Discovering Across the Universe was more of a happy accident than anything else. I picked it up as part of a reading challenge and though I didn’t really have high hopes for it, the story blew me away. I enjoyed it so much that I gave it a spot on my GoodReads favourites shelf, which currently has a whole sixteen books listed on it!
This was a case where time gave me better perspective and even though nothing will change my enjoyment of the book, I became more aware of its flaws. Despite this, I was still really looking forward to the release of the sequel. I got the book at the time of its release but just didn’t get around to reading it until now.
Title: A Million Suns
Series: Across the Universe #2
Author: Beth Revis
Target Audience: YA
PoV: 1st person
Tense: Present tense
Story: Godspeed was once fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos. It’s been three months. In that time, Amy has learned to hide who she is. Elder is trying to be the leader he’s always wanted to be. But as the ship gets more and more out of control, only one thing is certain: They have to get off the ship.
Thoughts and impressions: A Million Suns certainly opens with a shattering game-changing revelation and this only intensifies as events take place and even more shocking secrets are pulled out into the light of day.
The plot here was definitely stronger than that of the first book. There, a lot was hinging on Amy and Elder just being slow when things were staring them in the face. Though that was occasionally the case here, too, it was much less common. The inhabitants of the ship are now off the Phydus, a drug that allowed them to be controlled, and Elder is faced with a community only just becoming aware of its surroundings.
There’s unrest, dissension and calls for a revolution – for the people to take the power rather than leaving it in the hands of the youngest person on board the ship. Elder’s got a lot on his plate and it’s a situation his training never prepared him for so he often does things that seem like a good idea in the heat of the moment but have serious consequences later on.
Elder’s very much not the alpha male hero. He’s much more subdued than that. He’s not really the sort of male character that would ever make one of my heart throb lists. That said, I do like him as a character. He’s very interesting to read about, especially as he struggles with his identity and the truth of his heritage. Often enough, when he does some things he won’t just question whether it was the right thing to do, but also how his predecessor would have handled the situation.
It’s true that he’s very brittle in this book and often quick to lose his temper but considering how much stress he’s under, I’m willing to forgive this.
I’m less willing to forgive Amy. There were times when I really wanted to reach into the book and slap some sense into her. She often acted like a spoilt child spitting out her dummy when she didn’t get her way, especially in her interactions with Elder. I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with her.
There was one quote from one of Elder’s chapters that really struck me: “When it’s her people who are dying it has to be the highest priority but when it’s mine who are dying she doesn’t care.” I’m paraphrasing this but it’s something along those lines. And yes, it truly did feel very much that way. I didn’t like who she became.
Other than the discontent spreading through the ship, the story also focuses on a series of clues about the ship’s secrets that Orion left for Amy. These were prompted by a quote from Dante’s Inferno. I don’t know how schooling works in the US but we never studied Dante and I wouldn’t have been able to place that quote in a million years.
That aside, the trail was certainly very thought-provoking. When taken hand in hand with another murdering spree on board, this time in the name of “the leader” made for a mystery plot that was easy to get caught up in. What’s more, whereas the perpetrator was obvious in the first book, time was far from the case here. I never really had a solid suspect in mind. The consequences were much more far-reaching, though.
Style: The author certainly knows how to get the reader caught up in the action taking place. I flew through this book.
Final verdict: Stronger than the first book but I couldn’t help but dislike Amy. I’m still very interested in seeing where things go from here! 4 stars
Extra notes: invented language (“frex”) for the most part but there is a certain amount of bad language here. No sex.