I always worry about second books because they tend to fall into the trap of setting up for the final installment rather than being any good themselves. "A Million Suns" is not one of these books. It had me glued to the pages for hours (when really I should have been doing something far more productive) and I just couldn't put it down until my eyelids refused to stay open any longer.
This second installments kicks off shortly after the events of the first book where Amy and Elder are trapped on Godspeed with no idea when or if they'll ever reach the new planet, Centauri Earth. We see Amy struggle the most I think within this book to come to terms with the lose of her life on Sol-Earth. She is incredibly lonely and spends most of her time staring at her cryogenically frozen parents. Elder on the other hand has bigger fish to fry. The entire ship (now free of Phydus - the mind calming drug) is beginning to rebel. After all, they didn't ask for Elder to be their leader. There was democratic vote. They want choice. Elder spends almost all of the book fighting off this rebellion and trying to prove his right to be the Eldest (despite refusing to change his name).
What's really clever is that Revis has shown what a population of people are actually capable of when free from a drug like Phydus. The human race isn't displayed in the kindest of ways but I think she perfectly portrays what a little bit of free choice can bring out in people, good or bad. The ship therefore is much less safe then it was when Eldest was the leader. Infact, we see dozens of murders, dozens of betrayals and a refusal to do the general jobs on the ship. Which means not enough food, not enough resources and a lot of angry, hungry people (which of course is brilliant fun to read about!).
I was also very impressed with the portrayal of the characters this time around. I liked Elder and Amy in the first book but nothing really grabbed me about them. However, Revis really made them come alive for me this time. Amy in particular was depicted in an interesting way. I liked that she toyed with the idea of choice and love; she doesn't seem convinced that Elder really is the one for her like so many stereotypical female leads, but instead spends quite a portion of her narrative debating about whether she only likes him because she has no other choice or no other person her age to choose from. What's even more impressive is that she actually is shown to have the guts to actually vocalise this to Elder and for that I was truly impressed with her character and had a lot more interest in reading about her and seeing how things played out. Her debate seemed such a human response which I think is sometimes lacking in YA fiction where romance is concerned.
This book becomes more of a "find the truth, spot the clues" kind of book. Amy has been left a bunch of clues by Orion (the currently frozen bad guy on the ship) telling her that she must follow the clues to find the truth. And Wow. When she finds it you'll just be blown away. Along the way both Amy and Elder discover so much about the history of the ship, the true nature of the plague, the potential to get to the new planet and the real purpose of the mission. I loved the way Beth Revis introduced all of these new ideas by using clues and that we could try and figure it out ourselves too (I admit I failed miserably).
I couldn't have asked for a better read, it really is a fantastic series full of new ideas that I think are unique amongst YA fiction. I can't wait to see what will happen in the next installments after the shocking revelations of this book. I definitely recommend this book, the only fault I could give is that some of the plot twists (although only one or two) were a little predictable but the final revelations more than make up for that! Get yourself a copy, you won't be disappointed.