Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Aurora Cycle
2 Nov. 2021
Paperback / softback
What happens when you ask a bunch of losers, discipline cases and misfits to save the galaxy from an ancient evil? The ancient evil wins, of course. Wait … Not. So. Fast. When we last saw Squad 312, they were working together seamlessly (aka freaking out) as an intergalactic battle raged and an ancient superweapon threatened to obliterate Earth. Everything went horribly wrong, naturally. But as it turns out, not all endings are endings, and the team has one last chance to rewrite theirs. Maybe two. It’s complicated. Cue Zila, Fin and Scarlett (AND MAGELLAN!) making friends, making enemies and making history? Sure, no problem. Cue Tyler, Kal and Auri joining forces with two of the galaxy’s most hated villains? Actually saving the galaxy, though? Now that will take a miracle.
InformationBook Type: Senior High
Age Group: 15 years +
Traffic Lights: Amber
Class Novel: No
Good Reads Rating: 5/5
Literary Rating: 5/5
At the end of Book 2, Aurora had just fired a weapon at the Ra’haam, a single-minded organism that wanted to assimilate the entire universe. Squad 312 was scattered in the blast.
Finian, Scarlett and Zila were sent back in time, caught in a time loop outside an ancient Terran space station attempting to harvest energy from a dark matter storm. They must reunite three pieces of a crystal—One of which Scarlett carries around her neck—in order to escape the loop. They are, reluctantly at first, assisted by Lieutenant Kim—as Finian is a Betraskan and, in this time, Terrans and Betraskans are at war she hesitates to trust them. But as the loops continue, she begins to bond with their Brain, Zila.
They discover their ship’s computer, Magellan, was programmed to prompt a certain set of events to occur, meaning that someone in this time wanted to ensure these events came to pass. That same person left gifts for all of Squad 312, including the crystal Scarlett wears. Zila eventually realises tshe must sacrifice herself and stay behind.
Aurora and Kal are sent 30 years forward with Kal’s father Caerson in tow. In the future the Ra’haam are slowly taking over the universe. Aurora must use her trigger abilities and Caerson’s help to repair the damaged weapon and stop the Ra’haam once and for all. In tapping into her limitless potential, she encapsulates eternity and travels them back to their original time.
Tyler is left with Saedii, Kal’s sister, in the original time. There he attempts to stop the conflicts the Ra’haam has invented to cover its slow expansion and warn people of the danger. Squad 312 are united again on the final battlefront. Auri has the power to destroy the Ra’haam but she stops time and spends endless moments with her new family, at last realising that destroying the Ra’haam will only continue the cycle of violence. All she needs to do is help this alien being understand why it needs to stop. In connecting with the Ra’haam to explain she becomes part of the Ra’haam, and at first it seems that she will leave with it. But she wants to stay with her family, so she cuts off her psionic abilities and returns to normality.
This action packed conclusion is full of plot twists and time travel. The true power of the series has always been the relationships between the main characters and the family they made in Squad 312. Through the trials they undergo and the secrets that are revealed they are often separated or isolated, but they always make their way back to one another. Auri’s final decision to spare the Ra’haam reflects this theme. This instalment also looks at the pain Kal and Saedii inherited from Cearson, and letting go of the cycle of violence inherent to Cearson’s vision for the Syldrathi comments on their healing from childhood trauma.
science fiction, belonging, family, power, romance, sacrifice, responsibility, time travel, destruction, forgiveness
1. Finian and Scarlett kiss on multiple occasions. Saedii and Tyler kiss. Saedii and Tyler kiss with a scene break in the middle, after which they are under a blanket, implying they had sex (127-128). Antaelis and Erien (two male Syldrathi) are betrothed (p. 122). Auri and Kal kiss (p. 161). Cat and Tyler kiss (p. 356). Nari and Zila kiss (p. 391). 2. Language: f**k x 14 (p. 23, 159, 172, 209, 263 x 6, 389 x 4), shit x 11, bastard x 6, bitch x 2. 3. Auri wakes up among bodies of Syldraathi Waywalkers (p. 69). Fight scenes throughout. Tyler is stabbed (p. 120). Saedii chose to self-destruct her ship with herself and her crew inside rather than be assimilated into the Ra’haam (p. 171). Tyler dies (p. 373). This timeline is later re-written. 4. Tyler drinks a beer (p. 429).
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