Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: Aurora Burning by Kristoff & Kauffman

Published May 2020 by Allen & Unwin

In true Kaufman and Kristoff style, we are thrown back into the world of Squad 312 and it is all action from the get go. Aurora Burning takes off where Aurora Rising ended and the transition between the two is effortless.

At the beginning of Aurora Burning, the reader is provided with a refresher on the characters. I love this idea. It is giving the reader snippets of the characters, what they look like, what they do, their heritage. It gives the reader the perfect refresher before entering the world of Squad 312 again.

No one in the entire galaxy wants this squad of misfits to survive and I am finding that so frustrating. We make it to halfway through the book and there is no clear plot, no path that the squad are following other than survive this, romance that. For those of you who need a more defined plot, just hang on for the ride, it soon sorts itself out.

As I did in Aurora Rising, I love the multiple points of view. I love the additional information it gives us on each character. The way it lets us know them. I was happy to see longer chapters for Zila, this time around. I find her and her story fascinating.
I’m also enjoying Aurora’s new purpose. Her character is evolving and growing but her personality is colder, through learning what being the trigger means, she is losing herself.

I struggled deeply with what Squad 312 did to Kal, I won’t go into details because I want to avoid spoilers. But they didn’t even give him a chance to tell his story. They seemed to forget that he has been there for each of them, they just decided “nope, Kal sucks” in the moment and that was that. Not a fan K&K!

Aurora Burning ends on such a high impact cliff hanger that all of us readers are going to be spinning from until book 3 comes out. The action scenes in this book are fantastic, so detailed and articulate. So much research into solar systems and technology has gone into these books and it shows.

Once again Kristoff and Kauffman have provided us with a high action, sci-fi. Filled with snark, killing and sexy pixie people. Incredibly fast paced and so easy to read, books by these two authors are unlike any you will ever read.

Thank you so much to Allen and Unwin for sending me out a review copy! I loved rejoining the Squad and can’t wait for the next book!

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: Who We Were by B.M. Carroll

Published April 2020 by Viper Books

Right off the bat, Who We Were is engaging and thought provoking. We are immediately thrown into Annabel’s busy life and are shown the first instance of our creepy antagonist.

The chapters are short and punchy, we aren’t locked into a single characters point of view for too long, which keeps the book moving. I love the multiple points of view, it gives the reader more information and back story and gives more chance for an unreliable narrator, which is always an interesting turn of events.

Who We Were encapsulates high school perfectly. How much we, as teenagers ignore our better judgement and go along with things we know we shouldn’t. I’m enjoying meeting the different characters and learning how different they are from their past selves. But some aren’t as different as they think.

The first half of the book allows us to really get to know the characters and their families. Learn about their lives and their secrets, which paves the way for the second half of the book, where our antagonist really comes out to play.

The overarching takeaway from this book is that teenagers are so impressionable, what happens to and around us in those formative years, impacts who we grow up to be. Who We Were encapsulates that so well, shows how as adults, all of these people are still deeply effected by what happened at highschool. And looking back, can any of us say that we weren’t.

The other strong takeaway from this book is the strength of family. That when it comes down to it, they are always there for you. Sometimes in ways like Nick was and sometimes in ways like Izzy was. Family is what makes us strong, gives us a sense of belonging and often shows us where we stand in the world. Carroll has explored these aspects brilliantly in Who We Were.

I enjoyed this almost light, psychological thriller, throughout the book, there was no way to pick who the antagonist was. No real clues, only the characters suspicions, which was refreshingly different to many other adult fiction novels on the market.

Who We Were is fast paced and filled with interesting characters. This book will keep you guessing until the final twenty pages and you won’t be dissappointed. Carroll has written a book about how lives intertwine, how the connections you make growing up can stay with you, long into adulthood. Well written and easy to read, Who We Were is unique and captivating.

Thank you to the publicity team at Allen & Unwin for sending me out a review copy. All thoughts are my own.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: Tender is the Flesh by Augustina Bazterrica

From the first page, the intensity of this book is palpable. We are thrown into the conflicted mind of our protagonist. And his conflict is understandable. He kills people for meat. All of the meat animals have been infected with a virus that is deadly to humans, so the Government has implemented a way to grow humans for meat.

Tender is the Flesh, is thought provoking. It tempts images into your mind and makes you question what you would do in that situation. It throws your consience into inner turmoil, it is confronting and raw. A conversation starter.

This book is incredibly detailed, it is obvious that Bazterrica has done her research when it comes to abbatoir processing. It is chilling to read these same practices put to use on humans. But what is more chilling is how the workers adjusted to it, how they are able to kill humans or ‘heads’ and cut them up for food, without seeing them as people.

Tender is the Flesh, is not for the faint hearted or those with a weak stomach. You will be shown in vivid detail what happens at the breeding facility, the abbatoir and the butchers. You will be shown what happens to each section of the body from head to toes. This book is like seeing a car crash, horriffic, but you can’t look away.

Sadness eminates so strongly from Marcos, his world is crumbling around him, he is stuck in a job that he hates, just so he can support his father. He has lost everything he cares about and to top it off , he believes the Government is lying. But what else is sad is the lack of animals in this world. No pets, no farm animals, no birds. They are deadly, or thats what the population have been told. Marcos longs for some companionship in a human eat human world. For someone to share his views and beliefs. For a pet, like the two dogs he had to destroy because of the fear mongering from his Government.

I am really struggling with what Marcos creates for himself with his gifted ‘head’ It is hard to work out if he has given her freedom or if he is taking advantage of someone who doesn’t understand. The humans bred for meat have no vocal chords, are raised in isolation, are shown no niceties. They don’t learn to socialise, to be humans. They are raised as animals. Its hard to workout if what he has done is wrong, or an act of freedom. It feels wrong to me. Like the woman didn’t have a choice.

The second half of the book, we start to see Marcos for who he really is. His slow turn into someone who will do anything to get what he wants, even if it is going down an illegal path to get there.

Shockingly easy to read, considering the content and it flows from page to page, some phrases are quite jarring but overall it is fascinating to read something so unique and confronting. Tender is the Flesh will leave you shocked and with questions, it is consciously jarring, it makes you question values and morals. It shows you anothet side of humanity. It also shows what animals go through, what their lives mean and stand for, when it comes to providing food for human consumption.

Tender is the Flesh is fast paced, confronting and fascinatingly original. Not for the faint hearted, an overall unique read.

Thank you to the team at Allen and Unwin Australia for sending me out a review copy of this title. All thoughts and opinions are my own.