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Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Million Suns

Publisher: Penguin (Razorbill)
Pages: 386

Publication Date: January 10, 2012
Type: Hardback, bought


Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos. 

It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And 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 enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies. 

But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart. 

In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled 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. 

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This book was a million times better than Across the Universe. Pun intended.

I liked AtU.  I thought the concept was fascinating, and there were some flashes of real brilliance.  But other things fell short.  Sometimes it was the characters; sometimes it was the writing; sometimes it was the plot.  I was so confused as to how I felt about it that I couldn't even give it a rating.

I can say with certainty that I really enjoyed A Million Suns. 

The writing was better.  There weren't the awkward hiccups scattered throughout AtU;  it was smooth, it was beautiful, and it didn't bog down the characters or the plot.  There was genuine emotion and genuine loveliness and one of the best uses of formatting that I've ever seen.  I saw their closed walls and endless stars; I felt their love and hope and complete desperation.  I saw, and I felt, and that is all I can ask of any writing.

The characters were also a huge improvement, most notably Elder.  In AtU, there were times I quite liked him, but for the majority of the book, he seemed quite whiny and insecure.  In A Million Suns, he really grows into his role as leader.  He toughens up, starts acting like someone in charge of over two thousand lives, grows a pair.  He even has a bit of a swoon factor, which was a pleasant surprise.

Amy I had liked in AtU, but in A Million Suns, I grew to love her.  And it's not just because she's that rare heroine who can think for herself and be the hero when she and/or others need rescuing; it's because I understood her.  It's because I read everything she felt, everything she considered, and it was all so very, very real.  If a teenage girl were trapped on a revolting spaceship with her parents indefinitely frozen and only one other teenager on board, this is precisely how she would be.  And that, I loved that.  I loved that Beth Revis just completely nailed it.

It wasn't only the main characters; I believe Beth Revis did a brilliant job at creating a cast of characters that was more than short descriptions, words on paper.  They were people, people with curiosities and flaws and dangerous ideas.  People. Even the villains of the story, save one, were not flatly evil; they had their explanations, their reasonings, their good qualities.  There was even the moral debate of whether one villain was justified in his actions, and I adored that.  To see a villain not simply condemned as the stereotypical bad guy, but as an intelligent, if slightly unbalanced person with genuine concerns who simply took things a step too far.  I really love moral dilemmas in general, but particularly those involving villains, and Beth handled that brilliantly.

And the story.  Oh, the story. The plot was craziness.  A whirlwind of action and mystery, not one thing mentioned without reason, everything an integral piece of this crazily twisting plotline.  Clues and murders and rebellion; personal dramas and dramas of the most immense scale.  I loved her accurate portrayal of the mob mentality and the stirrings of revolt; I love the complexity of her mysteries, how for every twist I figured out there was one I never saw coming.  While there were a few holes, I'm still extremely impressed with anyone who can fashion a plot such as this and carry it out as well as Beth did.

That said, I did have my qualms.  Mainly, the ending.  First of all, I simply did not see the logic behind the enormous mystery that all the clues amount to.  I wish I could go into more detail, but as I'd rather not spoil the book for all of you, I'll simply say that if you've read and would like to discuss it further, message me on Goodreads.  

Second of all, I feel as if another thing I cannot reveal was orchestrated simply to place another wedge between Amy and Elder.  They've finally grown closer, accepted their feelings for one another, and then . . . this!  While it's nothing so huge as the twist at the end of the first novel, Amy makes it out to be an insurmountable barrier between the two of them.  And I can't help but feel that this was done so there'd be additional relationship drama to incorporate into Shades of Earth.

Qualms aside, I really, really enjoyed this book.  It was an incredible improvement on the first novel, and I suspect Shades of Earth will only be better.  This is a series I would most definitely recommend, not only to sci-fi lovers but to any who enjoy a fast-paced, intriguing plot, powerful writing, and genuine characters.

4 stars.

5 comments:

Rachel @ Unforgettable Books

Wonderful! I'm glad that Revis is improving with each book she writes! I loved ATU and I hope to read this book soon! wonderful review!

Sam

Isn't there nearly always a distance between the characters in a sequel? It seems to be the rule. That aside, this sounds fantastic! Brilliant review, Lexie. I think I might have mentioned to you before that although I enjoyed AtU, it wasn't perfect for me either. It's so good to hear this one is so much better! I am definitely eager to get started on it now after pushing it further and further down the TBR pile. I guess I can finally pull it out to the top. :)

Traci @ The Reading Geek

Great review Lexie! I loved A Million Suns so much more than Across the Universe too. I think I enjoyed Across the Universe a bit more than you but I can understand what you mean. I do agree that I liked Elder so much more in A Million Suns than in Across the Universe. I felt at times something had been missing and I found I just connected with him so much more in A Million Suns. The same thing with Amy too she would get me so angry at times in Across the Universe. I loved the plot though and like you said it was exciting and mysterious. The ending was definitely a surprise that I wasn't too confident on how I still feel about it. I definitely cant wait for Shades of Earth though!

Giselle

Awesome review, doll! I haven't read the first book yet but I do have it on my shelf there somewheres baha. Glad to see that some things improve in this one though although the reviews for the first are really good but I'm always the black sheep so I'll most likely feel the same you did! :)

Stephanie

Great review, Lexie! I had the same issues with the ending. I felt like Amy completely over reacted. It seemed so out of place. And the big reveal for the mystery? A bit of a downer, but like you, I really enjoyed it as a whole.

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