AURORA PEGASUS is a direct and seamlessly integrated continuation of author Amanda Bridgemans’ first novel, AURORA: DARWIN. This review spoils much of the plot and outcome of that earlier novel so if you haven’t read it, go check it out then come back and read this review J.
The Aurora series is shaping as a heavily character centric space adventure in a futuristic world where interplanetary inhabitation is reminiscent of the American wild west. The UNF, the leading government force is one that both protects and neglects its loyal servants. For the team aboard space shuttle Aurora, this is something they know all too well and now find themselves on that dusty red frontier, Mars cleaning up the UNF’s mess – trying to contain and capture the man responsible for creating a new breed of super soldier called Jumbos.
Welles, Harris, Doc, McKinley, Hunter, Packham, and Brown are joined by a batch of new recruits in a bid to lure Sharley and his jumbos out of hiding – the bait, Carrie Welles, the select female member of the Aurora team whose not only a crack member of the unit but is perfect breeding material for the jumbos next evolution, a pure bread jumbo. If Welles can lure Sharley, the UNF can put an end to this rogue program. But looming in the background is the question ‘does the UNF want to continue or mask the jumbo experiment?’ Harris and co find themselves yet again the puppets, controlled by a higher power on a deadly mission that once again threatens to tear apart the team limb by limb.
There were some great character defining moments in AURORA: PEGASUS, the relationship between Carrie and Doc for one, and Harris’ unrelenting determination to keep the surviving members of the team safe as they slowly piece together their lives and man-up for another confrontation is another. That said, after a while the Doc/Carrie subplot took over and distracted from what was a very solid and entertaining broader story in the hunt for Sharley. At times, feeling more of a romantic drama than sci-fi thriller.
The place setting is superb; I love the likeness of Mars to the Wild West; a bold and dangerous new frontier town where salons and gun toting men dominate the early stages of inhabitation. The space shuttles themselves also add a distinct sense of place with the Aurora already well established as a key locale. Bridgeman also teases a superior and imposing warship called the Barbican which I hope to read more of in later instalments. Then there’s Hell Town – the super max prison home to the worst of the worst...
Overall, there’s a lot to like about the second Aurora novel yet it doesn’t hit the same cords as the initial instalment, largely due to the lengthy period of time dedicated to the Doc/Carrie romance. Certainly worth a look if you read and enjoyed AURORA: DARWIN.