Book talk: Three recent releases

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This week, Michael Popple looks at three recent releases that are well worth checking out. You can find more of Michael’s book reviews on his blog

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Allen & Unwin, $19.99

In 2380, the graduating cadets of the Aurora Academy are set to become the next generation of peacekeepers. When Tyler Jones misses the cadet draft, he is left leading a dysfunctional group of cadets no one else wanted. When they encounter Aurora, a girl with mysterious powers, the squad suddenly finds themselves as the galaxy’s last line of defence.

The superstar Australian writing team of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff have created an outstanding, heartfelt and deeply enjoyable character-driven novel that may prove to be one of the best young adult books of 2019.

Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by K. J. Parker

Orbit, $22.99

When the City, the capital of the Robur Empire, finds itself under attack from a massive army, their defence falls to Orhan and his military engineers. Severely outnumbered and lacking the resources to mount a conventional defence, Orhan is forced to come up with a series of unique and outrageous strategies in order to save a city full of people who hate him.

This is a gloriously entertaining novel, told from the point of view of Orhan, the book’s self-serving and cynical protagonist. Featuring some good humour and an outstanding depiction of a siege, this is an excellent fantasy novel. Highly recommended.

The Last Second by Catherine Coulter and J. T. Ellison

Simon & Schuster, $29.99

FBI agents Drummond and Caine once again find themselves attempting to avert disaster when a private space company launches an EMP device into orbit, capable of devastating the world’s communication satellites. The company’s second-in-command believes she is being commanded to do so by aliens, but first she must recover the Holy Grail from her treasure hunting boss.

This is the sixth book in A Brit in the FBI Thrillerseries, which spins off from Coulter’s long-running FBI Thriller series. The Last Second is an over-the-top novel that serves as an intriguing counterpart to Coulter’s more traditional crime books. An electrifying and compelling read.

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Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts