Book Review: Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Publishing Info: May 2020 by Rock the Boat

Pages: 497

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

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.

Aurora Burning is the second book in the Aurora Cycle series. Aurora Rising is one of the best books I have read this year, so I had high expectations for its sequel. While I did love Aurora Burning, it didn’t quite hit the same high note as Aurora Rising for me.  

We’re thrown right into the action with a superb opening which really reminded me why I loved Aurora Rising so much. The first third or so of the book is action-packed and full of the humorous exchanges that make this series such a fun read. Unfortunately, the pacing slowed and started to drag a little in the middle and the beginning of the second half. I just wasn’t as gripped and didn’t feel such a connection with the story. There is a bit more of a serious tone in the second half, which makes sense since the stakes are really high for the characters, but that meant it lacked the fun spark that the first half of the book and Aurora Rising had. Having said that, I still didn’t want to put it down. There are some seriously big reveals and twists in this book that I didn’t see coming!

I absolutely loved being back with these characters and seeing how their journey continued. The squad is one of the best parts of this series. But, and I can’t say too much without major spoilers, there were some odd decisions in the second half, where the characters seemed to almost overreact to a massive revelation, considering how much they’ve been through together. Something about it just felt… off. The squad is also split apart a lot in the second half which is necessary for the plot but since what I loved so much about the first book was seeing the squad together, this is also perhaps part of what contributed to me not connecting with this part of the book as much.

We also have a new character introduced – Kal’s sister Saedii. I actually ended up really enjoying her character and thought she was a great addition to the series. She’s a pretty intense and fearsome warrior but we get to know her more as the book goes on and she adds a different perspective to the conflict with the Unbroken. I think the chapters with her and Tyler were some of my favourites actually.

The climax of the book is simply epic and Aurora Burning ends on the biggest cliffhanger you can imagine. Now I have to wait months to find out what will happen next! I have a lot of questions. Aurora Burning seems to have given me more new questions than answers and I really have no idea how the final book is going to wrap things up. There isn’t yet a title or release date for the third book in the series. Whenever it’s coming out, it really can’t come soon enough for me! I am desperate to know what’s going to happen next, but I will also be really sad when this series is over.

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