About a year ago, I gushed about the latest Amie Kaufman/Jay Kristoff collaboration, Aurora Rising. In reading that review, I realize I did not do it justice. Unfortunately, with the way its sequel, Aurora Burning, ends, I don’t think this review is going to be much better because I really do think Ms. Kaufman and Mr. Kristoff are out to kill their readers through their emotional roller coaster of a novel.
The Kaufman/Kristoff partnership continues to push out novels that stand head and shoulders above their peers, of which Aurora Burning is just another example. Their world-building is beyond excellent, but it is their characters that truly make their stories shine. The eclectic Squad 318 should not work given the myriad of voices and personalities of which it consists. Yet, the characters and their individualities bring the greatest joy because Ms. Kaufamn and Mr. Kristoff make them so very real. Not only that, but there are no flaws in their voices. Their personalities and voices are so unique, you could remove all references to names and still know from whose point of view you are now viewing the story.
Adding to that magic are the emotions Ms. Kaufman and Mr. Kristoff make you feel. When you read a lot, you can become emotionally numb to stories. Good ones will make you feel something. Truly excellent novels will make you feel even more. And then there are stories like Aurora Burning, which had me crying, laughing out loud, screaming in frustration, nauseous with worry, and stunned with shock. The ending alone had me feeling ten different emotions at the same time. Ms. Kaufman and Mr. Kristoff have that mystical ability to convey the human experience as thoroughly as if the events are happening to you, making all of their novels something you absolutely must read.
Aurora Burning is most definitely a sequel, referencing previous events and building upon them. Similarly, it is the second book in a trilogy. The ending is one of the cruelest, most stunning, and emotionally wrought cliffhangers I have ever read. In spite of that, I cannot recommend this series highly enough. It may be science fiction with a story that occurs in space, but don’t let that deter you. At its heart, it is a story about a group of misfits who find out what it means to be a family, a story that transcends its setting. Plus, there is plenty of action and romance to keep your interest. So, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to an Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff collaboration. You will not regret it!