Tag Archives: science fiction

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.

remote control nnedi okorafor

Book Review: Remote Control, by Nnedi Okorafor

I borrowed and audio copy of Nnedi Okorafora‘s Remote Control from the local library.
remote control nnedi okorafor

“She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own.”

The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa­­—a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past.

Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks—alone, except for her fox companion—searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers.

But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?

my review

I quite enjoyed this piece of Africanfuturism*. It has a near-future, Ghanian setting that is alive and real to the reader. The writing is sharp and visceral and the narrator brought it to life well. The main character, Fatima/Sankofa is marvelous to spend time with as she becomes a living myth. All in all, I seem to have no real complaints. It’s a short little thing, so I guess it gets a short, little review

*I have been using the wrong term and was corrected. I’ve learned something today, Afrofuturism vs Africanfuturism and I apologize to Dr. Okorafora for having gotten it wrong. She’s apparently spoken widely about this distinction.

network effect fugitive telemetry

Book Review: Network Effect & Fugitive Telemetry

I pre-ordered a hardback copy of Network Effect and received an e-copy of Fugitive Telemetry through Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:

Murderbot returns in its highly-anticipated, first, full-length standalone novel.

You know that feeling when you’re at work, and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you’re a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you’re Murderbot.

Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable A.I. you’ll read this century.

Review:

OMG, full length Murderbot book; cue incoherent and excited babbling. Except, I do this weird thing when I’m really excited to read a book. I buy it and then I sit on it. Not literally, I just mean I don’t immediately read it. I don’t know why. But I do it often enough to recognize a pattern and I did it with Network Effect. So, I’ve had the book and the anticipation for a while now. But I read it yesterday. So good.

I did think the beginning a bit rough. Murderbot has a tendency to sarcastically name thing and make internal commentary. The result was several passages I had to read more than once to grasp the meaning. At one point, for example, Murderbot entered a room with what I thought was 2 people (and Amena). I had to go back and read it again and again because I couldn’t figure out how some were dying and still running away. Turns out it was 4 people; I’d just misunderstood Murderbot’s naming structure.

It did smooth out and I loved seeing Murderbot grow. I think there is more emotional growth in this book than all the others combined. And please give me more of ART and Three. I’m so curious about Three! I, as always, look forward to continuing the series.


fugitive telemetryDescription from Goodreads:

No, I didn’t kill the dead human. If I had, I wouldn’t dump the body in the station mall.

When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people—who knew?)

Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!

Again!

Review:

After stepping away from Preservation Station in Network Effect, we’re back during Fugitive Telemetry. It was a little jarring, because it didn’t feel like it fit the timeline, like maybe FT should have come before NE. But either way I enjoyed it after those first few disconcerting “when am I” moments.

As always, Murderbot is wonderfully sarcastic. Here we see it working with people who aren’t (or aren’t yet) it’s people. It’s a struggle sometimes. As was Murderbot trying and do it’s job while ham-stringed by not being able to hack the computer systems. It was forced to interact with outside individuals more. All of it was a lot of fun.

The writing is readable and editing clean, as it has been with all the books so far. I can’t wait for more.