Aurora Burning is the 2nd book in the Aurora Cycle series. Check out the review on Aurora Rising (the first book in the series) here.
I loved the first book in the series, so I’m completely torn about my feelings on Aurora Burning! So did I love it or not? My feelings on Aurora Burning are completely conflicted, so I list out why below…
Things I Liked About Aurora Burning
1. SPACE OPERA.
A fullly realised world filled with different species, space ship battles, cool alien powers, hot space elves, battle cries, even Great Ultrasaurs and mysterious beings and portals – I LOVE the world built around Aurora Cycle. As a sci-fi nerd, how could I not?
2. Squad 312 as a found family
MY BABIES. I just adore this group of outcasts that have been brought together and the way they banter and look out for each other – how could I not? The characters are just pure fun to read about and their snarky banter (and flirtations between each other) is just enjoyable to read. I love every single one of these characters (except maybe Kal for reasons I’ll list out below) but yes.
3. Scarlet and Tyler’s twin bond
I adore both of them as characters – Scarlet the flirtatious, overconfident charmer and Tyler, the ever loyal strategy-minded leader. But the ONLY person who would ever poke fun at Tyler is Scarlet, and I love the little nudges that she makes towards her twin as she’s the older one by a few minutes. But come the end of the day, these two would do anything to protect each other, so there’s that.
4. Emotional intensity
I don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad thing, but my emotions were at an all time high while reading this one. The squad are put through so many obstacles here, from potentially losing one another, to dangerous agents going after them, to being shot by Syldrathin soldiers. Amie & Jay, why must you torture them?!
5. Saedii the murderess space elf
SPACE ELVES! I love space elves as much as the next person but what if I told you that Saeii is a murdering space elf who KNOWS that she’s got the looks and the skills to boot? Saedii is a massive tease but she’ll also kill the next person who tries to touch her (who may or may not be Ty) and it just felt so empowering to have her as an anti-hero.
Things I Disliked About Aurora Burning
6. It was exhausting to read
Now this is probably because of the stressful times due to COVID19 at the moment, but I just found that Aurora Burning was just kind of exhausting and stressful to read. There is just SO MUCH happening on every page and it’s always JUST SO INTENSE – whether it’s a space ship battle, the squad getting captured or running from someone, getting shot, fighting off sinister forces, tragic character back story, intense romance….that it just made me not want to pick it up all the time just to catch a breath. Some quieter moments would’ve been nice, you know?
7. The over the top romance
How do you explain an intense romance that happens right off the bat? Give that space alien some sort of reason to feel the intensity – I’m talking about The Pull that Kal feels for Auri, of course. It’s not just one-sided either – we go from “I think you’re cute and enjoy being squad mates with one another” to “You’re my Be’shmai and I would lay down my life for you”. I mean the amount of times that Kal says be’shmai just kind of grated, you know? A lot of the plot circles around their bond too, and I mean by the end…I just wasn’t really into it.
8. Predictable twists
One of the twists was so predictable, I was groaning when it was revealed – it definitely made me drop a star rating afterwards because it was just so lame. I don’t want to say too much because of spoilers but some of the things that happened definitely reminded me of Avengers Endgame. Also the way some of the characters reacted to it, it’s just like c’mon guys. At least question things yourself right?
9. It’s mainly about Kal
See I liked Kal enough in the first book to want to read more about him and his origins, especially being a warbreed race and all. But coupled with his over the top romance and just…him in general, I ended up being annoyed at him by the end of the book.
10. Massive cliffhanger
Aggggggghhhhh cliffhangers are so frustrating especially when there’s a bit of the wait between the next book. So if you hate cliffhangers, yeah this one has one.
With so many conflicted thoughts on Aurora Burning, where exactly do I stand on it? I enjoyed it overall – it’s always a pleasure delving into the space worlds built by Amie & Jay. However, the romance and some of the reveals just made me annoyed by the end of it. I can’t wait to see how it continues, though. And I need more Finian!
Rating: 3 out of 5
Trigger warnings: child abuse and abandonment
Thanks to Allen & Unwin Australia for sending me a review copy!
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