What do you think?
Rate this book
473 pages, Hardcover
First published May 6, 2019
#1 Aurora Rising ★★★★★
#2 Aurora Burning ???
#3 untitled ???
They’re all dead. Hundreds. Thousands. Every single person on this ship is dead, except her.
Thing is, impossible always comes with a price.
Once we walked the dark between the stars, unequaled. What have we become?
I was born with the taste of blood in my mouth. I was born with my hands in fists. I was born for war.
“Who am I to deny gravity? When you shine brighter than any constellation in the sky?”
“Tomorrow is worth a million yesterdays.”
But my whole life, I’ve been on the outside looking in. A problem. A burden. An aberration. Just like her. And it’s taught me to be sure of one thing.
Us outsiders gotta stick together.
Squad 312. This pack of losers and discipline cases and sociopaths, these misfits nobody in the whole Aurora Academy wanted to get paired with.
Nothing is impossible.
But something is very, very wrong.
“I think I'd like to be unconscious again, please.”
“I cannot help but feel a grudging respect also. He thinks swiftly, this Tyler Jones. He does not rattle, and he does not hesitate. With everything on the line, he still sees clearly, and he does what it takes to win. He is a born leader.”
Blue for the leadership corps.
White for Cat and her fellow Aces.
Green for the Brains in the Science Division.
Purple for the Gearheads.
Red for the Tanks.
And lucky me, a bright, sunny yellow for the diplomatic corps to match my bright, sunny disposition.
I was born with the taste of blood in my mouth.
I was born with my hands in fists.
I was born for war.
“Finian de Karran de Seel. Just Fin if you wanna be lazy about it. Gearhead. You break it, I’ll put it back together. Can’t promise a hundred percent success rate on anything but my dashing wit, though.”
Zila Madran is Terran. She’s even shorter than Cat, with dark brown skin and long, tight black curls. The green stripe of the Science Division across her shoulders does nothing for her complexion, but if cute could be weaponized, she’d be a pretty good candidate. There’s something about her stare, though. Like there’s no one home behind those dark eyes of hers.
But hey, at least she’s not carrying a disruptor pistol today….
“Call me Zero.”
“As in zero chance of success?” Finian asks, all innocence.
“As in most cadets miss twelve to fifteen percent of targets on their pilot stream exam,” Tyler says.
“Guess how many I missed, Skinnyboy,” Cat smiles.
“A warrior might be all you were raised to be, Kal," I say. "But it's not all you are.”
”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 on the sky?”
“Shut up, Finian.”
“…Okay, are you hitting on me? It feels like you might be hitting on me.”
“I’ll be hitting on your face in a minute, you fu—”
“You’re an asshole, Finian,” Scarlett sighs.
“Yeah,” he replies. “But I’m your asshole.”
He makes a face. “Wait, no, that didn’t come out right. Ew. Sorry. Terran as a second language and all…”
“But I do know you and I swore an oath when we joined the Legion. To help the helpless. To defend the defenseless. And even though the ―”There are fun if slightly juvenile details that help make the story more memorable for readers, like the color coding for the various specialties at Aurora Academy, the decorative and informative sidebars that bolster the worldbuilding, and the sarcastic voice of Auri’s “uniglass” (a handheld computer device):
“Um, sir?” Finian de Seel says. “We might have a problem.”
“You mean aside from you interrupting my speech?” Tyler Jones asks. “Because I’d been practicing it in my head for an hour and it was gonna be great.”
“I’m top-of-the-line, new-gen uniglass technology, available nowhere outside the academy,” it shoots back. “I’m seventeen times smarter than him. And three times better-looking.”Tyler’s crew is divided equally between men and women and includes some sexual diversity (one of the crew is bisexual) as well as racial diversity … not to mention a couple of aliens. The constant shift in point of view with each chapter can get a little dizzying; all seven of the crew members (including stowaway Auri) have multiple chapters from their POVs. Some of the characters are more memorable than others, but a few weeks after reading this I still clearly remember most of the crew members, a tribute to Kaufman and Kristoff’s success in creating distinct characters.
I can't even find a quote that doesn't make me cringe. DNF 40%
Ke’tma indayōna be’trai. It means…You do not walk alone when you walk your true path.
“It stinks like my fourth grandmother’s underwear drawer in here,” Fin says.
“You know what your grandmother’s underwear drawer smells like?” I ask.
“My family were very cosmopolitan.”
“I do not think that word means what you think it means,” Zila murmurs.
“Um,” Auri whispers. “Sorry, but is someone touching my butt?”
“… Would you like someone to be touching your butt?” Fin asks.
Kal clears his throat. “If you wish it, I—”
“Shut up!” I (Tyler) hiss.
If you gotta fall, fall fighting.