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.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review and can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Squad 312 are just trying to get through the day. It feels like the whole universe is out to get them and, honestly, that’s not far from the truth. Stopped at a space dock trying to sell their Longbow because, lets be honest, it’s slightly inconspicuous they are frustrated, but un-surprised, to find their names and faces being shown as wanted for a terror attack. Just when they think things couldn’t get any worse the Unbroken show up, and not just any unbroken but Kal’s sister, and she is determined to bring him back into the fold. They manage to escape, thanks to a surprising benefactor, and head off to find the Hadfield, the ship that Auri was found on, hoping to find the black box (which is actually orange) and find some answers as to what actually happened to her. Only its Squad 312, so things don’t quite go according to plan. People are captured, beasts are slain, enemies become wary allies, strength is found in the unlikeliest of places and what started off as a battle for their lives ends as a battle for the world.
If you read my review for Aurora Rising you will know that I adored this book. So, understandably, I was wary when picking this one up. Would it live up to it’s predecessor or would it fall into second book syndrome. I should know by now that when it comes to the prowess of Kristoff and Kaufman I shouldn’t be worried. This book hit me in all the feels again and I flew through it in a matter of hours (whilst at work!)
This book is written in the same format as Aurora Rising with each chapter focusing on a different characters perspective. The characters personalities shine through and it was easy to know which perspective you were reading from, even without the chapter headers. We get a lot more from Zila and Fin’s perspectives in this book and, even though I loved them both in the first book, they have grown to become my two favourite characters. We get an insight into Zila’s past which does an awful lot to explain her aloofness, she grows so much as a character in this book and her chapters were equally heartwarming and heartbreaking. Fin is still his quirky self, still putting himself down and pushing past the pain so as not to seem a ‘lesser’ member of the squad. We see his relationship with the who squad grow in this book and his interactions are just the best.
Ty and Scar are still heartbroken over the loss of Cat and the bits where she was mentioned had me in tears ( I know I’m a wimp ok!) But both are determined to see the mission through, get Auri to the weapon and save the universe as we know it… no Pressure. Auri’s character growth is one of the most impressive in the book. She is far from the scared little girl in the previous book, and I enjoyed seeing her grow into and learn how to use her powers. Kal, my strong sweet Syldrathi. Kal gets the short end of the stick in this one. Stalked by his sister to rejoin the Unbroken, he feels safe and happy with his family in squad 312, only he has a secret, and not just a little one, that will change his fate and how everyone thinks of him.
We get the usual Space romp. big battles and witty banter that we expect from these two but entwined with all that we also see the impact of war. How it effects the members of squad 312, we get to see them not only deal with the loss of one of their own, but also get insights into how the Battle of Orion amongst other things changed them as people, made them who they are today and honestly these bits hit me right in the feels. It was wondrously done, nothing too in your face, but just enough to give you a little more insight into the characters, into their behaviours and decision making.
The layout of the book makes for an easy read, you never get bored stuck with once character for too long, and you still get the little titbits of information from Magellan before each chapter. Because of their writing styles it is easy to fly through the pages and I had read around 60% without even realising. There is one mahoosive plot twist in this that I just did not see coming at all, and then wondered how the hell I didn’t guess it earlier. Kaufman and Kristoff definitely like to torment their readers, and I am such a sucker for punishment.
Both these writers have a knack for bringing their worlds to life and this series is no different. Have I ever been to space? Physically no, but I feel like i’m there, right alongside squad 312 every time they enter the fold, engage in a battle or ,you know, are just generally running for their lives. This is such an invaluable things to readers like me who enjoy visualising what is happening and bond with the characters, and I defy you not to bond with every single one of them. Even the gorgeous… sorry evil Syldrathi Saedii. The ending of this book had me wanting to throw it out the window, and if I hadn’t been reading on my phone I might just have done it. You thought the ending to Aurora Rising was bad? Boy do you have no idea what you are in for. The last chapter was brilliantly written, even if I do think they only did it to torture us and I literally could not put it down.
From universe building, to meeting new species. Epic space battles to epic banter, this book has it all. I love this series so much and Squad 312 will always hold a special place in my heart. Now the torturous wait until May 2021!