AuroraCentralis BTFB

As part of the official Aurora: Centralis blog tour, I was lucky enough to be one of the first to read and review Amanda Bridgeman’s newest book.

Aurora: Centralis is the continuation of Bridgeman’s Aurora series. The series follows a crew of space marines as they track down a group of superhuman “Jumbos” who were created as part of a top-secret military project. (See my prior review of the second book in the series Aurora: Pegasus.)

At the end of the last book, we were left with Carrie agreeing to carry her unwanted, test-tube Jumbo twins long enough for the United National Forces (UNF) to study the foetuses. In return, the UNF would overlook the past indiscretions of Doc and the rest of the crew.

Aurora: Centralis opens with the heated tensions this decision causes.

Carrie has every intention of aborting the twins as soon as the time period the UNF has specified is over, yet the UNF doctors are working hard to change her mind. The twins’ fathers are split on the topic. McKinley wants nothing to do with his Jumbo baby and wants Carrie to abort immediately; damn the consequences. Doc on the other hand is forced to be there at every consultation Carrie has with the doctors and his attachment to his unborn child grows stronger with each visit.

Captain Harris finds it hard to keep the Aurora team operating given the emotional fallout, especially with the UNF breathing down his neck. To make things worse, his dead relatives won’t stop appearing in his dreams.

Meanwhile, the UNF aren’t the only ones interested in the twins, and if there’s anything Carrie’s enemies have shown in the prior books, it’s that any high security UNF installation can be broken into if you have the right connections….

Although the threat of violence is never far away, a lot of the action in Aurora: Centralis is interpersonal interaction and relationship building. This might put some readers off, but for those who have fallen in love with the colourful crew of the Aurora, it’s thoroughly enjoyable. There were also some serious curve-balls in the plot that are bound to please those who like to be surprised.

To this point in the series, I’d felt like the Aurora books had adhered to a well-known trope, enabling the reader to at least have a general idea of where the storyline was headed. Centralis ends this. Before starting the book, there were certain things I was sure were going to happen. I wasn’t looking forward some of them, but I saw it as inevitable that things would play out as I had foreseen.

Boy was I wrong. Totally totally wrong.

If you wanted a corny catchphrase for Aurora: Centralis, it could well be “there’s no such thing as a coincidence”. During the story, loose threads that had been left dangling in prior installments are neatly knotted into the fabric of the story, bringing new understanding that changes absolutely everything.

Because of these revelations, the book has a distinctly different flavour to the first three. There’s no more raising the stakes until the reader is almost falling off the edge of their chair. It’s more like all the bets are called and we see everyone’s cards and understand who has won, who has lost and how much the damage tallies up to be. To continue the gambling metaphor, everyone knows the game is over but that another hand is going to be played and no one’s exactly sure who will be playing and how much of their prior winnings they’re going to invest in the new round.

What I’m trying to convey is that by the end of Aurora: Centralis the storyline reaches a kind of conclusion, but we also see the seeds of a new beginning. I expect readers to be split on whether they like or hate the ending. I personally thought it was great.

In summary, although Aurora: Centralis was different from the books that preceded it, I devoured it just as voraciously. I enjoyed it so I’m going to give it a 4/5.

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