4 star, YA

Review: Aurora’s End by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Series: The Aurora Cycle #3

The squad you love is out of time. Prepare for the thrilling finale in the epic, best-selling Aurora Cycle series about a band of unlikely heroes who just might be the galaxy’s last hope for survival.

Is this the end?

What happens when you ask a bunch of losers, discipline cases, and misfits to save the galaxy from an ancient evil? The ancient evil wins, of course.
Wait. . . . Not. So. Fast.
When we last saw Squad 312, they were working together seamlessly (aka, freaking out) as an intergalactic battle raged and an ancient superweapon threatened to obliterate Earth. Everything went horribly wrong, naturally.
But as it turns out, not all endings are endings, and the team has one last chance to rewrite theirs. Maybe two. It’s complicated.
Cue Zila, Fin, and Scarlett (and MAGELLAN!): making friends, making enemies, and making history? Sure, no problem.
Cue Tyler, Kal, and Auri: uniting with two of the galaxy’s most hated villains? Um, okay. That, too.
Actually saving the galaxy, though?
Now that will take a miracle. 

Endings are meant to go out with a boom and I do believe Aurora’s End did that, albeit a quieter one than I expected.

I’m not usually much of a sci-fi reader but I’ve come to realize any sci-fi with Amie Kaufman’s name tagged to it works well for my tastes. The world she and Jay Kristoff created here was expansive with the different sentient species coming together, and the whole legacy of the Aurora Legion. I loved that there was still room for world building growth even here in book 3, which is the kind of great storytelling that exists in expansive worlds such as Star Wars. It’s like the world doesn’t revolve around the characters, but the characters revolve around this world that still holds mysteries that we are only getting a taste of.

That aside, the greatest highlight in this book – which of course, grew upon the course of the whole series – is the found family aspect. I’ve come to know this Aurora Academy squad so well, each and every one of them. Their voices are distinct and their varying personal journeys take us everywhere. If that is a trope you enjoy, I definitely see you liking this.

The downside of getting to know so many characters equally is that there are multiple POVs that are separate from one another when they’re all split apart, like in this book. From the completely awful cliffhanger ending we got in book 2, the group is divided and facing their own problems against the Big Bad. This doesn’t change for the most part of the story, and the pacing falls because of it. Sometimes I was tempted to skip the next two POVs so I can get back to the POV I just left. Usually at some critical moment that I just need to know what happens next. So it definitely got choppy in places, but it wasn’t so bad that it was hard to follow.

I’m also happy to report that all the romantic ships I had rooted for didn’t disappoint. I loved the genuine progression each of the relationships took, although one particular pairing took me by huge surprise. That’s probably the most controversial one. But the romance felt like it took up the right amount of space so that it didn’t take away from the major action arcs – an apparent problem I’ve been seeing in other books (we shall not name names but it’s a super popular series).

Honestly, though, the only letdown was the “epic” battle I was hoping for with the Big Bad. It was…something. I’m not sure epic would be the right word for it. But the build up to the climax was well done and all these little pieces finally fell into place and made sense so I can’t fully complain about it.

If science fiction and stories held in space isn’t normally your thing, I can understand that. But if you’re ever curious, I would recommend this fun, emotional and snarky series filled with amazing characters that feel like you’re a part of their misfit family. This imaginative world welcomed me back in every time I picked up the latest book, and I’m a little sad to not be waiting for the next one.

Overall Recommendation:

Aurora’s End kicked right off from the cliffhanger left over from its predecessor and our favourite galactic squad are separated and facing their own problems against a stirring evil. I love the emotional intensity in every character’s arc as they face the biggest stakes in history. Not only do I continue to see each character develop, along with their budding romances with one another, I feel the familial bonds between them and that’s a hallmark of good writing. Found family is important in this one, and this misfit crew proved they can pull off the greatest adventures and tug my heartstrings at the same time. This is a science fiction series that I feel even non-science fiction readers can fall for. With excellent world building potential even at this stage, honestly I wish I could see more from the authors in this world. The ending may not have been “epic”, but it was still memorable in different ways.


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