Series: The Aurora Cycle #1
Published by Knopf (5.7.2019)
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 473 pages
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…
A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering
And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.
They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.
SQUAD GOALS!! I loved this band of misfits so much! I adored every single one of the characters, and they each had their own distinct personalities. Switching POVs doesn’t usually work for me, but it did in this book! You get to see seven different points of view, which sounds intimidating but it really works here. It gives you a feel for each of the characters and how their minds work! Snarky Finian, steadfast Kal, witty Scarlet, pragmatic Tyler, stoic Zila, tenacious Kat. And of course, our girl out of time, Auri. They all seemed so real in my mind, so distinctive. (I am DYING to make custom funkos of them all!)
This squad of rejects gave me some serious feels! I love that they’re all thrown together against their will, starting out with disdain (if not outright hatred) and distrust and slowly evolving into a real team. A family. The moments where they voiced that sense of family gave me ALL THE FEELS!
And looking around the bridge, I realize maybe, just maybe, I’ve found my clan in this squad. (Fin)
“The only places I fit are the places inside my head. […] But I believe of all the places I have not fit, I fit here a little better.” (Zila)
We’re maybe about to go through hell. But truth is, despite everything, there’s no one else in the ‘Way I’d want leading me. (Cat)
Even the dedication gave me all the feels:
If your squad was hard to find, or you’re still looking, then this one is for you.
Shoutout to Jay and Amie for not going the traditional route with the romance and putting the main dude and the main chick together. I love that you think she’s going to end up with Tyler and she ends up with Kal! And by the way, I freaking LOVED their relationship. It’s got a glorious slow burn despite the fact that Kal basically soulmate imprints on Auri (“The Pull,” a life bond between mates). He fights the Pull, and acts like a total douche to her (which sucks, but seeing from his perspective you realize he’s trying to protect her the whole time) so it’s not hatred but somewhere close for pretty much half of the book. But I loved the dynamic between them! It was SO BEAUTIFUL! (After he quit being a cold jackass, that is lol) I love Kal SO MUCH and I ship them so hard!!
“Do moons choose the planets they orbit? Do planets choose their stars? Who am I to deny gravity, Aurora? When you shine brighter than any constellation in the sky?”
BE STILL MY HEART.
Um, THAT ENDING?! I need to know what happens!!View Spoiler »It kills me that we don’t know what happened to Cat! How can she come back from being taken by the Ra’haam?! Also, AURI’S DAD IS PRINCEPS WAHHH. I don’t even know why I didn’t see that coming, because other members of the colony were popping up as infected GIA agents, but for whatever reason it didn’t even cross my mind, so when he took his mask off I was totally broadsided! I actually started sobbing. Loss of parents gets me so bad. It was even more emotional on the audio because Kim sold it! « Hide Spoiler
Side note: I feel like Magellan actually had legitimate advice to offer and probably could have helped immensely but nobody would listen lmao!
Holy AMAZEBALLS. It’s not *quiiiite* as epic as the Illuminae Files audiobooks, but it is seriously incredible nonetheless!! It brings back a lot of the same narrators from Illuminae, and honestly they were perfect. I listened to it as a re-read when the audio came out, and I enjoyed it even more the second time!
Kal (Steve West) – my personal favorite *swoons* Ugh he was SO PERFECT for Kal! Voice like honey (I believe “loin stirringly deep” was the term used to describe his voice as Jackson Merrick in Gemina haha), or melted chocolate, or some delicious sweet?! I found myself looking forward to Kal’s chapters!
Scarlett (Erin Spencer) – I just listened to the LIFEL1K3 audio, narrated by her, and LOVED it, so I was excited to see her come back!
Finian (Lincoln Hoppe) – It was suuuuper strange to hear Aidan’s voice with actual inflection, but he was absolutely perfect for Fin!
Cat (Candice Moll) – She was a new narrator to me, but honestly I could have listened to her allll day long because of her glorious Aussie accent!
Tyler (Johnathan McClain), Auri (Kim Mai Guest), & Zila (Donnabella Mortel) – I don’t have anything specific to say about these three but they were absolutely perfect!
All of the narrators brought exactly the right amount of emotion, and I thought they did a fantastic job. The only complaint I have – a teeny, tiny one – is that they each narrated their own whole chapter, so we heard a different voice for each of the seven characters from seven different perspectives. I wish that multiple POV, full cast audiobooks would just have the separate people narrating their separate parts, but I do get that it’s in their perspective so it makes sense for them to narrate the whole thing. BUT, even still, they all did a superb job coming pretty close to matching. All of them did an Aussie accent for Cat (except Steve, I think?), a certain voice for Fin (which mostly all sounded similar), and an accented voice for Kal, so it was pretty easy to tell who was talking anyway.
I also LOVED Magellan’s voice! I thought it was awesome that they did special voice effects for the faceless GIA operatives as well as the Ra’haam!
Writing style: 5/5
Overall rating: 5/5