Friday, 27 April 2012

Audiobook Review: A Million Suns by Beth Revis

First released: 10th January 2012
By: Penguin Audio

Audiobook length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
Narrators: Tara Carrozza and Lucas Salvagno

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 best-selling 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.

My review:

Because so many trilogies (especially ones that weren't originally conceived as trilogies) stumble or completely fall apart in their second installment, I feel like one of the highest compliments I can pay to A Million Suns is to say that it is just as strong as Across the Universe. Because it is - fortunately for this series, there's plenty of rich story opportunities to be mined from life aboard a spaceship. A Million Suns sees Elder take on the position of leader of the Godspeed. He wants to do it differently from the previous ruler Eldest, i.e. honestly and democratically, which soon reveals a problem: If the people of Godspeed are allowed a choice of who should lead them, they might not choose him. A Million Suns works best when it's exploring questions, of whether it's better to lie to keep the peace, or tell the truth and invite chaos, what makes someone a good leader and are leaders even necessary at all? I got so wrapped up in the drama aboard the ship and though my natural inclination was to side with Elder, more and more I began to see his opponents' POV. I love that this series actually encourages me to think and question the protagonists, instead of telling me they are always right.

I really like how Amy and Elder's relationship progresses in A Million Suns. Amy finally begins to reciprocate Elder's feelings, but the issue of whether this is just because he is essentially the only boy available is on her mind. I'm pleasantly surprised at how realistic a path their romance has followed, instead of the 'meant to be' stuff you often see in YA.

I read Across the Universe as a paperback, but with my Audible credit, it was cheaper to get A Million Suns as an audiobook. I really can't say enough good things about the narrators - Tara Carrozza is a fantastic actress who nailed every one of Amy's emotions and Lucas Salvagno sounded exactly like the Elder in my head - deep and a little robotic, but completely fitting for someone who's only recently started to tap into his feelings and is still trying to learn who he is as a person.

A Million Suns did have one thing I didn't like - a subplot for Amy where she tries to unravel a mystery left by Orion. Most of the clues are so ridiculously easy that it makes Amy look dense if she takes longer than five seconds to work each one out and it feels like the entire story thread is just there so A Million Suns can mirror the pattern of the first book, as if readers will be alienated if this second book is too different.

It's unnecessary, because A Millions Suns already has more than enough going on to keep you hooked. The ending is....on the one hand, how cruel to end it there. But on the other, how perfectly Beth Revis has made sure you will be gasping for the next book. If the final installment keeps to this standard, Across the Universe will be one of my favourite YA series of all time.

Rating: 4 stars

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