The epicness that is Across the Universe left me wanting more, more, MORE! A Million Suns definitely brings more, even if I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first. In the very first chapter we’re given new information about the state of Godspeed. We left the first book thinking that the ship is centuries behind schedule because the engines can’t make it go fast enough. Well, that isn’t exactly true. The ship isn’t moving at all! How the heck did that happen?! When did this happen?! That’s what most of the rest of the book is dedicated to. Orion has left a series of clues for Amy to find and discover the truths surrounding Godspeed’s mission.
I loved the mystery in A Million Suns! I desperately wanted to know why the ship was just floating in space and how it got that way. Orion’s clues are quite clever and take Amy on a tour of hidden places within the Godspeed. She’s always on the move trying to figure out one thing or another, so there was never a dull moment. Especially since someone has been tampering with the clues. However, the big secret was a little disappointing. I had two guesses in mind and one of them ended up being correct, unlike with the first book where I never figured anything out. The mystery person who was messing with the clues was also super obvious.
Of course, Amy isn’t doing this all alone. She has Elder at her side. He’s not totally into running around the ship chasing a crazy man’s hidden clues at the beginning though, since he has much bigger problems to deal with. The first being figuring out the engine problem, which he leaves to the Shippers. The second is that the people are in an uproar! Without Phydus to keep them in line, a mutiny is close at hand. I really enjoyed watching Elder grow confidence in himself as a leader. He’s struggling to keep order on the ship and in turn keeping the ship from falling apart, but he does everything in his power to keep things from totally blowing up.
Amid all of the chaos, there’s a budding romance. At the beginning I was so happy that Amy still hadn’t given in and claimed undying love for Elder. She acknowledges that they’re the only teenagers on the ship, and that doesn’t mean that they have to be together. There’s also the fact that she’s still mad at him and can barely stand to be around him. But then there’s random moments where she does just want to be with him, but she doesn’t, but she does. She was conflicted about her feelings, but sometimes it felt like the author forgot that Amy was mad and just wanted to develop the romance faster. Thankfully, the focus is definitely not on the romance.
What brought down my enjoyment of this one compared to the first was a few inconsistencies. I just mentioned Amy’s feelings for Elder as one of them. Another one also involves Amy and her wacky feelings and justifications. There’s a few scenes where someone’s lives are in her hands. In two instances, where she shouldn’t have hesitated at all, she does. Thinking she shouldn’t do this to someone. Then there’s a third instance, where she has no doubt in her mind that this person should die, even though they’ve been very helpful to her. I really did not get it. It just seemed like a way for Amy and Elder to have a disagreement. Then there’s the whole stopped ship scenario. I can’t really say more without giving away spoilers, but there’s a contradiction of information somewhere, or else I must of have missed something.
Anyway, I did love A Million Suns, but it was missing that wow-factor of Across the Universe. It left me puzzled in places, and not because there’s a lack of information, but because of contradictions. I am still very excited for the conclusion though. I’m not sure what else can go wrong on the Godspeed, but if there is still something, I’m sure it’ll happen!
Before I talk about the book itself, which is pretty awesome, can I talk about how much I hate the whole 'ship fueled by lies' business? That is such an absurd way to describe Godspeed. Actually, if they could figure out how to use lies as fuel, Godspeed really wouldn't be having any troubles, because they'd be moving a long at a nice clip. Oh well, that was Across the Universe. Apparently, now the ship is 'ruled by chaos.' That's a definite step up, phrase-wise.
Speaking of steps up, I liked A Million Suns better than its predecessor. I know lots of people will judge me when I say this, but I was bored through the first half of Across the Universe. For a while there, it came close to being a DNF. I put it down for a while, came back to it, and then enjoyed it. With A Million Suns, there was no boredom. I was totally caught up in the book from the beginning to the end. I thought this one had much more consistent action and less of Amy whining about the, admittedly unfortunate, situation in which she has found herself. Don't you just love when a series doesn't peak with book one?
In fact, now that Amy is somewhat resigned to her fate here on Godspeed, I found her a much stronger, more likable character. She's still grumpier than the average heroine, but is down to a level that I can stand reading about. It helps, too, that she has a purpose now, in the form of a mystery to solve. Of course, it also helps that the other characters are more interesting now too, since they're off of Phydus. There's more life in this book.
While I'm talking about Amy, I also want to discuss the romance between Elder and Amy. I was expecting it to be cheesy and awful, because that's one of the aspects I barely remember about the first book. Thankfully, though, Amy actually has the kind of attitude towards romance that I always hope to see from YA books. To get the gist, see my favorite quote at the bottom. Also, I totally loved that, though the romance was here, it was not at all the main focus. The most important thing was saving the ship and its people in whatever way necessary.
At the end of Across the Universe, power-hungry Eldest died and insane Orion was frozen. Now Eldest (Elder in the last book has now taken over the title, though I will call him Elder for the rest of the review for clarity's sake) is leading Godspeed. However, his youth, inexperience and kindness all run against him. So, too, does his desire to keep the ship off of Phydus. Without it, people have minds and opinions, and they're extra pissed off because they now know what was happening to them for generations. Elder helped them by removing it, but he's also the representative for why they were turned into brainless sheep. Some are mad because they were ever drugged, others are mad because they want Phydus back, but they're all mad.
Elder wants to focus on the important thing: fixing the ship and finishing the mission. The Shippers (those responsible for ship maintenance) tell him they can't fix the engine, because they're too busy keeping the ship in working order otherwise. This was one of the things that didn't make sense. The Shippers don't have time to work on the engine, yet, when Elder decides he needs a police force to help get the population under control, they volunteer. I thought they were busy? Shouldn't he choose people who don't need to be, you know, making sure the bits of metal keeping you from death in space don't FALL APART.
Elder tries really hard, poor dear. He does. Honestly, though, I'm kind of on the side of the people considering revolution. He has his heart and intentions in the right place, but I don't feel like he really knows what he's doing. Then again, Elder has never been my favorite hero. He's a bit stodgy most of the time; it's hard to fathom how he was such good friends with Harley and the rest.
I really loved the plot line with Orion and the clues he left behind for Amy. Having a task made Amy more fun. He hid a bunch of clues in literary references, so that was awesome. Plus, I got to see a different side of him than I ever had before. The problem here is that this Orion seems fairly stable. I mean, a little bit crazy, but he sure seems incredibly smart and as though he has plans. Elder would never have figured all of that stuff out on his own. Maybe it's because I read the first book two years ago, but I felt like it wouldn't be that bad if Orion were to be the leader of the ship. Yes, he killed people, but Eldest drugged them and he didn't really get hatred for that.
In all honesty, I don't know why these books are not more popular. This series ought to have the fandom that Divergent has: they're accessible, but much better written and plotted. I am super stoked about Shades of Earth in a few months, guys! I feel like it might be EVEN BETTER.
Where Across the Universe was fuelled by lies and Elder's search to reveal the truth, A Million Suns leaks out truth, after truth, after truth in a horrifyingly shocking and deliciously teasing page-turning way! Infused with the same mystery and suspense we saw in Across the Universe, in A Million Suns Amy and Elder work to uncover clues that will determine the fate of all of those on Godspeed. The stakes become much higher and the twists and turns keep you guessing until the last page!
It's been three months since Elder assumed leadership, and things are starting to crumble at his feet. No longer under the influence of Phydus - the drug Eldest used to control people into subservience - the people aboard Godspeed have woken up - and they're not all happy. Labor strikes, resource shortages and the whispers of revolution have created a chaotic environment, filled with violence and death.
I enjoyed watching Elder try to exercise his authority, but I wasn't surprised when the people he was trying to lead revolted. His fault was in doubting himself, and many of those looking to rebel exploited that weakness. He spent much of his time running from one problem to the next, leaving behind a wake of death and destruction. I wish he could have tapped into the potential he has to be a great leader, but instead it felt like he thought the best course of action was to yell louder then everyone else. He spent a lot of time defending his actions and his involvement with Amy, instead of working with those rebelling against him towards a solution that everyone could live with. He claimed he wanted to rule differently then Eldest, but in many of his moments of doubt, he found himself wishing he was more like Eldest as people had listened to him. I wish I could say that he learned from his mistakes, but as in Across the Universe, Elder showed his age in many situations, jumping in headfirst before thinking through the consequences. The faults I found in Elder weren't enough to lessen my enjoyment of the book however. I can't imagine being the youngest amongst a large group of people, and having them question not only my authority, but my ability to lead. Through it all Elder managed to stick true to what he believes in and the moments where he was able to take charge without hesitation, though far and few between, were powerful. Towards the end, Elder was able to redeem himself as a leader and gain my respect. I love that he gave the inhabitants of Godspeed a choice, even though he had Amy arguing against it every step of the way.
Amy however, I grew to dislike. There were moments where she truly shined, where she claimed her independence and stood up to those who would see her cower in their presence, but those rare moments were not enough to make up for her selfishness. Having been left clues by Orion, which promised to explain his reasons for unplugging the frozens, Amy sets out to uncover his secrets. In the midst of everything Elder is dealing with, Amy is constantly asking him for his help in deciphering the next clue. This would be fine, except every time Elder has to run off to handle a crisis, Amy makes him feel guilty for abandoning her, or she lashes out at him over something seemingly insignificant, or she pushes his buttons until he says something in anger, and then she runs away. I think Amy spends half of this book running away, and it really started to get on my nerves. I did like how she persevered, and stubbornly continued to look for clues when Elder said it was a waste of time, and that she figured out almost everything on her own. But her reaction at the end of the book (no spoilers, I'll just mention that it has to do with Orion) had me wanting to slap her. Her behaviour at the end had me questioning why Elder would want to pursue a relationship with her, because she was reacting like a childish brat.
Putting aside my issues with Amy, I loved A Million Suns. I loved that Revis managed to make Orion such a strong presence when he was frozen for the entire book. My opinion of him kept changing with each clue, until I wasn't sure what I thought of him anymore. I loved the slight fear that came with reading from Amy's PoV as it felt like every person she passed was about to attack her. I also liked watching her adapt to her new surroundings, refusing to remain locked up in her room where it was safe, in order to uncover the truth. Some may see her actions as foolish, but I thought she was brave to face people who hated her on a daily basis, and not spend all of her free time in self-pity. I loved the plot twists that had my head-spinning from start to finish. The shocking truth that Amy and Elder stumble open had me reading open-mouthed as I started to understand the ramifications of such a discovery - it also left me with so many questions! - all of which were thankfully answered later.
From start to finish Revis had me hooked. It didn't matter that I was growing to dislike Amy, or that I disagreed with many of Elder's reactions - I couldn't put this book down until I had discovered the haunting secret that had been frozen with Orion and what it would mean for those still living on Godspeed. And I loved the ending! It tied up enough loose ends to leave me feeling satisfied, but left enough open for the wait for Shades of Earth to be agonizing!