Aurora Burning

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is the second book in The Aurora Cycle.

The rejects from Aurora Academy are back and even though they are battered and worst for wear, they are more determined than every to save the galaxy. But saving the galaxy may prove difficult; with no direction, no help and honestly no clue what they are doing, squad 312 must persevere or all is lost.

This family of misfits will be tested at every turn. Will a gear head, a heart breaker, the golden boy, some muscle, the brains and a girl out of time be able to come together to stop an alien invasion from taking over the universe, all while preventing intergalactic war? We’re about to find out.

Regardless, of how horrible that recap was, I loved this book. Honestly, I love this series. It’s been so long since I’ve read a good science fiction novel and I just love what characters Squad 312 are. They each have their own over the top personality and problems and yet, they all mesh together really well.

One of the things I liked most about this one is that Aurora, Kal, Tyler, Scarlet, Zila and Finnian all have this bond now, they have become a family after the trials they went through in the first book. And because of this, the conflicts they encounter almost take on a deeper meaning. They mean more to each other and the risk of losing this family they have forged, colors their actions and decisions.

A lot happens in this book and there is a lot of build up for what is to come. I will say, do not start this one if you are not good with cliffhangers! You are better off waiting until the last book comes out honestly. You’ve been warned.

This one gets 4.5-5 stars from me. I sped through it and really enjoyed the ride.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Aurora Rising

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is a new science fiction teen series.

It is 2380 and the recruits of Aurora Academy are about to graduate and be assigned their first mission. Top of his class, Tyler Jones, is ready to draft his dream squad but his restlessness and stupidly ingrained heroism leaves him with all of the academy’s rejects.

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 this crew of misfits isn’t his biggest problem. His biggest problem is Aurora O’Malley, a 200 year old girl whose very existence could start an intergalactic war and it is up to Tyler and his team to keep her safe.

What could possibly go wrong?

I’m not a hundred percent sure how I came across this one, probably skimming Goodreads, but I am so glad I did. I haven’t picked up a serious science fiction read in such a long time and it was really refreshing. A review mentioned that Aurora Rising is a science fiction Six of Crows and I can totally see it!

I love this crew of sarcastic misfits. There’s just something about the banter and how these total opposites work together that is just a lot of fun. And of course, you can already see the sparks that are to come between the characters. It was also good to see that they aren’t always going to get out clean. Things are going to go wrong and they are going to have to work through it.

Finally, I really like where this story is going. It’s fast paced and you can tell it’s going to get interesting. Worlds are in danger, politics are afoot and it’s space–things are like ten times harder in space.

This one gets 5 stars from me. Now please don’t make me wait more than a year for the next one!

That’s all for now!

-M-

 

Only Human

Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel is the third and final book of The Themis Files.

We left off in the second book with Rose, Vincent, Eva and the General being transported in Themis to another planet. Now, more than nine years later, Rose, Vincent and Eva have returned and the planet they once called home has changed… and not for the better.

The world is on the brink of war and it’s people are being shoved into camps based on the amount of alien DNA in their system. The earth is one step away from genocide and one conflict away from nuclear war.

It is up to Rose, Vincent and Eva to pick up the pieces and find a solution to the chaos reining. But the years on another planet have wreaked havoc on the trio and their own personal conflicts may blind them from doing what is right.

Can a world forever altered by the truth of the statement, “we are not alone,” ever find a way to come to terms and move on?

I felt like each of these books ended in a satisfying way and yet this one did a great job of concluding the story as a whole. We get our intro and build up in book one, our big conflict and resolution in book two, and the repercussions and consequences in book three. I also liked that each book stayed true to the narrative structure being written in the form of logs, letters, recordings, etc.

After the first two books, this one did seem to lack a bit of action for me but a scene toward the end of the book picked up speed for me. I also didn’t really see the need for the “new” interviewer, Katherine. After our mystery interviewer’s death at the end of book two, we didn’t really need a new “person.” I think we could have gotten along just fine with the logs and recordings without Kathrine, whose character was only so-so for me.

Overall, I really liked this series and this book was a great conclusion to the trilogy as a whole. Gotta love a good sci-fi that feels authentic. This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Artemis

Artemis by Andy Weir is an adult science fiction novel that takes place on the moon.

Jazz Bashara doesn’t follow a straight path–she’s one for shortcuts and bending the rules. Life on the moon isn’t all it’s cracked up to be if you aren’t rich but for Jazz it’s still home and has been since she was six. So running a small smuggling operation to bring in some additional cash isn’t the worst thing she could do, right? Not when she’s barely surviving on her salary as a porter.

When Jazz is given the chance to make a ton of money on a single, all-but complicated and potentially life ruining job, she jumps at the chance to change her life forever. But planning the perfect job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when Jazz finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy and being hunted by the mob.

What has Jazz gotten herself into and how will she get out of it and save Artemis at the same time?

Artemis has Weir’s usual narrative flair. Jazz is a master of snarky sass without making everyone want to kick her ass. This is not an easy thing to achieve and Weir makes it look effortless. That being said, Artemis didn’t capture me like The Martian did.  The latter made me laugh but had a nice balance of plausible science and excitement. Whereas Artemis didn’t quite hit that balance for me. I liked the Ocean’s Eleven feel of the story but something was just missing for me.

The world building was well done. I really felt like a city on the moon was plausible and I could totally see it being a tourist trap or taken over by the wealthy. I don’t know why but I keep thinking Disney World but on the moon. I also enjoyed the glimpse into the politics we get.

Although, I like the narrative snark, did anyone else feel like Jazz was basically a female Mark Watney without the desert island and the countdown clock? I didn’t even realize Jazz was a girl until a few pages in. She could have been a bit more original.

This was an enjoyable read but didn’t feel entirely original to me. Not bad but not Weir’s best. This one gets 3 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

 

The Clockwork Dynasty

The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson would probably be considered science fiction or steampunk fiction. Told from two perspectives, past and present, this book tells the story of a hidden race of automate–human-like machines that live in secret among humans.

In the present, June Stefanov is a well known anthropologist specializing in historic machinery and artifacts. She is curious and this curiosity becomes dangerous when she uncovers an ancient mechanical doll with a secret. Now June is pulled into a secret world of machinery and mayhem and her only ally is a strange man who is anything but a man at all. Together they must uncover the past to save the future.

In the past, we land in Russia, 1725 where two mechanical beings, Peter and Elena, awaken to serve the Tsar. With no memory of their past lives and no knowledge of their creation, Peter and Elena struggle to blend in. When the pair accidentally runs into another of their own in a dangerous encounter, the two must flee into hiding.

Enter a world where secrets are hidden, even from their bearers and the world we know it’s exactly what it seems.

The Clockwork Dynasty was such an interesting read. The world building was really well done and quite unique. I really did love this world of ancient machinery and automation. The world of the automate is full of secrets and intrigue and yet there is still this element of mystery–even the automate don’t know who first created them, except to call them the first men. Normally, a loose end like this would really bother me but in this story it surprisingly didn’t.

One of the man problems/gripes, call it what you will, I had with this book was that the first half of more felt like a long beginning. Although, there was a lot of action, I didn’t really feel like we got into the narrative and where it was going until more than 150-200 pages in. It felt like I was reading one giant introduction and that I was waiting for the plot to thicken.

I also both liked and didn’t like this relationship between Peter and June. In one sense it was refreshing to read a book where there was literally no romantic entanglements and on the other, I would have liked them to show more of a bond, even if it was platonic.

Overall, I did like this book a lot. It didn’t wow me but it was unique and something I haven’t read before. I give this one a high 3.5 stars.

That’s all for now!

-M-