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Aurora's End by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Aurora’s End picks up after that mother of all cliffhangers with which Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff left us at the end of book two of The Aurora Cycle. You would think this means relief or, at the very least, a few answers. In true Kaufman/Kristoff fashion, however, the story takes off into three widely varying directions that play with your understanding of time and space with twists that bend the mind and mess with your expectations. Resolutions eventually abound but not without a lot of suspense, heartbreak, and outstanding action.

As one of the three books I most anticipated releasing this year, Aurora’s End in no way disappoints. Through the end, the authors remain true to the squad’s characters as they first presented them in book one, while making room for the growth each squad member needs to achieve for their mission to succeed. This character growth occurs organically, never forced or untrue to the characters.

I am sad to leave Squad 312 because each of them is so damn fabulous. Picking one character to be your favorite is like picking a favorite child or the best chocolate in a chocolate factory. Thankfully, their arcs as well the main story arc end in such a satisfying manner that I closed the book knowing that Ms. Kaufman and Mr. Kristoff provided gratifying endings for all and sufficiently justified endings for those who might have run afoul of their pen.

The finale is every bit as exciting and heartbreaking as I expected it to be. At the same time, the lessons learned by Aurora and the rest of the squad, as well as the final lesson Aurora learns about the enemy, are perfection. As we discovered in the first two books, some of those lessons are not easy ones to learn. However, Aurora’s End ends with notes of poignancy, hope, and love, emotions I was not expecting given everything the squad overcomes. Yet, I can think of no better ending to such an emotional roller coaster of a series. Now, we wait to see what Ms. Kaufman and Mr. Kristoff decide to co-write next.

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