Aurora Burning *BREATHED FIRE* Into the Series!

aurora burningHoly Cake! That was incredible! After the *astronomical* success of Aurora Rising, I had a feeling I would enjoy the heck out of the sequel… but I had no idea what a truly wild ride it would be. This launched the series into a whole other dimension of awesome!

A blast from the opening, we were given a quick recap from friendly robot Magellan and then we have lift off. Thrown right back into the action from the off! This time around, listening to the audiobook, I found the pace and tone even more intense.

Because what a plot that was! Tumbling, turning, freewheeling through space! This gives “space opera” a terrific new timbre. I loved that it was a more fantastical kind of sci fi- it’s the kind that really appeals to me! More than that, these two authors really know how to take traditional tropes and give them a fun twist.

Speaking of twists, this had more than a few hidden in its folds. While I guessed one, it was such an excellent plot point that the anticipation of its reveal made it all the more exciting. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop… and when it did it changed everything. So much so that I didn’t see all the other shocks coming. Just as I thought I was in safe territory, everything exploded. Dramageddon hit in ways I couldn’t believe!

Suffice to say, it was an ending to die for… And yet, for all that, it’s a surprisingly human story. Full of budding romances and deep relationships. Journeying through trauma and grief in a heartfelt way. Watching the characters grow in beautiful ways.

… And I cannot wait to see where they all end up! I LOVE the direction they took with this sequel- it certainly builds on everything that came before. By far one of the most fun reads of the year!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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So, have you tried the Aurora Cycle? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Aurora Rising was an *ASTRONOMICAL SUCCESS*

*Received from netgalley in exchange for review- but any into-the-stratosphere gushing and (bad) space puns is all me*

aurora risingWOW. THIS. BOOK. Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman are back with another space adventure and I am blown away by its sheer awesomeness. I don’t even know where to begin with this review to be honest. I thought I took tons of notes for this, but truth be told I had so much trouble putting the book down that all I really came up with was “oohs” and ahhs” (and the occasional “oh damnnnn”)… so I guess I’ll be doing most of this review on the fly 😉

Starting off with a hold-your-breath situation, this quickly escalates with heart-stopping intensity, until you’re taken through *every emotion under the sun*. See why I couldn’t stop reading? What’s incredible about this book is that it gets better and better, launching into clever storylines and introducing creepilicious villains. There’s edge-of-your-seat peril at all turns; there’s explosive twists and clever revelations.

I had such a blast with this book- not least because the concepts are amazing. At times it feels like sci fi, at times it has a fantasy feel and always it delivered on a sense of foreboding mystery. There’s an ever-present sense that the heroes have dug up a universe worth of problems- and that makes for some serious entertainment. Think how the authors created a sense of stakes and drama in Illuminae… then times it by a billion. I swear, this author duo got the formula exactly right for those books and then, dare I say it, took it lightyears beyond that.

Especially because the world building is so. darn. cool. Set in the future, with more aliens and more tech, you really get a more advanced civilisation feel. Aurora Rising certainly transported me *out of this world*. I also really appreciated how each element- including the dialogue- was designed to give a sense of the universe. The way each of the characters talk gives a sense of different peoples.

This is largely thanks to it being ridiculously well written. I mean, on the one hand it has beauty in the hypnotic stargazing way and then on the other it’s hilariously witty and intelligently plotted. Like the Illuminae Files, this has a lot of inserts and multiple voices- except that in this case it’s a lot less fragmentary and easier to get into. Not only did I like how the tidbits between chapters built on the story and world, I also *loved* how differing writing styles were used to characterise all the povs. From Kal’s more flowery voice to Cat’s sharp humour to Auri’s charm, the entire cast shines and you really get the chance to know everyone. Achieving this shows off both author’s skills and I was rooting for all my heroes by the end!

I could easily wax lyrical about the characters as well. Some were down to earth relatable, while other’s made me starry eyed. I particularly loved Auri- I mean she curses in baked goods- how cute is that?! I also really liked Kal and Magallen- but yeah, Auri is where it was at for me. And if that wasn’t enough, the romance also put me into orbit! Even in space, they can hear me squealing! (yes, I know, I defy the laws of physics!)

Sorry for the gush… except I’m not really sorry at all 😉 It’s pretty much impossible not to be enthusiastic about a book like this. Kristoff and Kaufman took their winning style and stepped up their game. As I suspected before going in, if you already love the way these authors work together, then you’re pretty much guaranteed to have an amazing time with this. And if you haven’t checked them out yet- what are you waiting for?

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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We have lift off! Until next time…

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So have you read this? Or the author’s previous books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

Obsidio was OUT OF THIS WORLD!

obsidioI don’t get that many new books- but I simply *had to* have this one. I mean, you guys know how much I adored Illuminae and Gemina (although I know a fair number of you are new here- in which case welcome! And just to get you up to date at the speed of light: hi, I’m the Orangutan Librarian and I *love* these books!). I mean what’s not to love about a space adventure told in a “found files” kind of way?

I will admit that every time I start one of these books, I do have some trouble getting into the format. Don’t get me wrong- I think it’s phenomenally unique and different- only that sort of thing is always a double edged sword for me, because it takes a while to get used to. That said, each book has been inventive in its own way and I always end up completely immersed in the experience.

More importantly, as a conclusion this was devastatingly emotional. Unlike the first two, there wasn’t the entire universe on the line, but in a way that made it more poignant. Instead of floating around in the vast hypothetical territory of the previous books, this was more grounded and focused on individuals. While it was action packed and explosive like its predecessors, what gave me goosebumps was feeling closer to the people whose lives were on the line.

All the characters felt so real to me- I was on-the-edge-of-my-seat terrified of what might happen to them. The cast was expanded here, which meant we had less time to spend with some of the favourites we’d met in the last two books. But never fear- everyone still got space to breathe and the finale they deserved! Plus, I found the new characters added to the plot in a significant way and were a sympathetic link to the drama going down.

And boy was there drama! The *evil corporation* was upto no good and there was mischief a-foot closer to home as well. Speaking of which, spoilers for the first two books, who knew a murderous AI could be so hysterical?

Overall, this was an entertaining and gripping series- and the only reason it’s not getting a full feast of bananas is cos I’m nitpicky about how long it took to get into it and one grammatical question mark.

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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So have you read this series? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Gemina was a real Gem!

geminaOh gosh I love these books so much!

It took much less time to get into this one- even though the opening was technically less dramatic, it had a much faster pace. The drawings were a nice addition here and I found myself falling in love with the characters so much more quickly.

The characters had such huge personalities that they leapt off the page. I absolutely adored Nik straightaway and his backstory made him even more sympathetic. Cerberus was a pretty decent villain- though I can’t say it compared to AIDAN (my baby!). Speaking of which, his return with his wonderful “oh captain my captain” lines, was very welcome!

I loved the concept for this one. Although I’m beginning to sense not new in terms of sci fi books, I didn’t care, because it’s all new to me and it’s done so well. Like the previous book, I really enjoyed the philosophising- especially the message to make sure you don’t become a monster to beat a monster- it was nicely expressed.

The plot was surreal, but oh so clever. The ending literally made me go “fuck yeah!” This is the kind of book you *need* to read at 2 in the morning when everyone has gone to bed. Cos this is the B-O-M-B and it will make your mind explode with excitement!! I did have one *spoilery* issue in that the conclusion to the whole parallel universe thing was a little obvious- especially since the whole “my bf/gf has died” plot point was recycled from the first book and just multiplied by two- so I had to give a slight deduction for that.

But overall, it was bloody marvellous. The only truly awful thing about this book is having to wait so long for the next one!!! WHY???

Rating 4½/5 bananas

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So have you read this series yet? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments below!

Illuminae Lit Me Up!

illuminaeHellooo! I’m sure I’m not the only one catching up on my December reviews now- and this one is a real gem!

Normally, I don’t go in for unconventionally told stories and I only just got into sci fi- so really this book had everything stacked against it. But do you know what? I *loved* this book! Even though I found the formatting hard to follow at first and it took me a while to get into, it ended up being one of the most exciting books I read in 2016! I am so glad I persevered with it because it was so much fun to read- it was jam packed with drama- I simply could not put it down!

On top of that, it dealt with some big “life questions”- about what it means to be human- all without being wanky! (Now that’s what I call a success!) What was great about this book was how complex it ended up being- in the end everything slotted into place and the issues I had at the start like “why is there an Orwell quote?” and “what’s with the title?” were all answered- and very satisfactorily too. Because this book is more than just another space romp- it’s about the power of the individual to speak truth to power- which practically had me fist pumping *rock on!*

Plus, if that hasn’t got you sold, this book is also full of some stonkingly good characters- I cannot tell you how much I adored them (albeit not straight away- sadly because of the formatting) From the point when AIDAN was given a voice, this book became an emotional rollercoaster. I hated the villain, I loved the villain, I JUST DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MY FEELINGS!! There were points where the reader is led to believe a character is dead- but for me this didn’t have the right punch because too many obvious breadcrumbs made it obvious this wasn’t the case. Even so- I felt so invested in this book by the end.

So after docking half a banana for the somewhat slow start, I can happily award this book:

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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Ah this book made me glad I gave sci fi a chance last year- what genre have you recently picked up and what book was your gateway drug to a new (or old) beloved genre? Let me know in the comments!