Aurora Burning

may contain mild spoilers for Aurora Rising
Aurora Burning
Aurora Rising Book Two
Written by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Science Fiction, Adventure, Australian
512 Pages
Published April 2020
Thank you to Allen & Unwin Australia
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★★★★
Our heroes are back. Kind of.

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 favourite 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.
The Ra’haam blooms are slumbering on their desolate planets, an ancient hivemind race threatening to consume the galaxy. The lost colony of Octavia III has been devoured by the Ra’haam, the adrift Hatfield vessel destined for the Octavia settlement before succumbing to the Fold. Aurora Jie Lin O'Malley has long since awakened and rescued by a gallant Tyler Jones, the unlikely company of a diplomat, scientist, warrior, engineer, navigator and Tyler are now felonious fugitives escaping the Global Intelligence Agency.

Delightfully creepy, wonderfully imaginative and superbly entertaining, Aurora Burning is an unpredictable adventure of sarcasm and wonderfully diverse characters. Aurora Burning introduces readers to the Syldrathi Unbroken, a warrior civilisation involved in an ages old conflict with human civilisation, their planet decimated, those who survived are now displaced. Kaliis found solace within the Aurora Academy, his squad of unlikely friends and the memory of his mother, a woman who instilled humility, compassion and peace within her children, their father a warmonger in contrast. Aurora Burning introduces audiences to the fierce Saedii, Kaliis' sister and Unbroken soldier that is entirely deserving of her own series.

With a substantial bounty offered for their capture and accusations of terrorism, the group of unlikely friends must evade the Global Intelligence Agency, the relentless Unbroken and Syldrathi forces. 

In Aurora Burning, the secondary characters are sensational and provide a reprieve from the intensity of the consuming romance. Zila possesses a quiet intensity, incredibly intelligent and possibly identifies as neurodiverse. Finian has impaired mobility and wears a specially designed suit to lessen the impact of gravity on his skeletal, nerve and muscle systems. He's quite possibly pansexual, appreciating the beauty of those around him regardless of gender. Finian is open about his sexuality, he's flirtatious and flamboyant and uses sarcasm as a coping mechanism. A stark contrast to Zila, who confides in Scarlett that she identifies as lesbian. It's a moment of inspiration and triumph, that Zila and Scarlett's friendship had blossomed and Zila felt comfortable confiding in her friend. It was an immense moment with little fanfare and endeared me to Zila's character. 

The intense romance between Aurora and Kaliis threatened to overwhelm the overall narrative, Aurora's newfound empowerment needed be at the expense of Kaliis' character. A romance where Aurora was content to allow Kaliis to become her protector, she begun losing her own identity in the process. In a narrative where characters are driven foremost by their relationship, it's inevitable that characters will feel isolated within their worlds and become dependant on one another. 

That ending.

THAT. ENDING.

Although the romance is entirely melodramatic, Kaliis being sacrificed to further Aurora's evolution is merciless. Heavens, it's unforgiving. Aurora is confronted with an impossible situation, the reality of her relationship and although the Aurora Burning narrative divided readers, I enjoyed the glimpses of ruthlessness, the often reckless decisions and the regret. It added a level of humanity to the storyline.  

Aurora Burning is a whirlwind adventure of beautifully illustrated worlds and diverse, vibrant characters. Immensely entertaining!

14 comments

  1. Oh yay, so glad that this was a good follow up! I bought it a few weeks ago and REALLY want to get to it soon! I shall be prepared for the dramatic romance, thanks for that! 😂 I loved the secondary characters in book one too, so I am thrilled that they are awesome in this one as well! Wonderful review! (Also scared/excited for this ending hah!)

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    1. It's absolutely brutal Shannon. Brutal! I know there's been so much discussion about this one but I really enjoyed it despite the romance. Can't wait to see what you think of it!

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  2. Ooh Kaufman and Kristoff. Haven't read anything of theirs since the Illuminae stuff but these sound good too! Love the sound of the sarcasm and strong, diverse characters.

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    1. If you enjoyed the Illuminae series, you'll really enjoy this one as well. It has a slightly more comical feel throughout the narration, lots of sarcasm and light hearted moments as well which I really appreciated.

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  3. I still need to read this one, so I am glad to see you enjoyed it. This duo always jam packs their book casts with incredible characters, so I am not surprised to see you mention the secondary characters.

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    1. They were my favourite aspect in this one and I'm so glad they were further developed. Especially Zila!

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  4. I just skimmed because I still need to read this one, but I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the series. I thought the first book was great and I especially loved the characters.

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    1. Weren't they just magnificent! I loved Zila in this one but Aurora left a lot to be desired. Really looking forward to seeing what you think Suzanne!

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  5. So glad this was a great second offering to the series!

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    1. I often struggle with second books falling to the dreaded middle book syndrome and there's been quite a lot of discussion about this one. I really enjoyed it though but the cliffhanger is absolutely brutal!

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  6. I had a copy of the arc from BEA (the first book) and it was too much for me lol But then I hear how its all playing out and it does sound wonderful.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I can see why so many readers compare the series to Illuminae and also These Broken Stars, they all have very similar elements and storylines. The format seems to really work for them but I'd love to see them branch out into something a little different after the series as well.

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  7. I haven't started this series because I should really finish the Illuminae files series first, but I do have my eye on it for afterwards. It sounds like this second book was a solid and good one for you and that the ending was amazing! But I can see how the romance would be a bit much.

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    1. I haven't finished the Illuminae series either actually. I loved book one and my husband listened to book two on audio and just haven't felt compelled to continue. The romance is a little overwhelming, it's uncomfortable and intense especially given the character ages. Still a great read nonetheless.

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