view, but even then, I had a really hard time connecting with him. His ideals are confused because of his fragmented and disorganized education, which makes it difficult to establish what he stands for. We do see him grow as a character later on, and see him stand up to the tyrannical leader, but his indecision and nonchalant personality makes it hard to view him as a hero and a leader. I can’t blame everything on him because the tyrannical leader, Eldest, did lie and withhold a lot of information from him and the rest of the inhabitants of the spaceship. However, the fact that Elder seems so narrow minded a lot of the time, gives the reader the impression that he’s simple and shortsighted.

Despite my problems with the characters, I think the concept of this brainwashed society is quite provocative. The inhabitants of the spaceship have been lead to believed that normal people are obedient, blank and unfeeling, while free-thinking people are crazy and abnormal. It had been decided by a past leader that a blank and subservient community would be easier to control. The fact that the new generations are now more or less monoethnic because of the population’s limited gene pool, the tyrannical leader thinks this is actually a good thing because differences are thought to be inconvenient and the cause of discord in a society. Eldest is compared to Hitler, which is considered an admirable trait in a leader by the brainwashed society. That alone is enough for us to see that there’s something wrong with this society.

The societal ramification of  having many people living in a limited space is observed is this book, which makes it very educational. The book did make me think and observe space travel in a different way. However, I think some reader will agree with me when I say, despite all the information we are given, it seems like very little happens in this book. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE might not have been for me but I really think many future reader will probably enjoy it more than I did.

Read an excerpt

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