Title: Aurora’s End (The Aurora Cycle 3)
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Published: November 2021
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Readership: Young Adult
I received a copy of Aurora’s End from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
The thrilling finale to the internationally bestselling Aurora Cycle series sees the return of Squad 312 in an explosive battle across time and space. By the award-winning authors of the Illuminae Files.
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 joining forces with two of the galaxy’s most hated villains? Um, okay, yeah. That too.
Actually saving the galaxy, though? Now that will take a miracle.
The squad you love may be out of time, but are they out of luck? Find out in the epic conclusion to the bestselling and award-winning Aurora Cycle series.
Aurora’s End is going to be a tough book for me to review because it’s the conclusion to a trilogy, and there are things that are huge spoilers that I dearly want to discuss but for obvious reasons, can’t. I also want to be clear that as an adult reading young adult, this book’s intended audience is not me, and that also plays a part, so for the sake of this review I’m going to frame my thoughts around the intended audience, rather than just myself. Years back I read The Illuminae Files by Amie and Jay and was blown away by how these two authors took a very cool, sci-fi premise and made it a reality, and some part of me will always be comparing The Aurora Cycle to their previous work, which is challenging because even tough both books belong to the same genre, they’re very different beasts.
Back when the premise of The Aurora Cycle was announced I was really eager to read it – I love a great space opera with a team of misfits – and book one delivered on that. Book two was also good, but included a plot line that I have some minor issues with which impacted on my enjoyment somewhat – but there were still plenty of characters who’s storylines I was invested in and so I knew I’d continue.
In Aurora’s End, the members of Squad 312 have been separated and as such have three separate (parallel) storylines running at the same time. Tyler’s on his own, Kal and Auri are trying to navigate a new space with a long-running enemy, but without question, my favourite storyline running through the book is Zila, Fin and Scarlett’s as they find themselves trapped somewhere and have to navigate their way back to their friends.
Throughout the entire series Zila and Fin have been he most intriguing characters to me. While the entire cast of characters are ‘misfits’ in terms of where they sit among their academy graduating class, Zila and Fin have always stood out to me because they represent the diversity within the group. Zila’s Black, queer and (potentially) neuro-diverse and Fin has a physical disability that requires him to wear supports to assist him with walking in gravity. The way they approach their situations and their world is very different to the other members of the group, and finally in this book we begin to spend a lot more time in their POV, which I loved. Also, Fin on the front cover? Most excellent!
Magellan, the artificial intelligence in this series, does make an appearance. I wish it had been a longer appearance, though. (I’m just a fan of snarky AIs.)
I did enjoy the three parallel storylines (and the reason why they don’t meet up until close to the end) – I think it was a great way to get to spend time different characters without detracting from others. At times, parts of the narrative dragged on a fraction too long. That said, when the action was going, it was pretty good – there was perhaps just a bit too much time inbetween those sequences.
I will say that I didn’t go back and re-read the first two books before starting this one, and there’s a decent recap at the beginning of the book to catch you up, so if – like me – the last time you read Aurora Burning was last year when it was released, you should be fine. I appreciated that this book didn’t try to do the typical YA thing of trying to make everything that hurt the characters throughout the series better – there was definitely the opportunity for that, but it wasn’t taken – which let the impact of some character decisions from previous books remain and I’m grateful for that.
Overall, I was satisfied with the ending of The Aurora Cycle, but if Amie and Jay ever want to write another book for Zila, Fin or Magellan, I’ll be back on board.