Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Page Count: 512
Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers
Original Publication Date: 2021
Genre(s): Young adult, Sci-fi
Last we saw Squad 312, things were looking…suboptimal. Kal and Auri were fighting the Starslayer to prevent him from firing the Weapon at Earth; Tyler was about to get blown to bits in an escape pod; and Zila, Scarlett, and Fin were floating through space directly in front of the Weapon’s firing path. Basically, things were not looking good. But our favorite heroes are given one last chance to save the galaxy from an ancient evil—and they do not intend to waste it. Don’t give up on them just yet.
HEY HELLO HI I AM ALL TOO UNWELL.
As you all hopefully know by now, I am obsessed with all things Jay Kristoff. I’ve been waiting a very long year for this book to come out and I was not prepared when it finally arrived on my doorstep. I was not ready to read about my favorite characters’ fates; I was not ready to leave these characters behind; and I was not ready to finish this story. But I couldn’t not read it – I was dying to know what happened. Especially after that absolute BITCH of a cliffhanger in Aurora Burning. (Still made at you guys for that, Jay and Amie.)
This will probably be a messy, short review. The synopsis for this book is vague for a reason: everything is a spoiler. And I don’t want to spoil anything for you guys because that would absolutely ruin the book, so bear with me.
Aurora’s End (what a rude title, btw) picks up immediately after book 2’s horrific ending. Obviously our favorite heroes did not die (yet) else we wouldn’t have a third book. The squad is divided at the end of book 2, so it shouldn’t be a shocker that they remain separated at book 3’s start. Which was really hard for me because I adore these characters’ interactions with each other. Found family is one of my favorite tropes in YA lit and it broke my heart to see their little family broken up. But the upside to that is there were three separate storylines going on, so I was never bored while reading. Seriously—SO MUCH HAPPENS. You are not ready.
This book is extremely suspenseful. I’m not sure if it’s genuinely suspenseful for everyone reading, or if I was just too anxious to finish the series but simultaneously not wanting to finish it… My heart was racing from cover to cover. Tears were shed, gasps were let loose, and my fingers were flying as I sent reaction messages to my friend Heather who was buddy reading this book with me. We read at about the same pace so we were experiencing the same moments together for the entire duration of this book – and it was amazing. To be able to share my absolutely ridiculous and dramatic reactions to this book with someone else also having those same reactions is one of the best feelings in this world for me. I’m 100% confident that buddy reading this with Heather made it 10x a better reading experience. We experienced so many emotions throughout this book – it is a lot to go through in just a day or two. (Especially after dealing with our emotions from Taylor Swift’s Red re-release…) So yeah, this book is suspenseful, fast-paced, full of action but also full of emotions. I am also happy to report there’s plenty of romance and cuteness thrown in between all the bad stuff happening to these characters.
This is a series finale, so I must mention the ending real quick. I am not going to tell you if it ends happily or sadly. I am not going to tell you which characters do not make it to the end. But I will tell you the ending felt right to me, if a little far-fetched… I absolutely had a different ending in mind, and I’m not sure if I liked the ending, per se, but I accept it. To quote Heather, the ending was “just far fetched enough for me to put my entire being behind it.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Obviously this review is a mess because I am a mess after reading it. I think both Heather and I are about to fall into a deep reading slump. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: I love Jay Kristoff’s books, especially the ones he co-writes with Amie. When I read Jay’s books, I’m not reading them critically. I’m not counting the plot holes or noticing pacing issues. I’m not looking for these things. I don’t even notice them, really. I read Jay’s books for pure, unadulterated enjoyment. I enjoy his characters and his writing so much that I cannot objectively review his books because I just love them too much. Reading his books are such an experience for me – and nothing compares. So take my review with a grain of salt because I am completely biased. I have so much fun reading these books that I will always give them 5 stars. I hope you understand – I hope you too have an author that makes you feel this way. (For me, it’s Jay Kristoff and also John Green.) Basically, if you love Jay’s books and have been enjoying The Aurora Cycle so far, you’re going to lose your mind reading this one. And you’re going to love it. I know I did.