A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Beth Revis’ debut book, Across the Universe was one of my favourite books of 2011, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting the sequel, A Million Suns.  Being the impatient reader that I am, I couldn’t wait 2 whole months for it to be released in New Zealand so I bought a signed copy from Beth’s local bookstore, Fireside Books and Gifts.  It was definitely worth the wait to find out what happened next on board Godspeed.

I’m not going to say much about the story as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.  At the end of Across the Universe we were left reeling from Elder’s shocking confession and A Million Suns gets straight back into the story.  If you already thought Godspeed was filled with mysteries and lies, then you better think again because everything in Across the Universe was only the tip of the iceberg.  Elder has to take up the leadership of his people and it’s not long before he discovers a terrible truth about the ship.  Amy also uncovers a mystery that Orion left behind for her, a mystery that will give them the answers they need.  If this wasn’t enough to deal with, some of the passengers on the ship start causing trouble and chaos erupts.

I enjoyed A Million Suns even more than Across the Universe.  Beth Revis builds on the world she created in the first book, amps up the action, and deepens the mystery even more.  I really liked the ways that Amy and Elder’s characters developed in this book.  Elder has to deal with the pressure of being the leader of the ship as well as coming to terms with his feelings for Amy, and Amy seems more gutsy.  Elder is determined not to turn into Orion or Eldest, but has to work out how to lead the ship on his terms.  In some ways this series reminds me of Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking Trilogy, particularly in the personalities of Elder and Amy and the development of their characters.  I keep wondering if this is what Viola’s life might have been like before she crashed on New Earth.

There’s plenty of action and mystery in A Million Suns to keep you reading furiously and find out how it ends.  I loved the end of this book and REALLY can’t wait to find out what happens in the final book, Shades of Earth, coming in January 2013.

Teen vs. society – rise of dystopian fiction

My first couple of reads for the year have been dystopian novels and this looks to be a growing trend in Young Adult fiction. Personally I love dystopian novels.  I love the imaginations of these authors who build a society that could easily exist in the not-too-distant future.  They take a small piece of today’s society, such as social networking or consumerism, and ask ‘what if this got totally out of control?’

CoverIn Rae Mariz’ debut novel The Unidentified, 15 year-old Katey (AKA Kid) goes to school in the Game, an alternative education system run by corporations.  These ‘Games’ have been set up in disused shopping malls, so where there used to be shops, there are different spaces that students can go to try new products and participate in activities to increase their ‘score.’

The students vie with each other to be noticed and sponsored (or ‘branded’) by the corporations, thereby giving them celebrity status and financial freedom.  Students each have iPad-like devices that they use to update their profile pages and live streams. When Kid witnesses a mock suicide staged by an anonymous group called the Unidentified, she begins to doubt the system. The story will strike a chord with teens and they’ll be able to really relate to Kid and the suffocating world she lives in.

If you’re a fan of  YA dystopian fiction there are plenty of titles to choose from.  Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy is the most obvious choice (and the most popular) but here are a few others I recommend:

  • The Maze Runner and the sequel, The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
  • The Ship Builder by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Matched by Ally Condie
  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe is the absolutely amazing debut  Young Adult novel by Beth Revis and I can already tell that it is going to be one of my favourite books of the year.

The story starts with Amy who, along with her parents, is being prepared to be cryogenically frozen for the next 300 years as they travel to a new planet.  Her parents and the other adults on the ship all have special skills that will help to colonise this new planet, while Amy is a nonessential, just there because of her parents.    There are also others on board the ship, Godspeed, who are not frozen but keeping the ship moving on it’s course.  Elder is one of these people.  He is the youngest person on the ship and the one chosen to lead the next generation.  When Amy is violently woken 50 years before they are due to arrive on the new planet, she creates tension in Elder’s carefully ordered society.  On a ship in the middle of space where everyone has the same skin and hair colour, similar features, and never questions the rules, Amy is not welcomed.Amy’s questions and Elder’s own discoveries lead them to uncover the lies that Eldest has been telling them all about the ship and their quest for Centauri-Earth.

Beth Revis leads you on a rollercoaster ride, with lots of unexpected twists and turns.  Across the Universe has something for just about every reader – a dystopian society, science fiction, mystery, murder, and a touch of romance.  It’s the first book in a new trilogy and I really can’t wait to read more.  Get your hands on one of the hottest YA novels of 2011!

You can also check out Beth’s website and read her very entertaining blog.

Across the Universe – hottest YA of 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis is going to be one of the hottest YA novels of 2011.  I absolutely loved it and will be posting my review as soon as the book is published in NZ on 4 January.  If you’re anticipating its release or want to know more about it, check out this fantastic book trailer:

It has something for everyone – a dystopian society, science fiction, mystery, murder and a touch of romance.

Check out Beth Revis’s website for more info.