Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Thoughts at a glance: ***** (It was amazing!)

Summary: This is book 2 of the Aurora Cycle series. To read my review of book 1, please click here. This review will contain spoilers for the first book.

Tyler Jones and his misfit squad 312 from the Aurora Legion are on the run--from the law, from an ancient evil collective threatening to take over the universe, and now... from a psychopathic-but-also-strangely-attractive Syldrathi girl. They are mourning the loss of their good friend and squad member, and they are puzzling over a mysterious set of clues and objects that have been left for them. All the while, Aurora struggles to control her powers as they search for the weapon to help them save the universe. 

Thoughts: I've been in a reading slump for a little while, so if there's any book that I figured could pull me out of it, it was definitely this one! This is the highly-anticipated sequel to Aurora Rising, and I was so excited that I bought the ebook, the audiobook, and a hardcover copy (because it comes with a signed bookplate!), and I also attended a Zoom event with Amie and Jay last night!:

So, you know... I was excited.

I decided actually to experience the book for the first time solely through audiobook. They had a full cast of narrators, and you KNOW I can't resist that, because it adds so much my experience of the characters, so I've spent the past few days listening to it while knitting, and it was every bit as awesome as I thought it would be. I'm definitely going to go back and reread the text, just to see if I missed any nuances, but overall, it was compelling, exciting, and heartbreaking.

Saedii is the bloodthirsty Syldrathi female hunting them down, and I'm not going to spoil anything about her story, but I'm going to say that the descriptions of her totally reminded me of Demanda Riot, who was my FAVORITE skater from Bay Area Derby Girls back in the day:

So, you know, I'm already disposed to liking her, despite her being absolutely vicious. 

There is a LOT that happens in this book, and every moment of it is exciting--the action barely ever lets up, and when it does, it's punctuated by moments of endearing silliness or heartbreaking sadness. Book 2 in a trilogy is usually when things start to REALLY fall apart, before getting put back together in Book 3 (and yes, there will be a Book 3!), so it was really hard to see everything happening to our favorite squad. I have a teensy bit of faith that most happiness will eventually be restored, though I don't know how we could possibly have EVERYONE back together and happy after losing Cat in the first book. 

Some non-spoilery things I really enjoyed about this book: learning more about Zila, seeing Kal lose his s*** as he navigates his new feelings of lurrrrve, and reading some scenes that reminded me of other movies/shows. Regarding Zila: In my review of the first book, I compared this squad to the crew of characters from the tv show Leverage, and I stated that Zila was the most similar to Parker. Therefore, I completely fist-pumped when this book actually included a scene of her crawling through air vents, because that's like, Parker's specialty. (It was just perfect, I don't know =P) And there is a scene involving a very large animal-like creature that reminded me of Luke Skywalker defeating the rancor in Return of the Jedi (I had no idea that thing was called a rancor, by the way--I had to google that), so that was super exciting as well. And there are some Star Trek references as well, that you definitely will catch if you're at all a fan.

All in all, I loved it. This is a short review, but only because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone! If you don't mind snark, shirtlessness, and a whole lot of action, you should definitely pick up this book (or start with book 1!) and then brace yourself for the long wait for book 3.