March 14, 2013

REVIEW: A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2)

A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2), by Beth Revis
Published November 21, 2012
Publisher:  Razorbill
Format:  paperback - borrowed from library
Genre:  YA Sci-fi

Rating:  4.5 STARS


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 just 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, he and Amy must race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed, all the while dealing with the love that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

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.

The best thing about the Across the Universe books is the story within the story. Each book is part of a bigger picture, but within those beautiful covers is a separate mystery to be solved that keeps the reader totally engrossed. It's like those cute little Russian nesting dolls. There's a surprise within a surprise within a surprise. And each one is more clever then the one before. 

In A Million Suns, we see that the Godspeed is in total anarchy since Elder took the inhabitants off the drugs that were making them calm and compliant. He's desperately trying to keep control while at the same time trying to figure out how to get to Centauri Earth. Meanwhile Amy is following the bread crumbs that Orion left for her, hoping to figure out how to save her parents and help Elder. 

For once in a YA book, the romance is not at center stage here. It's a background prop for the rest of the story. It's obvious that Amy and Elder love each other, but she's still not ready to come face-to-face with that realization. Although Amy and Elder have a few moments in A Million Suns, they're short and far between. 

The real star of the show here is the mysteries that Elder and Amy have to solve. Amy is trying to discover Orion's secrets and what they mean. She's following a scavenger hunt of clues hidden throughout the ship. To what end, she doesn't know, but she knows it has to do with the planet and her parents. Meanwhile, Elder is trying to find out who is killing the citizens of the Godspeed and why his good friend is leading the mutiny. 

The creative moxie that Beth Revis displays in A Million Suns is impressive. The trail of clues that both Elder and Amy follow kept me hanging on to each page, straining to see if I could figure out the big secrets before they did. It was such a fun read. 

Beyond that, the level of emotion displayed in A Million Suns is in direct contrast to that which we saw in Across the Universe. In Across the Universe, there was very little emotion because of the use of drugs. In A Million Suns, emotion bubbles over and floods the pages. The citizens are scared and angry. Elder is so, so frustrated and worried about Amy. Amy is worried about Elder and determined to save her parents. I felt all of that as I was reading, all the way down to the incredible last page.

If the successful formula holds, Revis is sure to deliver an explosive conclusion to the series. I wonder what the next mystery will be. I do know that, even before I finished A Million Suns, I went to the library and took out Shades of Earth.    

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