Title: Aurora Burning
Author: Amit Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
Genre(s): Young Adult, Science Fiction
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[SPOILERS FOR AURORA RISING]
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 Rising – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Friends, I feel like I need to start this review with my most authentic response to the book: WHAT WAS THAT ENDING?!
Okay, now let’s get into the actual, semi-structured review. I will preface, there will be a spoiler corner in this review as there are some aspects of the second half of the book I need to talk about to accurately depict my feelings. I will have that section clearly labeled and everything before it will be spoiler-free. That being said since this is a direct sequel, I will be talking about events from Aurora Rising, especially since some have a direct role in this story.
Okay, let’s actually do it.
So, this book jumps right into the action, like on the first pages there is a battle going on. I really like that it starts off this strong and grips the reader right away. The pacing of this book was actually really strong overall. I know a lot of second books in trilogies have massive struggles with plot and pacing since they need to be interesting and further the plot without wrapping up too much before the epic finale. Jay and Amie have a gift with writing second books in series and this one is no expectation.
There were so many shocking and jaw-dropping moments that have upped the stakes so much while adding an extra layer to the story overall. I will go into some of the details a bit more in the spoiler corner, but this book managed to surprise me so many times.
This book has also given me so many theories as to how the series overall will end, and I’m so excited to see how Jay and Amie choose to end this series. There are so many players, conspiracies, and mysteries within these first two books and I can’t wait to see how all these plot points come together.
Since we already knew the major players in this book, we were able to spend more time watching them interact and learning some backstories, which was great. The strongest part of this book was Squad 312. I’ve come to love and care about these characters so much and I hope that my babies are okay.
As for the plot of this one, I liked how that even though now much actually happened, it didn’t feel like nothing happened. We learn a bit more about the plan to defeat the Ra’haam and what obstacles still stand in their way. We also get a mysterious package that gave each other the squad members unique items. I’m so excited to see how these items play a role in the next book. I have some thoughts about how they got stashed, but I’ll save that for the spoiler corner.
I also really liked the introduction of Saedii. I thought her story was super interesting, along with her connection to the squad. I’m really excited to see how her character is used and expanded in book 3.
“We have failed, but I hope they will see how hard we tried.”
Okay, so my biggest complaint with this book needs to be in this section. We got hints throughout this story that Kal wasn’t entirely honest about his family. We then get the big reveal that Archeron Casersan, the star destroyer himself, is Kal’s dad. Personally, I loved that reveal. I love the stakes that it added and the intriguing family dynamics, especially after learning more about his upbringing. What I hated was how everyone reacted to this. Having them cut Kal out of the squad and call him a liar was a bit much. Like, he’s shown himself to be trying to reinvent himself and already ostracized by his birth-clan, like why would anyone think that being honest about his dad would help? I would be more understanding of their reaction is he was actually a double agent this whole time, feeding information to Casersan. But no, that’s not what happened, and the fact that he ended up getting injured and possibly killed because of the squad really angered me.
I really hope that he makes it through to the next book and everyone agrees they were total idiots and take him back, but we’ll have to wait [undermined] years to find out.
I also wonder how the rest of the gifts we got will end up playing a role in the third book. We found out the note that was hidden in Kal’s case could’ve referred to Kal being honest with Auri/the squad about his heritage, but it also could be for Fin to admit to liking Scar.
Scar’s necklace has a mini version of the weapon and will probably be used at the start of the third book to get them out of the compromising position they’re currently in.
Currently, it’s unclear what the significance of Fin’s pen, Zita’s earrings, and Tyler’s shoes are (though I think they hid something in the heel that he used in this book but I could be misremembering that).
Now, how are did all of these items get stashed, 8 years before the start of this book? I think that to defeat Ra’haam, there’s going to be some sort of time travel component (whether it’s them actually going back in time or a package just being sent in like a wormhole or something is obviously unclear, but it is something they’ve done before). I think in book 3, we’re going to see the squad leaves clues for themselves that will play a role in the final battle. This explains how Fin is going to find a note written in his handwriting. He’s going to use the pen that he was given, write the note, and Kal will receive it. This entire part reminded me a lot fo season 2 of The Librarians and I wonder if this resolution is what I’m picturing just because that’s how Librarians did it or is that actually what they’re hinting towards.
The other big reveal with got in this book is that Casersan was revealed to be a vessel as well. I wonder if he’s actually on to something about the Eshvaren not being totally good. When they were telling Auri to “burn it all” I was starting to wonder if they were actually good or not (not gonna lie, I was getting some serious Well of Ascension vibes) and I can’t wait to see how this is resolved.
“I am not feeling nothing.”
I really enjoyed this story. I wasn’t expecting such a high action, shocking story, that left me so speechless by the end. The last 50 or so pages just had me on the edge of my seat and I am even more excited to see how this series is going to conclude. I highly recommend picking this one up if you liked the first one in any capacity as this book built on every aspect so much. Now, please excuse me as I refresh Goodreads every 5 minutes waiting for a release date and cover.