Breathtaking, pulse pounding, and mind altering, Aurora Burning will sear itself on to the souls of Kaufman and Kristoff fans.
Rating: 4 Stars
This review original appeared on TheNerdDaily.com. Thank you to the publisher for providing me a copy of this ARC for review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are completely my own and not influenced in any way.
Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2)
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf BYR
Release Date: May 5th, 2020
Synopsis: Our heroes are back… kind of. From the bestselling co-authors of the Illuminae Files comes the second book in the epic series about a squad of misfits, losers, and discipline cases who just might be the galaxy’s best hope for survival.
First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.
Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.
And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.
Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.
When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.
Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.
Breathtaking, pulse pounding, and mind altering, Aurora Burning will sear itself on to the souls of Kaufman and Kristoff fans. From the opening moments to the very last word, we are dragged through the universe with the snarky Squad 312 and to say it was one heck of a ride would be an understatement.
After the tragic events on Octavia III, Squad 312 are on the run and down one member. Branded as traitors in the eyes of the galaxy, Tyler Jones and his crew of misfits must evade the Global Intelligence Agency and Syldrathi Unbroken while uncovering the growing mysteries of the Ra’haam and Eshvaren. Should be easy for a grieving pretty boy, a snarky mechanic, a calculating science officer, an ex-stowaway with growing powers, a brooding fighter, and a sassy smooth talker…right?
If there is one thing Kaufman and Kristoff are good at, it’s snark in space. And as is their way, they balance out that snark with heart wrenching tragedies and shocking moments of revelation. In that way, Aurora Burning is classic Kaufman and Kristoff.
But here’s the rub, the classic “I’m going to make you laugh and then snap your neck with shock and surprise” starts to run thin in Aurora Burning. There are so many twists in this plot I’m not sure how the authors kept up with themselves. And while I enjoy a good series of jaw dropping moments, the pay off for many of Aurora Burning’s moments ring hollow because of one stunningly abrupt cliffhanger.
So let’s talk, in a non-spoiler way, about that ending. I can see this ending being very divisive in the YA book community. Honestly, I’m still having arguments with myself about whether I liked the ending or not. A cliffhanger by definition is supposed to leave the reader in suspense, but Kaufman and Kristoff did not have to hit that hard. However, having the book stop at such an intense moment leaves the novel feeling incomplete. There is no doubt a lot of readers will be putting Aurora Burning in the corner so it can think about what it did.
Where Aurora Burning shined was in its characters. Kaufman and Kristoff have a great friendship and from that they have created some amazing squads in their stories. Squad 312 face a lot of hardship and action throughout the story, but there are always quiet moments of growth and joy. And while the romance subplot will grate on some nerves (why couldn’t we leave mating bonds out of space adventures?), it is still well written. What really stands out is the way the squad deals with a loss of one of their own. The death is not forgotten and the grief lingers through the story, as grief does in real life. This adds a depth to what could have otherwise been a fluffy sci fi story.
Though Aurora Burning is a bit longer than the previous installment, the pacing really found its groove. Readers will find themselves consumed with crackling tension, stunning space battles, and audacious revelations. I find myself wondering if maybe the author’s ended the novel in the way they did because they were simply tired from writing and creating all the chaos that came beforehand. Regardless, there is no denying that Aurora Burning is a fast paced, tightly wound story that will keep you reading long into the night.
No one is more surprised than me that Aurora Burning wasn’t a five star read. And while Aurora Burning is a stellar read for the most part, it is not without its faults. With the ending leaving the novel feeling incomplete and the twists and turns stacking up in a precarious manner, the story feels a bit messy when you step back and catch your breath. That said, no matter the mess, and to steal a phrase from Zila, Aurora Burning will leave you not feeling nothing.