Author Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Publisher Knopf Books | 2019
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…
A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering
And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy. They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic. (from Goodreads)
This review is spoiler-freeee! 🙂
Allow me to walk you through my journey with this audiobook–
First line: wow this narrator is just a perfect Kaufman & Kristoff narrator. immediate space-dude-bro vibes.
Fin’s first chapter: wow why does this dude lowkey sound like AIDAN, lol.
A few hours in: these voices all sound SO familiar to me..
An hour later: WAIT… IS THAT…? nooooo.. IS IT?!?!?
Later that night, when I got home and looked up the voice cast: HOLY SHIT IT IS!!! EZRA FUCKING MASON!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m more than a little ashamed it took me so long to recognize Ezra’s (AKA Johnathan McClain) voice, but once I did, hoooo boy. I was so hyped. Every chapter that went by that wasn’t him made me sad. I’ve missed my boy so much!!!! I’ll admit that I definitely didn’t like Tyler as much as I love Ezra, but it was really fun to hear him narrate to me again.
Even more exciting, I knew two of the other narrators as well! No wonder Fin sounded like AIDAN because it wAS AIDAN (Lincoln Hoppe)!!! It was so weird to hear him narrate a character with FEELING! You can really hear the difference between his absolute dead, monotone AIDAN voice and his voice when he can actually express himself. So cool. I ALSO knew Aurora’s narrator, Kim Mai Guest, from another one of my favorite audiobooks, One of Us is Lying! (Also sidenote but this gem of an article from Penguin Random House is a GREAT example of audiobook narrator appreciation. All audiobooks should get this treatment!) P.S. jesus christ I’m just realizing that Steve West was also in the Illuminae audiobooks and now i need to go lie down
Honestly, I don’t know if I would’ve been too into this book if I hadn’t listened to it on audio. Even listening to it, there were chunks of this that I completely zoned out during and I found the plot confusing and hard to follow at times. I’m not even totally sure what the plot of this was, to be completely honest. But I think the fact that I was familiar with half the narrators made me want to continue. I mean, it’s EZRA and omg, I cannot express enough how enjoyable it was to hear Johnathan McClain’s impression of Lincoln Hoppe’s voice. SO. GREAT. I will point out a nit-pick I had with this audio: anytime there’s a radio transmission (complete with radio transmission sound effects), it should BE THE CHARACTER THAT IS ACTUALLY TALKING ON THE TRANSMISSION, not the narrator of the chapter. Thx for coming to my ted talk.
OK, geez can I talk about the actual book now? The characters were… fine, but they weren’t Illuminae Files characters. My favorite, hands-down, was Fin, but I didn’t love the others. They were kinda just there. And I already mentioned that the plot wasn’t my favorite. The second half of this was definitely more interesting than the first, and I liked the team dynamic of it all. I will most likely listen to the next book in the series, but this one just wasn’t on par with Illuminae for me. If you do want to try this one out, I’d DEFINITELY recommend the audio!