You know you’ve read an exceptionally good book when you relish the idea of writing your review as soon as you’re done because you want to impress upon everyone the exact emotions you were feeling as soon as you’ve reached the last page. Guys. I know we’re only a quarter of the way through 2019 but I’ve read some good books so far. This….is one of the best. As much as I loved Finale (Stephanie Garber) this might honestly have been better. I’ve wanted to get my hands on this book since it was first announced. I loved the Starbound trilogy by Kaufman and Spooner and also ate up The Illuminae Files which was by the same two authors who also crafted this gem of a book. In both series, I loved their take on the distant future and their incredibly addicting writing. The characters were unforgettable and there was always at least one relationship that had me swooning and dying for more. Based on ALL of that, THIS BOOK LIVED UP TO EVERYTHING I HOPED AND DREAMED IT WOULD BE.
Premise wise this book is about Tyler—a star squad leader who is about to get his dream cadet picks at the Aurora Academy and spend his life doing good and keeping peace in the ‘Way….until the complete opposite happens…kind of;
It’s about Scarlett, who only joined the Academy to stick with her twin brother, Tyler, and who is the mother hen of the group while also having killer wit and sarcasm;
It’s about Cat, Ace pilot, tomboy, not-so-secretly in love with her best friend who might also happen to be squad leader;
It’s about Kal, hot Legolas lookalike alien who has anger problems and may be the new love of my life;
It’s about Zila, trigger happy, very quiet, possible sociopath but also possibly there is a lot more to her than meets the eye and I’m interested to learn more???;
It’s about Finian, ALSO SUPER SARCASTIC, alien, techie boy who loves giving his squad crap whenever possible, about whatever possible;
And finally, it’s about Aurora, or Auri, who was stuck in cryo-freeze on a missing ship for the past two hundred years and finds out she was the only one who survived and that she now has confusing new powers when she wakes up.
AGAIN, this is another one that’s been likened to Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo) but other than the fact that it’s a group of misfits, it’s entirely its own thing. Each character has POV chapters but they never felt disjointed. I knew exactly who each one was immediately and loved each one immediately. What I’m trying to say is that Squad 312 is my new ~squad~ and I would die for each and every one of them. *sobs*.
This book was intense in a way that I had forgotten sci-fi could be. I don’t read a lot of it but when I do it strikes me that same way every time. I mean there’s the magnitude of Auri waking up TWO HUNDRED YEARS after she was put into cryo-sleep, knowing that life as she knew it is completely different and everyone that she had ever known and loved is dead. There’s the fact that a character dies and the incident ripped my heart out and stomped all over it and I was sitting there crying in my car trying to hide it so my husband wouldn’t ask and then make it worse, haha. I guess I’ve been reading too many romances or something. But I took it hard. HARD, I TELL YOU. And the mystery of the story itself was one of the most gripping that I have read in a long time. I am dying for the next few books. Dying to see how certain characters grieve and heal. Dying to see how certain relationships blossom. And most importantly, dying to see how the universe is saved from sure destruction.
Do yourself all a favor and pick this book up when it comes out. I give it my highest of recommendations.
HUGE thanks to NetGalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers for an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.♥