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!