A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Aurora Burning is the sequel to Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff's best-selling series starter, Aurora Rising, about a ragtag group of interspecies space cadets forced to save the universe from an encroaching and ancient evil that can destroy every living thing. This second page-turning installment continues to thrill, surprise, and even infuriate, but in that good, momentarily heart-stopping cliffhangers and plot twists kind of way. The language is as strong as it was in the first book, being more prominent in some characters' points of view than others ("s--t," "arse," and infrequent "f--k"). The sex and romance is more relevant, as two characters go from kissing to sex, although it's never explicitly described. The violence, on the other hand, is candidly and realistically depicted, with intense, bloody, and fatal results. This follow-up, like all of the authors' books, explores courage, teamwork, perseverance, and redemption.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Aurora Burning picks up a bit after the heartbreaking events at the end of Aurora Rising with the grieving and rogue squad on the run from pretty much every governing body in the universe. When Tyler's team encounters Kal's fellow War Breed Syldrathi -- the vicious and blood-thirsty warriors who now demand Kal's return to the tribe. Kal, however, refuses, because he's bonded to Aurora and wants to be by her side. With the War Breed adding to the growing number of hostiles hunting the squad, Aurora, Fin, Kal, Scarlett, Tyler, and Zila must continue to work together (and occasionally apart), hone their skills, and find a way to unlock Aurora's supernatural skills to defeat the ancient terror that killed Cat and that's soon to be unleashed on the world.
Is it any good?
Another riveting space opera from Kaufman and Kristoff, who've combined greater exposition, poignant romance, and even more pulse-popping, high-stakes adventure for a memorable sequel. The Aurora squad is definitely not okay after the heartbreaking events at the end of the first book, and the dead character is mentioned and thought of in a believable manner, since the crew is newly grieving her loss. Some sci-fi/fantasies gloss over the many deaths, even of important characters, but not these co-authors, who've made sure every single surviving character really thinks about the lost person. The story, while overall a riveting read, slows a tad in the second act, particularly when Aurora begins supernatural training to harness her powers. On the flip side, the final epic showdown is almost rushed by comparison, ending with a monumental cliffhanger that's sure to make some fans throw the book.
What makes these authors' books so easy to cherish is their ability to bring the best of their writing strengths together: layered and nuanced characterization, intricate plotting with plenty of twists, expressive, realistic, humorous dialog, and both slow-burning *and* fast-moving romantic relationships. There's also an impressive and seamlessly integrated diversity in this book. The main characters are different colors, backgrounds, sexual identities and orientations, and species, and they each come to terms with biases and stereotypes they held about the others in the group. Even though parts of the book are painful to read, there's joy, laughter, and love too -- they are one another's ride or dies (literally), and together they will defeat the spawning menace ready to infect all of the universe.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the amount of violence in Aurora Rising. Do you think it's necessary to the story? Is there a difference between reading about death and violence and seeing it on screen?
How does this installment compare with the original? Which new characters and storylines did you enjoy the most?
How does the book explore diversity in it various forms? Discuss how the characters, while different, can all join in a common purpose/
Discuss the cliffhanger and what you think about it. What do you hope will happen in the next book? Which characters do you hope will get/stay together?
- Authors: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Misfits and Underdogs, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publication date: May 5, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 512
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 1, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.