Revis, Beth. Across the Universe. 398 p. Razorbill. 2011. Hardcover $17.99. ISBN 9781595143976.
Revis, Beth. A Million Suns. 400 p. Razorbill. 2012. Hardcover $17.99. ISBN 9781595143983.
Across the Universe begins with an agonizing decision as seventeen-year-old Amy must choose whether to stay on Earth or be cryogenically frozen for 300 years alongside her parents, who are instrumental in a space mission to a new planet. She decides to go with her parents-- but is awoken 50 years too early. Somebody on the spaceship is unplugging the frozen people and leaving them for dead, and she has to solve the mystery before her parents fall victim to the murderer.
I'm honestly not much of a sci-fi reader, yet Across the Universe kept me turning the pages with its layered characters and riveting plot twists. The narrative is well paced, blending mystery and suspense with moments of human reflection, (justified!) angst, and even some romance as Amy forges a tentative relationship with the ship's future leader, Elder. The story is told through the dual narration of these two characters, and the constant shifting between their perspectives works to keep driving the plot forward.
I truly felt immersed in this book. Reading about characters cooped up on a spaceship made me crave the outdoors. I had to go out for a walk and get some fresh air, and had a new appreciation for the ability to breathe fresh air and see the sky! Revis creates and sustains a remarkably claustrophobic atmosphere with the spaceship setting, and the result is unforgettable.
A Million Suns does exactly what a sequel should do: it has more of what we experienced in the first volume, but ups the stakes, reveals more complications, and delves deeper into the characters and their relationships. It answers questions from Across the Universe while raising new ones, and leaves the reader eager for the final book in the trilogy. There were some truly awesome "OMG!" moments in this one. Just when you think it can't get any worse for these characters, Revis drops another bomb. I couldn't put it down!
I recommend these books to sci-fi fans and non-fans alike. This series has something to appeal to almost every reader. Don't miss it!
Across the Universe was published in last year, and A Million Suns comes out from Razorbill/Penguin tomorrow, January 10.