It’s hard not to feel a little let down by Aurora’s End. After all the buildup of the first two books, it felt like Kaufman and Kristoff didn’t have enough material to make an entire third book worthwhile.
Since Groundhog Day is my favourite trope (it isn’t, it’s the worst, it rarely works well, and it’s always a repetitive, boring nightmare), I was surprised that I didn’t enjoy the multiple Groundhog Day nightmares that plagued Aurora’s End. I can picture the meeting as Kaufman and Kristoff plan the timeline throughout the trilogy.
‘We’ll put everything in the first two books but leave it on a cliffhanger, saving the final moment and an epilogue for the third book.’
‘Great idea, but we’ll need more than two chapters to warrant a third book.’
‘Damn, you and your logic! We’ll just repeat everything over and over again for one group until they make the obvious choice to give up everything for an unknown future and instalove.’
‘Of course. I can’t believe I overlooked that. We might still be short on pages, though.’
‘Did I forget to mention that everyone else will also have to repeat certain moments over again? And we can add some throwbacks to the first two books. Can’t have a found family without the constant reminiscing about being together.’
‘Perfect. Oh, and they’re teenagers, so as long as we make sure they have awkward hookups and everyone ends up in a couple, we can imply they’re meant to be, and we’ll have happily-ever-afters all around.’
After two books of twisty, surprising content, it was disappointing to end on predictable YA drivel that was unexpected and unwelcome.
With just too many characters to ever feel like any character got the time and the attention they deserved, I never got the full connection I hoped for. Yes, Finian ended up less annoying than expected, but with a full 180 swing, he changed too much to be believable in such a short time. Scarlett never grew very much out of her ‘I’m the sex symbol of the group, and I’ll flirt with everyone, even my twin brother’ identity, and it was disappointing to have her play such a limited ‘why would I study or be good at anything when I’m pretty and can read emotions thanks to genetics I’m unaware exist’ role. Talk about playing into female stereotypes in science fiction. Zila, Aurora, and Kal become almost non-entities. Zila talks more about how much she’s opened up than she ever demonstrates, and she’s left to be the brains and nothing else. Similarly, Auri is the weapon and Kal’s girlfriend, and that’s it. Which is marginally better than Kal just being attached to the hand she’s always holding. Did he even say more than two sentences? I remember him constantly using the word Brother, which felt clumsy and grating, while also growling and warning his father away from his girlfriend. Oh, and he likes to fight.
I’m sad the Aurora Cycle ended on such a dull note after a promising and exciting start. This should’ve been a duology.