18 January 2012

A Million Suns by Beth Revis

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.

Poor Beth Revis. She fixed one physics problem by creating another one. In Across the Universe many science fiction fans were annoyed that Elder discovers that the ship has no engines therefore it is not moving (physics says it would be moving through intertia). Revis tries to fix that in this book but only succeeds in creating another physics problem:


The solution to the problem in A Million Suns is to put the ship in orbit around a planet. It’s considered “not moving”, but orbit is a form of moving: moving constantly around the planet in a constant freefall (a not-moving ship would fall and crash into the planet in a fiery ball of goo) as well as moving through space around a star (or stars) in its yearly orbit in order to have seasons. If the ship really is stationary then is it just lucky that the planet happened to be close by in its yearly orbit so that Elder and the people on the ship could see it and it was not on the other side of the sun where they wouldn’t have seen anything. They also would be having a problem with having no engines to counter the gravitational pull of the planet. Then there’s also the trick of having the hatch where they expel bodies into space always face the stars so that no one who opens it knows the planet is there. The only real explanation is that the ship is in a synchronous rotation orbit, like our moon, where one side always faces the planet and the other side never faces it. That’s not the same as not moving, though.

*****End Spoilers*****

Just like Across the Universe, though, if you can forgive the physics flaw in the text then you are in for a treat of a book. Amy and Elder are further developed as Elder slips into an entropy of not being willing to lead the ship’s people and Amy tries to fight her depression of being stuck on the ship for the rest of her life without ever seeing her parents. The plot, centered around the inevitable chaos resulting from the populace’s loss of both phydus and effective leadership in one harsh blow. A saboteur and rabble rouser works to enflame the doubts and fears of the people of Godspeed, further driving them from peace. This tension in the plot makes this book seem to move a little faster than Across the Universe. I was pleasantly surprised at this because most middle books in a trilogy suffer from over-exposition and weak, slow plots that serve to drive towards the climax in the third book but don’t let the second stand on its own. I think that A Million Suns, though, could stand on its own if it was read without Across the Universe. Revis also didn’t lose her relaxed tone even through the most tense sections of the book, and the book retains just enough (but not too much) romance to develop Amy and Elder without turning the book into a romance set in space just like Space Opera at its best. A Million Suns is really worth reading and I encourage everyone to try it out.

1 comment:

  1. I finally got my copy of this and can't wait to read it! I skipped the spoiler parts, but the rest of your review has me really excited!!!