Title: A Million Suns
Author: Beth Revis
Release Date: January 10, 2012
Genre: Teen/YA, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Rating: 4 out of 5
This review may contain spoilers for the first book in this series, Across the Universe.
After the horrible events that led to the death of Eldest and the incapacitation of Orion, Elder has now assumed leadership of the Godspeed. But since taking the inhabitants of the ship off the drug that has kept them obedient, Elder’s leadership position is in jeopardy. What’s more, Amy is still having trouble fitting in aboard Godspeed, and her situation has become dangerous with the growing unrest. When Elder and Amy discover that there are yet more secrets to uncover about the Godspeed, her mission, and the “Plague”, they race to find this knowledge before it’s too late.
A Million Suns is a book that left me torn. The first half of it is frustrating, to say the least. Amy continued to drive me batty, as she did in Across the Universe, but this time, Elder joined in as well. I had sympathy for him - he was trying to do the right thing by his people and to be a true leader - yet he shows his very tender age through his actions. He is incredibly naïve when it comes to leadership; though he has given the Godspeed’s inhabitants the gift of choice by taking them off Phydus, he still expects to automatically be their leader. He can’t understand why some of them aren’t happy with the situation. Again and again, he makes the wrong decisions, and while he is in a very difficult position, it’s clear he has no idea what he’s doing.
What’s more, one of my favorite things about Across the Universe - the fact that the romantic storyline was toned down - isn’t the case in A Million Suns. Elder struggles with his feelings for Amy while also trying to lead the ship. While I won’t say it’s annoying (thankfully, Revis still handles it well) it does turn up the teen angst quotient on the novel.
That being said, I still enjoyed A Million Suns overall. Why? Because, about halfway through the book, the plot takes a huge leap with a revelation about the Godspeed, and it sprints towards the explosive and surprising ending. I was breathlessly reading through the twists and turns Revis threw at me, unable to predict where she would go next. The ending of the novel was not something I could have foreseen in a million years, and I absolutely loved that it ended up in a place so different than where it started. What’s more, Elder really comes into his own as a leader in the second half of the novel, and makes some incredibly difficult, but very mature, choices.
Despite my initial misgivings about A Million Suns, I’m really happy I gave it a chance and didn’t just put it down out of frustration. Amy continues to be a source of annoyance, especially towards the end of the novel, but I really appreciate how the character of Elder has evolved. Additionally, Revis’ plot is really great, and I love the way she isn’t afraid to take risks with the storyline. She’s also a wonderful worldbuilder. While A Million Suns likely won’t be my favorite installment in this trilogy, I am still eagerly anticipating the final novel.