Review–A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2) by Beth Revis

A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2)
by Beth Revis
Summary: Book 2 in the New York Times bestselling trilogy, perfect for fans of Battlestar Gallactica and Prometheus!
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.

Source: I purchased a paperback.

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A Million Suns was addicting, mysterious, and frustrating. Instead of the calm, secretive, and malicious dystopian set up in book one, this installment was mass chaos. Elder tried so hard to give his people awareness, truth, and facts, but he gave them too much truth at once. People were rioting, not working, injuring themselves, and tearing the ship apart with their newfound awareness. Depression was a major problem as people could not longer find the point of living when the ship was so far away from Centauri-Earth.

I found A Million Suns to be addicting because I was so eager to find out what would happen next. Orion somehow knew Elder would be ill equipped to lead without causing chaos because the truth was so hard to bear, so he gave Amy clues that could help her help the ship and make the biggest decision of all. More secrets were uncovered and it was up to Amy and Elder to find out what to do with those truths. I couldn’t wait to find out what was happening, who was harming people to send a message, at what point would the riots escalate and how would the ship leader handle it? What was wrong with the engines? Could they be fixed?

Again, in this novel, Amy was not a favorite of mine. I don’t know why I find her so annoying, but I can’t really stand her. She was so young and immature. I found myself taking Elder’s side when they’d argue. Orion seemed to think she was the best person to make the final decision (which we knew nothing about), but I couldn’t help but wonder why anyone would choose her when she was so emotional and had such a distinct view. The world, as it was clearly illustrated in A Million Suns, is not black and white. Both Eldest and Orion had reasons for their actions and she should get over her anger at both of them and use her brain and not her emotions to lead her through things.

Also, I really disliked the leftover baggage from her attack in the first book. I get it, I really do, but A Million Suns had a million conflicts and Amy’s emotional responses and fear of men really wasn’t necessary to the plot or necessary for dramatic purposes. There was enough of both. I usually don’t get annoyed/mad about rape scenes/plots/tools in fiction, but Amy’s circumstance was pretty much unnecessary in the first place and I thought it only gave her a reason to cower in fear when there were literally thousands of other reasons why she could have done so. It just bothered me because I didn’t think it fit with the story other than to make Amy more fearful, but as I said, there were tons of other avenues the author could have taken to achieve the same result.

This series is strange for me because I dislike Amy so much as a character, but I like the story a lot. There are just so many different conflicts and decisions to make and questions the arise about leadership and what is right vs what is wrong. A Million Suns was stressful to read. I had to put it down a few times because there was just that much chaos with no real solution in sight. The residents of Godspeed were revolting, twisting things around, and showing that they were better off as zombies on Phydus. But could Elder really do that? Lead like Eldest? Amy wouldn’t approve, but I also didn’t think Amy had the capacity to really understand where Elder or the other residents of Godspeed were coming from, especially as the book came to an end. It’s not okay to give them Phydus, but she was trying to get Elder to force them to do something else “for their own good” without realizing she just didn’t understand. Basically, while I get that Amy showed Elder the brilliance of truth, she is still very naïve when it comes to leadership. Her experiences on Earth should have given her more knowledge than Elder had about leadership, especially since he was given so much wrong information when he was given any at all under Eldest’s lead, but Elder shows more of a capacity to understand his people and struggles more with what is right and wrong.

My other issue with A Million Suns was the mystery. I liked the fact that Orion was still able to show Elder and Amy the truth that hadn’t been revealed yet, but I didn’t like the way it all played out. The clues were all over the place and, as I said earlier in this review, after meeting/knowing Amy why would anyone pick her to be the one who receives the clues or makes the decisions? She’s been whining and moping around for a long time and any final revelation that would involve any decision ending with her being able to wake up her parents would most likely be the winning decision, whether or not it was the right thing to do. I liked the final reveal, as I figured that would be the case when I first picked up the series. I knew there were a few possibilities and the most ironic one would certainly solve everyone’s ship issues, but be the most horrifying of those possibilities. I wish less time was spent finding clues and more time was spent exploring the reality of the decisions that the characters had to make and the horror of that final reveal. Taking the entire book to uncover clues, but having one meeting where the residents decide what to do and spending a few pages doing it wasn’t really satisfactory to me in the end.

I think I would have preferred to have the plot of these novels without the teenager points of view. I would have preferred it if some of the social elements of Godspeed were better explored, too. I understood Elder most of the time, but even he was immature and didn’t think before he acted. I wish Amy wasn’t so immature, emotional, and stubborn.  Either way, now I have to have to know what happens next. On to book three! I am giving this 4 stars because I need to know what happens next and I do like the themes and questions the story brings up, even if I have issues with characters and execution.


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