A million stars. This book finds us right where the first one left us. Somewhere between Sol-Earth and Centauri-Earth, suspended in time and space. There is no more Phydus to control the people around the ship and they are quite out of control.

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I like to think that, anyway. I roll my thumb over the biometric scanner and the door zips open, taking with it the image of a face that has never felt like mine. A very mechanical smell—a mixture of metal and grease and burning—wraps around me as I enter the Engine Room.

The first-level Shippers stand at attention, waiting for me. The Engine Room is usually crowded, bustling with activity as the Shippers try to figure out what has crippled the lead-cooled fast reactor engine, but today I asked for a private meeting with the top ten Shippers, the highest-ranking officers beneath me. I feel scruffy compared to them.

But already lines crease at her eyes, and the downward turn of her mouth seems permanent. Amy says that everyone on board Godspeed looks the same. People started calling me Eldest as soon as I assumed the role. Still, I was born for this position.

I am this position. I just. The other first-level Shippers stare at me, waiting. They are all still, with their backs erect and their blank faces turned to me. There is nothing of me in their stoic obedience. I clear my throat. If I look into their faces—their older, more experienced faces—I will lose my nerve. I think of Amy. When I first saw Amy, all I could see was her bright red hair swirled like ink frozen in water, her pale skin almost as translucent as the ice she was frozen in.

But when I imagine her face now, I see the determined set of her jaw, the way she seems taller when angry. I take a deep breath and stride across the floor toward Marae. She meets my gaze head-on, her back very straight, her mouth very tight. Marae pushes herself up against the control panel. Her voice is flat, but I catch a wary tone under her words. The first law of motion.

Isaac Newton. I bite back a bitter smile. That seems to be what I always do: break the perfect order Eldest worked so hard to make. It seems frexing obvious, this stuff he wrote about, but. Why had it never occurred to me before? To Eldest? How was it that while Eldest taught me the basics of all the sciences, somehow Newton and the laws of motion never came up? Did he just not know about them, or did he want to keep that information from me too?

Until now. Until I stand in front of the Shippers with the limping engine churning behind my back. I shut my eyes a moment, and in the blackness behind my eyelids, I see my best friend, Harley. I see the hollow emptiness of space as the hatch door opened and his body flew out.

I see the hint of a smile on his lips. Just before he died. There was no force that could stop Harley from going out that hatch door three months ago. The Shippers stare at me, waiting. That we were hundreds of years behind schedule. That we had to fix the engine or risk never reaching Centauri-Earth. We just need enough to get to top speed, and then we could shut off the engine. They knew all along. Of course the first-level Shippers know of Newton and physics and inertia.

Of course they do. And what a frexing fool I am for thinking differently. My embarrassment feeds my anger. With the fuel? I never really thought past telling them that the laws of physics go against the explanations Eldest gave me. I keep my eyes squeezed shut, ignoring the cold and focusing instead on the black behind my eyelids.

And the music playing. With my hand flat. My eyelids flutter open. There are no more cars. No more endless highways. Just this. Two melting cryo chambers on a spaceship that grows smaller every day.

Or, rather, ice. I should shove my parents back into their cryo chambers before they melt any further. I fiddle with the cross necklace around my neck, one of the few things I have left from Earth. This—sitting on the floor of the cryo level and staring up at my frozen parents and remembering one more thing I miss—is the closest I can come to prayer now.


A Million Suns

Kazrara The main thing about these books I like: I had to remind myself that she was only 16 or 17 years old, and she was put in a world where no one knew or trusted her. Beth is awesome and her books are too. Knife of Never Letting Go, The. These days Elder is trying the middle path, but there are too many bumps in his the road, and he is young and he has no one to give him advices, and everywhere he turns his head he sees people trying to hide things from him or to revolt against his will. The planet is habitable but inhospitable. A pleasant science fiction novel.

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A Million Suns

This was more engaging than the first in the series When I read Across the Universe, I had some problems with it, but they were easily overlooked. Similar to the first book, the plot was interesting, and the twists were pretty cool. What bothered me was It was just added to give the story a plot, but the whole time I was thinking "this is so stupid". The idea of the inhabitants of Godspeed getting restless and rebellions threatened should have been the main storyline.

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