Tag Archives: sci-fi

aurora cycle

Book Review: Aurora Rising & Aurora Burning, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

I borrowed an audio copy of Ami Kaufman and Jay Kristoff‘s Aurora Rising from the library. When they didn’t have an audio copy of Aurora Burning, I borrowed an ecopy.

Description from Goodreads:

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.

my review

These days, I go into Young Adult books hoping for the best and expecting to be disappointed. But Aurora Rising not only didn’t disappoint me, it was an all-out pleasant surprise. I had a lot of fun with it. I laughed frequently, liked the characters and diversity, and was invested in the plot.

Yeah, I thought there was some predictability and a few cliches. But I also liked the unexpected nature of some of them. The heroine doesn’t fall for who you’d expect, for example. All in all, I liked the book and raced out for book two. (OK, ‘raced out’ means I went online to digitally borrow the next book. But you know what I mean.)

As to the audio, I thought the narrators did a great job. I only had one irritant. As much as I liked all the character voices, I couldn’t figure out how three people who grew up in the same place (knew each other from Kindergarden) would end up with drastically different accents. Or rather one of them would sound completely different from the other two. Even if your parents are from different places, you’d still sound like where you’re from…all of you.

aurora burning

Description from Goodreads:

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.

And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.

Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.

my review

As is so often the case with second books, especially when they’re also middle books, I didn’t like this as much as the first. That isn’t to say I didn’t still enjoy it, but not quite as gleefully. I missed having the crew together and all the banter that went with it. And I thought the predictability in the plotting stronger here too. I still like the characters though. I’m still interested in seeing how it all plays out, and look forward to book three. Unfortunately, it’s not out yet. Which I didn’t realize when I picked the series up. If I had, I might have waited a few more months to start it. Oh well, now I have to wait. But I will, because I do want to read it.


Book Review: Awakening, by Ono Northey

I picked up The Shard Chronicles, by Ono Northey, when they were free on Amazon last year. I chose to read the first book, Awakening, as part of my Awakening Challenge. I am reading eight books titled Awakening.
awakening, by ono northey

What would you do if the country you loved covered up the reasons behind your battlefield injuries and accused you of treason and madness?

What if you thought they might be right?

Find out why readers are calling The Shard Chronicles “The Matrix meets the Bourne Identity.”

my review

Oh, I have some serious mixed feelings on this one. On the plus side, I liked Steve’s sarcasm and wit. I may have thought it unrealistic how sanguine he was about the loss of his feet, but a lot of his commentary is funny (especially in the beginning). The flip side of this is that his sarcasm is often cutting and he’s plainly a judgemental asshole on more than one occasion.

Back to the plus side, the book starts out with a bang. We meet wheelchair-bound, Korean-American Steve and he proves himself to be a serious bad-ass. That’s part one of a four part book. On the negative side we have the rest of the book, but especially part two (which is the majority of the book.) While part one is action-packed and exciting (even if the flashbacks do go on a little too long), part two is dedicated to talk therapy and learning to be zen, and it was a snooze fest. Part three and four (both much shorter than two) do pick the action back up at the very end.

Plus column: I completely appreciated Steve’s internal commentary on the military and most things militaristic. He’s a little too good at everything, but he also has some interesting experiences. Negative: Men Writing Women. You’ve seen the memes, right? “She breasted boobily down the stairs” and such. This book has it in spades. Amber seems to serve no purpose but to give Steve someone to ogle and lust over and her character development is exactly as deep as a great ass and doesn’t walk sexily. Seriously, that the flaw that’s supposed to give her some depthdespite looking like a supermodel she doesn’t have a sexy walk.

In fact, women as a whole don’t come off well in the book. There’s the mother that left Steve as a baby, the incompetent therapist (the male one is marvelous in every way), the psychotic mystery villain, the Cheerleader Barbies that talk like faux valley girls (in other words imbeciles), even the random waitress Steve encounters is an abused, ex crack addict. And poor amber may be beautiful, but she’s called stupid and naive several times, enough that even when Steve calls her cute it comes off as condescending to her intelligence. I’m not calling misogyny or anything, it’s more that the collective impression one gets is that America’s culturally ingrained sexism has slithered into Northey’s writing, whether purposeful or not.

All in all, I’m undecided if I’ll continue the series. If the rest of the books read like the beginning and end of this book I’d enjoy it. If they read like the middle (most) of this book, I’d be too bored to bother.

Live By The Team

Book Review: Live By The Team, by Cindy Skaggs

Live By The Team

I picked up a copy of Cindy SkaggsLive By the Team as an Amazon freebie.

about the book

SSgt. Ryder was born, bred, and enhanced as a warrior, but when he returns home to his new wife–exiled from the Army along with the rest of his disgraced team–he faces mounting anger and paranoia. Something shady followed Ryder back from the desert, and he disappears to protect his wife, but his departure leaves a vacuum filled with intrigue.

Lauren Ryder married thinking she had finally found stability, until her new husband disappeared. In six months, she’s lost everything that mattered, and now a madman has her in his sights. Ryder’s return lands her in deeper danger from a formidable enemy. As the threats escalate, so does the heat, but even if Ryder can save Lauren from the forces mounting against them, will they survive what he has become?

Military trained, medically enhanced, designed to kill. The Team Fear novels are fast paced, with twists and turns and a side of steamy. The surviving members of Team Fear are out of the military and in a world of secrets, lies, and cover-ups in this new romantic suspense series by Cindy Skaggs.

my review

I liked this OK, wouldn’t say I loved it, but I liked it. I liked that Lauren had volition of her own and wasn’t ready and willing to hand over responsibility of her protection to another. I liked that Ryder was so clearly in love and willing to show it. I liked that the two were already married, so the romance was a little different that the normal meeting and falling in love sort. I thought Rose and Debi were fun side characters.

However, the ‘love’ was too focused on sex (it got redundant), too much of the plot hinged on Ryder’s unwillingness to simply say what needed to be said, the super-soldier aspect was all hand-wavy, and I was actually quite bothered that ~80% of the book was dodging one established threat, but that it suddenly evaporated and the last part of the book was dealing with an entirely different, unrelated threat. I suppose it was a plot twist, but it felt more like a plot shift to me.

All in all, I liked Skagg’s writing. I’d read another of their books. But this was a so-so read for me.