Aurora Burning

by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff

“‘If you fail, others will come after you. This task cannot go unfinished…Fear is an appropriate response. Your training will be arduous, your testing dangerous. If you fail, it will cost you your life.’

‘Um,’ I say, ‘My life?’

‘This responsibility is yours. Like us, you must sacrifice all.'”

Ratings & Reviews

Book Grade: B

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book (Aurora Rising) – the writing was clever and quick and original. I loved how this book recapped the story (and reminded me of the cast of characters) so that I could jump right in and pick up where the story left off. The story begins in a fast-paced action scene with Ty and Scarlett – I would expect nothing less – and has lots of twists and turns throughout, but it is not quite what I had hoped for after such an intensely compelling first book.

Aurora Burning dives into the stories of the different characters a bit more, and I so appreciated learning what makes Zila tick. Each character gets a bit more of a spotlight showing who they are as individuals, but the action drives the team together, making them a bit more cohesive. Also, each character hides a bit of a secret (or finds out something rather unexpected about them or their past) which makes for a suspenseful ride through the story.

Unlike the first book which easily blended action, plot, and unique characters in a fast-paced story, this sequel has lulls and tempered moments. There is an abundance of psychological commentary – especially when Aurora goes into training – and it can be a bit hard to stay engaged. While there are lots of twists and turns, and the story remains clever, this is entirely different than the first book in the series. It still remains compelling and quick, but it seemed to drag out in a way that the first part of the story did not, and the unexpected humor that added a bit of much-needed levity seems absent in this book. Oh, and the ending is incredibly abrupt. I thought that I might be missing part of the book, especially since most book vendors list this as “Book 2 of 2 in the Aurora Cycle,” but it appears that we will wait on the edges of our seat a bit longer for the third chapter of the story.

Movie Rating: PG-13

Aurora Burning is a lot saucier than the first book in the series was – and that is saying something given how many crude jokes were in the book. There are many scenes laden with innuendo and saucy jokes and there are open discussions about sex, orientation, and attraction. While this book is technically a YA novel, it is definitely more suitable for older teens. There is a fair amount of swearing and there are multiple discussions about religion which younger readers might find challenging. The flirtation that made the first book in the series somewhat charming is kicked up a notch and becomes overt and seems to take some of the charm away from the story. Overall, it is not wholly inappropriate, but the content of the story makes this a bit more suitable for your older readers.

Would I Buy This for My Library: Maybe

I still have such mixed feelings about this book. The first one was compelling and original and I was drawn into the story. In this second book, I had to be reminded what the mission was because there were so many distracting elements. The relationships between characters come to the forefront – for better or worse – and it ends up becoming more relationally dramatic instead of compelling because of the science fiction plot. This might throw off some readers who expected a second book much like the first. The language and sauciness of the scenes makes this one that would be difficult to recommend to the just anyone, and the complexity of the plot makes this suitable for the die-hard sci-fi fan, but a tough sell for other readers. This will not be one to fly off your shelves, but it might be the perfect fit for the right kid.

Summary:

In the sequel to Aurora Rising, Aurora and Squad 312 from the Aurora Academy must fight to save the universe and get keep Aurora safe. After waking up 200 years in the future, Aurora is still adjusting to her present, but holds the fate of the entire galaxy in her hands. She is the only one who can prevent a bizarre life-consuming plant creature from taking over the galaxy by collaborating with a centuries-old force that she barely understands. Along the way, she might need to stop an evil ruler from destroying the sun and balance the world she left behind 200 years ago with the uncertain future that awaits her – absolutely no pressure, Aurora.

In the second installment of the series, the team is down one member and being hunted by Terrans who are trying to frame them and nab Aurora. In order to escape and solve the mystery of the stowaway, the team get involved in a bank heist, is attacked by Kal’s vicious sister, and steals a spaceship, with only a few mishaps along the way. Will the team be able to outwit all of their enemies with some help from an unexpected source, or will Aurora fail to harness her powers and find herself unable to save the universe after all?

Book Talk Questions:

  1. What announcement from the Terran military makes it nearly impossible for the squad to make a clean getaway at the beginning of the book? Why does the team feel betrayed?
  2. What gifts are the team members given? How do they come into play throughout the book?
  3. Describe Saedii. How is she connected to the other characters and what is her goal?
  4. What is Kal’s secret? What happens when the others find out?
  5. What does Esh demand from Auri? Why does she refuse to give it up? When does she change her mind?
  6. What does Finian realize about Scarlett’s necklace? What is your prediction about its importance?
  7. Who visits (and helps) Tyler when he is trying to escape from the Terran ship? What does he do to them? Why?

A Perfect Read for Fans Of…

  • Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • Nyxia by Scott Reintgen
  • The Final Six by Alexandra Monir
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