Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Just Finished Reading ... A Million Suns
A Million Suns
by Beth Revis
January 10, 2012
Source: ARC traded with a friend
Mature content: References to rape. Multiple murders.
This book is a sequel to Across the Universe, published in January 2011.
I've struggled with how -- or whether -- to review second or third books in a series. It's hard to write something that makes sense and is spoiler-free for readers who haven't tackled prior books.
But, hey, I'll give it a shot. As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!
Across the Universe begins as Amy and her parents are cryogenically frozen in preparation for a 300-year journey to a new planet, Centauri-Earth. But Amy is inexplicably unfrozen fifty years too early and has to face life on the spaceship Godspeed, alone among strangers. To make matters even worse, someone is unplugging her frozen counterparts and watching them die.
Elder is heir apparent to Eldest, the leader of Godspeed. he's intrigued by Amy, who is not only the only person his age on board the ship, but the only person he's ever seen with pale skin and red hair. He fights both his attraction to her and his fears about becoming a leader, while Amy struggles to adapt to life on Godspeed.
These books are one part sci-fi, one part dystopian, and one part thriller. The concept is unique and the plotting clever. In A Million Suns, the characters continue to face plenty of obstacles, both emotional and literal. Amy misses her life on earth and longs to be reunited with her parents, who are tantalizingly close but heartbreakingly silent in their cryo-boxes. Elder finds leadership abruptly thrust upon him and struggles with his confidence.
As all good dystopian novels should, A Million Suns raises weighty philosophical and ethical questions. How can political power be wielded fairly and justly? How much dissent and individual thought can a society bear? What is the nature of freedom?
For the most part, Elder is the one pondering such questions. As in the first book, Amy spends much of the book hiding for her own safety. Reminiscent of the main character in Fire by Kristin Cashore, red-haired Amy is stared at and feared as a freak by the homogeneous residents of Godspeed. In Across the Universe, Amy was nearly raped and is understandably still shaken and afraid. So she wraps up her hair and hides her face and goes on a scavenger hunt for hidden messages that reveal secrets about Godspeed and its mysterious mission. Meanwhile, Elder deals with a mutinous population, a tail of bodies left by a mysterious killer, and his own self-doubt.
A Million Suns ends with a brand-new cliffhanger as the residents of Godspeed face a difficult and frightening choice.
I hope that in the next book of this series, the long-suffering Godspeeders do make to Centauri-Earth so that Amy can finally come out of hiding.
I'll definitely be on board for book three -- I like the way this series inventively mixes genres and always keeps me thinking.