Read Aurora: Darwin by Amanda Bridgeman Online


A distress signal on the edge of inhabited space. A mission that is far outside normal parameters. Two very different people with one common goal - survival.When a distress signal is received from a black-ops space station on the edge of inhabited space, Captain Saul Harris of the UNF Aurora is called in from leave to respond. But the mission is not what it seems. Female mA distress signal on the edge of inhabited space. A mission that is far outside normal parameters. Two very different people with one common goal - survival.When a distress signal is received from a black-ops space station on the edge of inhabited space, Captain Saul Harris of the UNF Aurora is called in from leave to respond. But the mission is not what it seems. Female members of the United National Forces have not been allowed to travel into the outer zones before, but Harris is ordered to take three new female recruits.For Corporal Carrie Welles, one of the Aurora's new recruits, her first mission into space seems like a dream come true. Determined to achieve the success of her father before her, and suddenly thrust into a terrifying mission, she must work with her new captain and the strained Aurora crew to make it home alive.When the Aurora arrives at the station Harris and Welles soon find themselves caught up in a desperate fight for survival. Station Darwin is not what they expected. The lights are off. But somebody is home....

Title : Aurora: Darwin
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781760081706
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 649 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Aurora: Darwin Reviews

  • Patty Jansen
    2019-04-10 11:35

    I'll try to write this without too many spoilers.Overall: this is a book that sees some very tense action and good characterisation, but suffers a bit from a lacklustre ending and lack of believable detail about space travel.The good first: There were some times that I didn't want to read any pages of this before going to bed. Parts of this book are downright scary and very, very tense.I loved the characters and their interaction.This is an easy and enjoyable read.Concerns (other people may not care much about these, but what the hey, and I'm sorry if it gets a bit ranty. Remember that I did enjoy reading this book):I think the plot peaked too early. The last fifth of the book is all debriefing and while reading this, I kept waiting for THE BIG REVEAL, but I got to the end and there hadn't been one.At times it felt like the plot was contrived. You know the feeling where you watch a movie and the only reason the story happens is because some guy does something that makes little logical sense? I felt like that sometimes. Mind you, the "something's going on in the space station" makes for a damn tense story, but there's got to be some sort of payoff where it's made clear why all this stuff is happening in a way that I'll say: "Ah, now I see..." and where at least someone is punished, but that didn't happen, at least not in a satisfactory way.LAWS OF PHYSICS!Seriously!A space ship of a size where the crew can run laps down the corridors is big. Do you know how big the Space Shuttle is? They have a replica at the Powerhouse Museum. It's a lot smaller than a 747. This ship sounds bigger than a 747, judging from the description. Do you remember those big cigars on the side of the Space Shuttle at take-off? They're for fuel. More than 90% of the weight of that whole assemblage was fuel. For every kilogram you add to the weight to the ship, you need FOUR TIMES the amount of fuel to lift it into low orbit like 300km above the Earth (saying nothing about taking it to Mars in two days). Realistically, this means that you can't take vehicles of this size to the surface. It makes so much more sense to have an off-surface lift system (small shuttles, space elevator, whatever) to an orbiting space port where the behemoths dock.Also, to fly in the atmosphere, a craft needs wings, quite sizeable ones for a craft this size. In space, wings are useless.(see also this: orbits! Mars is only one planet down from the sun... except when it's on the opposite side of the Sun compared to where we are. Timing is essential.Similarly, I never got much of a feel for the fact that we're in space, as the obvious inconveniences of space travel (hoy, lack of gravity!) don't rate a mention except once very briefly. So, we have coffee jugs, dinner trays, shooting ranges (!!!) in space, without mention of why the coffee stays in those jugs. Showers? Barring magical gravity devices (not mentioned), artificial gravity comes from rotation of the habitat. This has serious implications for life aboard such habitats (Coriolis forces) and also docking with another ship or station could be tricky. These are interesting and wonderful opportunities for Science Fiction to show that we're actually, y'know, in space.Also, why would any sane person carry BULLETS on a space craft? And worse, fire them in a space craft? When all that separates you from vacuum and death within seconds is a thin shell of plastic and metal and a bit of padding?Sorry about the ranty bits, but I kinda cry a little inside when half a day googling this information could have done so much to make the space setting more convincing.Ultimately, I think that it's symptomatic of the story's somewhat murky identity. It's certainly not hard SF, lacks the sensawunda of space opera, does thriller very well until the last part, tries a bit of romance that doesn't come to a satisfactory conclusion, but leaves too much hanging to be a satisfactory mystery. I'm not sure how to describe it.The above may not be an issue for all readers. It is an enjoyable read. It also looks like there will be another volume.

  • C.A. Larmer
    2019-03-29 12:04

    An Action-Packed RideI don't often read sci-fi but this one had me intrigued from the start, and I could barely put it down. Great, realistic characters, superb writing and, most importantly for me, a clever, nail-biting plot. I so look forward to joining the Aurora crew on their next assignment (although I'm kind've terrified, too!)

  • Andrew
    2019-03-25 12:55

    I've been sitting on this review for a while now as I've been trying to think of some nice, polite and constructive way of writing it. I really cannot be bothered wasting any more time thinking on it, or gathering extensive citations from the text, so here is my overall view.Aurora: Darwin has a great premise and a long-time Aliens fan I was immediately hooked. Colonial marines! Aliens! Action!Sadly however, this doesn't deliver on the promise and is a limp and mediocre shadow of a greater theme. (Light spoilers ahead) The interaction between the marines is as shallow as the characters themselves, with forgettable paper-thin outlines, no development and hardly any meaningful interaction or dialogue. They are completely unprofessional, disrespectful, bigoted and generally unlikeable. I find it hard to believe that in a professional military body, the level of antagonism, obstructionism and purely sexist behaviour would be tolerated; especially in a close-knit team working in dangerous remote sites with no support. None of them has any particular redeeming qualities, nor is any reader emotional investment built up. The main character is dithering, emotional, and annoying person with daddy issues, who just happens to be awesome with a firearm. The quintessential Mary Sue. Despite seeking a professional military career, it seems she can't stop constantly thinking of her peers except as sexual objects either. Go feminism?On the pulp side, it fails also, with some cringeworthy lines being delivered from supposedly rock-hard tough and wise-ass marines, there's quite a bit of 'chary' dialogue too to fill it out, which also falls flat with the author having long-time career military personnel seemingly confused and freely mixing up civilian and military time references, some of the simplest military jargon to get right.The novel unfolds wearily slowly, with interminable attention to the nascent romance of the main character. Ho hum, and yes I read romance also, this is badly done. Even the action scenes have hardly any zip and are lackluster. There's a real sense of telling, not showing, and no immediacy.The aliens, when they appear, are almost completely forgettable, have almost no impact or scare factor, and are generally underwhelming. Logic cast aside, they regularly pull out Deus ex Machina to destroy the marines, who active help them by apparently forgetting every single military doctrine regarding intelligence gathering, comms discipline, security, tactics, close support, or even simple things like covering their flanks, looking behind them, and even forgetting how to use their guns.Note: I am not in the military, but I know people who are and I think they would shred this like a Sunbeam set to Puree.It ends with a completely predictable machine-stamped generic closure leaving it open for possible sequels, just like the B-movies it emulates.Ultimately disappointing, Aurora:Darwin promises a lot in a number of areas but fails to deliver on almost all of them. Personally, I would find it very difficult to summon the enthusiasm to read any more of Bridgeman's work. Perhaps I'm being over critical, but there just wasn't enough depth in for me, nor enough suspense or action to make it a good pulp read.

  • Rachel Amphlett
    2019-04-05 14:55

    I'll say this up front: I don't read sci-fi. I love sci-fi films, but it's my husband who's the science fiction fan in the household. I picked this up because I've taken on an Aussie author reading challenge through Goodreads this year.And boy, am I glad I selected Aurora:Darwin.The set-up is brilliant - right from the start, you've got one up on the crew of the Aurora - you know what they're walking into. They don't. And you wonder how the heck they're going to cope with three new recruits - all female - up against an experienced all-male crew who resent their presence on their well-ordered ship.Sent on a classified mission to the other side of Mars, Captain Harris and his crew are on their way to fix what they think is a simple communications problem. The only bit that slowed the story for me was the journey there - the training and how the new recruits began to be sized up by their superiors. However, the way in which the characters interact and the description of their arrival at the eerily silent Darwin is such that you just have to keep reading. When they reach the Darwin, the build-up to the action is measured and intense.And once you're there, you can't stop reading.Parts of this book left me reminiscing about the movie "Event Horizon" - not because it's similar in story line (it isn't), but because there is always that sense of menace, especially once the body count starts building.This is a brilliant debut novel and the author gets 5 stars from me because she wrestled me out of my reading comfort zone - and won.

  • T From
    2019-04-06 07:56

    Aurora: Darwin was a great read - interesting, realistic characters who pulled you in straight away. The story develops at a great pace with plenty of action along the way. Although it is 'sci fi', it would appeal to range of readers. Its not overly 'techy' and you get the sense that (scarily) this story could really happen in the not too distant future! There is obviously more of this story to come - can't wait for the next installment.

  • Danny Mckenzie
    2019-04-14 08:00

    A very good read in the genre of hard Sci-fi. This book has everything, good plot, solid characters of depth and feeling, sound settings and plausibility. So believable it could almost be a documentary from the future.The story follows three new recruits on their first mission amongst seasoned soldiers. What have their superiors got planned for them, who can be trusted. There's hostility, hidden agendas, action, deception, betrayal, heroism, danger, death and a whole lot more in store for everyone.The science is sound with a full, rich cast experiencing the full range of emotions and complications that come with being human.Amanda Bridgeman gives this book all the necessary ingredients in the right proportion to deliver a very satisfying and solid start to the Aurora series. I definitely want to journey again with the captain and crew of the Aurora!

  • Elizabeth
    2019-03-30 12:00

    Originally published at West Coast Book Reviews.Aurora: Darwin is the first in a science fiction series by Amanda Bridgeman.I feel like I've been a fan of this series since before I read it. Book 3 Aurora: Meridian was available on Netgalley so I bought the first two to get ready for the third but instead of reading them, I put them away, then bought Meridian, tucking it away as well. That was months ago. I didn't start them until a week ago since I was waiting for the 'right time' like waiting to enjoy good chocolate, coffee, bubble bath or a really fine pen. I didn't want to finish them and be in that place where I couldn't read them again for the first time.So with book 4 Aurora: Centralis out in a few of weeks I took the plunge and devoured all three in a matter of days.Darwin juxtaposes its two main characters, Welles and Harris, in terms of rank and gender.The biggest challenge for Welles is the simple fact she's a woman. Her presence and that of the other two women on the Aurora is treated as a joke by the existing crew, a fact that doesn't sit well with her. I was engaged and angry for Welles since I know full well what it can be like to have to work twice as hard for half the respect. Wait, did Ms. Bridgeman just knock me out of my 'sci-fi females are just as bullet proof as the men so don't even think about making me imagine myself as anything less' fiction comfort zone?Yup, she sure did.As a forty-something woman, I realized my escapism reading allowed me to avoid the realities of many women in service everywhere, even in the fictional future. That isn't to say I don't completely enjoy immersing myself in a story in which I can imagine myself as something I'm not (it's why I read fiction, after all.) But I suddenly found myself identifying with a female lead in a whole other way. She isn't super-tough, indistinguishable from the men except for the fact her 'plumbing' is indoors and their's is outdoors. Welles is a woman and she's strong; she's a strong woman. She's great.She also makes decisions I can identify with, doesn't accept that her best isn't good enough and won't stand for dismissal or BS from anyone. To me, she's believable and real and the heart of the story.Captain Saul Harris is the second heart but in a very different way. As the man in charge of the Aurora, he has to be. To me, he's also a strong lead even though I connected more with Welles. I appreciated how well he could be the commander each of his soldiers needed.I also liked the rest of the crew, Doc in particular, as he weaves between Welles' perspective and Harris'.Aurora: Darwin combines science fiction, adventure and action through the lenses of both the bottom ranks and top ranks of Aurora's crew. As the secrets of Darwin Station reveal themselves, Ms. Bridgeman challenges the developing bond of the crew with mystery, violence and the dark side of the UNF. I loved this great start to the series.

  • S.B. Wright
    2019-04-13 09:58

    Aurora: Darwin is the debut novel from Perth author Amanda Bridgeman. The folks at Momentum publishing have done a great job with the cover art (reminiscent to my mind of the Astropolis covers that Orbit did for Sean Williams) and associated extras. They can be found here. Not entirely necessary for your enjoyment but good art can shape your perceptions.Bridgeman is a fan of sci-fi thrillers and that shows in Aurora: Darwin. If you are a fan of Aliens 2 and other Sci-Fi films of that era then you’ll like the mix of action and suspense that Bridgman delivers. A distress signal on the edge of inhabited space. A mission that is far outside normal parameters. Two very different people with one common goal survival.A group of soldiers are sent to investigate a comms error on a classified military station near the asteroid belt. Three women are added to the all male crew as part of some PR exercise. There’s tension between the crew, between the Captain and Command and information on the situation is almost non existent.There’s some interesting comment here on the treatment of women in the military that seems to be more about current problems that women have to face. Though I must admit I am not sure if its unrealistic to think that attitudes won’t have changed in the future or that its a case of (as with a large amount of science fiction) science fiction commenting on the issues and culture at its time of writing through the lense of the future.If you are looking for a solid scientific underpinning and the lack of such ruins your enjoyment then perhaps Aurora: Darwin isn’t for you. If you are just here for the thrill and the tension then, well it’s worth it.The above point aside, Aurora: Darwin was not without its problems for me and I think this can be put down to it being a first novel. The beginning was a little slow and I think there was an over use of narrative summary, a focussing on detail that was largely irrelevant to the story. I am a pretty tolerant reader and I read widely. I am not sure that other readers would stay as long as I did.But…I did and the middle 50% of the book is nail-biting edge of the seat action and suspense that I expect from much more seasoned writers. The tension that Bridgeman maintained here was brilliant. The story is nothing new (and I mean this as no slight against Bridgeman) but there’s skill in taking a trope or a well used scenario and making it seem exciting and fresh. The reader knows what’s likely to happen and it’s the way in which the author sustains the tension, between that knowledge and the characters edging closer to danger, that makes this part of the novel and ultimately carries the rest of it.The ending seemed a little off the pace for me, there was renewed tension but I found the team’s last obstacle a bit of an anti climax, the action and tension was highest at the end of the second act. While Aurora: Darwin feels a little unbalanced structurally, on the middle part of this book alone, I will read Bridgeman again. I dare say she’s got a bright future ahead of her writing Military/Space Opera thrillers.

  • Josh
    2019-03-27 09:05

    A United National Forces (UNF) Space Patrol crack team is dispatched to a deadly and secretive corner of space to investigate a breakdown of communication at a classified government facility known to have been dabbling in dangerous scientific experiments. Aboard the Aurora, Captain Saul Harris knows this isn’t a simple mission – for one, he’s been given three additional crew members; all female, something unique to space patrol, secondly; command are sketchy on the details of the communications breakdown and have an open reluctance to divulging information about the facility and the research/breakthroughs made deep in the outer limits.The newcomers, lead by Carrie Welles, the main member of the group to feature prominently in proceedings, find themselves victims of inexperience and gender segregation as the male members of the Aurora test and taunt the new recruits to determine their mettle and capacity to do more than cook and clean. Welles and co bridge the gender divide by pure will and determination. In a world/universe of hard men and hard action, these women bring brass balls and a dead aim.Author Amanda Bridgeman has provided readers with a plausible space story that’s grounded by its deep characterisation and tension filled plot. From the moment the crew of the Aurora disembark from Earth, the palpable and ever impending sense of doom kicks into gear. Never knowing what’s around the corner, where the threat will arise or from whom heightens the anticipation for action and blood curdling terror – in which Bridgeman delivers in spades. I didn’t know what to expect from AURORA: DARWIN and found myself instantly hooked on the premise and impressed by the delivery. Each character brings something to the table, from Doc, Harris, Welles, to Command – all elements in a broader game of deceit, violence, and cover-up. Utterly addictive. The follow-up, AURORA: PEGASUS was released in December 2013 and has shot near the top of my TBR.This review also appears on my blog: http://justaguythatlikes2read.blogspo...

  • Wayne McCoy
    2019-04-06 08:03

    'Aurora: Darwin' by Amanda Bridgeman is a pretty fair space opera full of decent suspense and action. That sort of tails off in an ending that seems to drag on too long.In a not too distant future, we have conquered space flight and we are out fighting space pirates. That's what Captain Saul Harris and his crew of the Aurora do for the United National Forces. This time around, they are responding to the lack of communication from a science station. To make things more interesting, they have three female recruits aboard to test the waters of allowing females to travel into the farther reaches of space. In this future, there is still sexism though, so the women won't have to easiest time of things. Added to that, they've been ordered to stay on the ship and not board the science vessel Darwin when the Aurora docks with it. Strangest enough is what awaits them when they get to the Darwin.I'm used to my United Federation of Space, so the idea of advanced technology and sexism was a bit jarring, but probably not unrealistic. The character interactions weren't too bad. I liked the mystery and action, but the wrap up seemed to take a long time. A lot of it is set up for future books, but I'd have preferred a quicker finish to things, especially because they seemed a bit inevitable. It's a good first outing, and I'll gladly read the next book.I received a review copy of this ebook from Pan Macmillan, Momentum and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.

  • Ingrid Jonach
    2019-04-11 11:58

    This book was a total adrenalin rush. I rarely read action novels (although I do like the occasional action movie), but this had me hooked from the first page. It read like a movie with very clever dialogue, and very thorough character descriptions and back story. Aurora: Darwin is edge-of-your-seat stuff. A team of soldiers go to check out an unresponsive space station called the Darwin with some surprising (and extremely terrifying) results. I spent at least one sleepless night jumping at shadows after reading this book. It is not for the faint-hearted!And speaking of hearts… Doc. Sigh. I think I was crushing on him from the moment he entered the story (short brown hair, chocolate brown eyes, smooth features and a nice smile - yes please!). I was really glad he ended up being the focus of the romance in this story.I also felt the story gave me closure. There was a debrief at the end of the novel that I really enjoyed, because normally once the deed is done the heroes ride off into the sunset (or fly off into the galaxy) and leave you wondering what next. Even so, there was enough of a cliff hanger to allow for a sequel. And I can tell you that if the sequel was available now I would be reading it immediately!

  • Kristian Thoroughgood
    2019-04-04 08:42

    Near-future military sci-fi with some great tense action and a dark conspiracy. What’s not to love?Well…It’s not amazingly original, and I felt some of the tropes a little worn. But by far the biggest crime was acres and acres of exposition at the beginning.This book is walking on well trod ground, but it does do credit to its source materials. Excepting the exposition at the start of the book, it had enough character, drama and action to keep me turning the pages.Overall an entertaining read.Detailed review here:

  • Christine
    2019-04-09 10:38

    Oh wow! I LOVED this book. I'm a huge fan of space operas without the heavy sci fi details that can sometimes drown a good story. This is perfect for sci fi fans who also love a story about capable women who are more than Decorative figures, strong characterization driven stories, and a sense of adventure without having to run into aliens or distant galaxies.

  • dennis barron
    2019-04-08 14:04

    Aurora: Darwin Amanda BridgemanThis is a sci-fi thriller set in the future. We are exploring other has become crowded, somewhat depleted, that's a given. A space vessel is dispatched on a routine mission. It's crew is very special, highly trained, and for the first time , women are aboard. Is the mission real or a ruse? This is an explosive and extraordinarily well written novel. It's primary characters are extremely talented, professional, the best. Action explodes on every the last one! I mentioned sci-fi thriller? Try action packed kick ass thriller!!! My highest recommendation. Can't wait to read the next book in the series!!

  • Deborah
    2019-04-13 10:03

    interesting - I'm somewhere between the other readers who gave it four or five stars, saying it was a great read, thrilling, suspenseful, and the ones who gave it one or two because they found the characters unconvincing and the setting implausible. I certainly found it readable - read it all in one go - but there were problems with the space setting and the military aspects that I just couldn't swallow, and there were indeed some paper-thin characters. Why such a space vessel as big as Bridgeman describes, with such a small crew? why no environmental engineers? how do they clean the air, and dispose of the solid & liquid wastes? what is creating the ship's gravity? there's no mention of rotation, no made-up gravity-creating gizmo (which I'd be fine with, even if it wasn't explained). lots of breakables and spillables sitting around; no netting or other means of securing them if the gravity wobbles or the vessel is hit... And projectile weapons on a spaceship? again, just lampshade it and I'll let it pass, but writing as if it's not a problem in the first place is sloppy (or insulting). another reader said he couldn't believe the soldiers would be so outspokenly hostile and sexist towards the women - that I don't have a problem believing. too many reported instances of sexual harassment, general bullying, and sexual assault within various defence forces for that to be implausible, sadly. I did find it hard to believe that Our Heroine could've got as far as she has in her military career while being openly insubordinate - she may believe passionately in each thing she challenges her superior officers about, including the Captain, but she's in a military hierarchy, and the Captain is described as "hard but fair". she would've been formally reprimanded and punished for her insubordination, not just given a bit of a talking to. and the cultural backgrounds of the various characters seem picked randomly, expressed through cliched dialogue and mannerisms, and in many cases could've been swapped around without making the characters any more or less believable. two of the women seem like padding just so Our Heroine isn't the only woman. and yes, Our Heroine is a bit of a Mary Sue. such a crack shot, and such a dedicated professional soldier (although she doesn't seem to have ever learned unarmed combat, despite being in a national and then international defence force). I don't have a problem with the mystical touches in the Captain's dreams of his mother and grandmother. they're not resolved, but this is the first of a series. I don't really care what they're trying to warn him about, or whether they're actually ghosts, memories, his subconscious, or his psychic ability inherited from his Black New Orleans ancestors (implication being that his maternal line were vaudun practitioners some way back). the romance is a bit formulaic - what a lovely man; he is ever so nice, and is ethical, kind and brave. Our Heroine is shocked to find herself gazing at his arms, and his eyes, and other bits of his person, and then having feelings for him; this has never happened with a colleague before. uhuh. some readers felt the final section was unnecessary and anti-climactic, but given what we find out about why the Aurora was sent on the mission and what was expected to happen to them, and how different the outcome was, I was happy to spend the time reading how the top brass responded to all that, and what decisions were made. and the Big Secret on the Darwin. mm, not really convinced by the science, or the characters there, either. it wouldn't surprise me if this book (and maybe the series) was optioned for adaptation to film, though - it has the elements of a blockbuster sci fi action thriller.

  • Online Eccentric Librarian
    2019-04-15 10:45

    More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog is a decently, if densely, written military science fiction with uneven pacing and quite a bit of egregious violence. It is also a strange throwback to an era where the military is all macho, women are supposed to weak and are sex objects, everyone takes note of color of skin and nationality, and homophobia is common. And there is a strange paranormal undercurrent as well.The story is told from two perspectives: Captain Harris of the Aurora and new recruit Carrie Welles. Harris, whose duties in the UNF typically deal with taking care of pirates, is abruptly pulled off leave and assigned to find out why a science research station near Mars has ceased communication. He's also inexplicably assigned the first three women into military space service, ostensibly as a PR stunt, and one of them being sharpshooter Carrie Welles. What they find on the station hints at corruption high up and horrors they could not have expected on what should have been a routine mission. A low key romance between Carrie and the ship's young and attractive doc ensues.The pacing was kind of frustrating for me. For the first 70% of the book, pretty much nothing happens. They practice target shooting, do locker checks, get annoyed with each other, and not so subtle hints about what they are going to find on the station are dropped with a thud into the story. When the action finally does happen near the end, it never really takes off and sputters frequently. This should have been a heart stopping thriller/horror (with admittedly, not the most original of futuristic plot devices, but at least it doesn't involve aliens) but instead it just ended up with a lot of people being brutalized/murdered/injured/assaulted in very unpleasant ways.I admit, I was fairly bored through most of it and trying to skip through but it was so densely written that it was difficult, making it even more of a frustrating read. As well, the paranormal elements really felt left field in a military sci fi of science gone awry - and didn't add to the story in any way.I read book 1 and book 2 at the same time and book 2 segues right into more gory violence with a bit of torture porn thrown in for laughs. It was a bit too much for me - I wanted military sci fi with action and not a 'grunts in space' for 3/4 of the book and then suddenly horror and violence leaving me queasy. Then a really weird romance in the middle that completely emasculates our female character and turns her into a "does he love me or does he not?" mope.So, no, not a terrible book, hence the 3 star rating. And one I think that others will definitely enjoy. Unfortunately, after 2 books, I am going to leave the series.

  • Anni (Tea in the Treetops)
    2019-03-25 07:36

    It’s been a while since I read a proper hard military sci-fi. Often they are cold, violent stories with few realistic characters, and while Aurora: Darwin doesn't hold back with the violence, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with the crew of the Aurora before the action starts. I was even a bit disappointed when they arrived at the Darwin because I was quite enjoying reading about how the original crew were reacting to suddenly having three women in their previously all-male domain.The story is told from two alternating points of view – Captain Saul Harris, who knows something is up with this mission even before he accepts it, and Corporal Carrie Welles, a young Aussie sharpshooter, new to Space Duty but desperate to fit in and prove her usefulness. The rest of the crew are various nationalities and backgrounds, including the two other women sent along with this mission as a supposed PR exercise.There were a few things about this story that I didn't really buy. Firstly, several of the crew members of the Aurora question orders, including Captain Harris. Now, I'm no military expert, but I'm fairly sure that orders aren't there to be questioned and in the real Earthly armed forces you’d get your arse kicked pretty severely if you defied orders as much as Carrie does. Then there was the Darwin. If your crew had just been attacked by vicious hostiles of unknown abilities and you knew they were locked off your ship, why go back in after them? Especially when there’s backup on the way! I just couldn't understand why they were so keen to get back into the Darwin and find the baddies, when they were pretty obviously out-gunned. I mean I realise it wouldn't have been such a great story if they’d held back, but it just seemed like a really dumb decision to me. One last thing that I didn't like so much was the ending – without giving anything away, the story peaks at about the 80% mark and I was rather underwhelmed by such an anticlimactic wrap-up after that.Plot problems aside, I really enjoyed reading this story. The action scenes were great and although the character-building scenes slowed the pace a little at times, the tension was kept high throughout the story and it’s pretty nail-bitingly scary at times! The characters themselves are interesting and their relationships and banter are what made this story a really enjoyable read.I'd recommend Aurora: Darwin to anyone who likes their sci-fi to be about realistic people, and not overly technical. There’s a sequel on it's way later in 2013 – Aurora: Pegasus. I’ll be interested to hear what the Aurora's crew get up to next.This review was originally posted on The Oaken Bookcase as part of the Discover Aussie Fantasy month in July 2013.

  • Elizabeth Fitzgerald
    2019-04-08 16:03

    Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.What's the first thing I do after signing up for a fantasy reading challenge? Why, dive into some science fiction, of course! What makes this weirder is that I'm not a huge sci-fi reader. However, Amanda and I travel in some of the same circles, so when there was an opportunity to check out the first of her series on NetGalley I decided to give it a go.I'm glad I did. If you're the sort of person who wants to know how gravity is generated on board the Aurora or why the spaceship is so big in comparison to current technology, this is not going to be the book for you. This is soft sci-fi, preferring to concentrate on the relationships between characters rather than scientific details. It particularly touches on what it is like to be a woman in a male-dominated sphere.Carrie is a relatively likeable character, being hard-working and passionate. She also has her flaws, one of which is a huge chip on her shoulder. Of the three female recruits to the Aurora, she is the one that deals most poorly with the harassment she receives at the hands of the other crew members. This may be because she is the only female recruit who specialises in combat--being a sharp-shooter--and she strives to prove she is just as good as her male counterparts at everything, even when her petite build makes that physically impossible. She verges on annoyingly foolish sometimes with the way she argues with her superior officers, but she gained back some respect from me by being quick to admit her mistakes.There is a diverse mix of races and nationalities among the other crew members but I found the characterisation to be a bit shallow. Class differences came a little more into play, but the focus was very much on binary gender differences in a heterosexual context. This focus was somewhat integral to the plot but I hope to see more genuine diversity later in the series.The beginning was a little rough and verged on info-dumping in places, especially when it came to setting the scene of Fort Centralis. There was also some awkwardness with abbreviations and acronyms that were mentioned once and then never come up again in the novel. However, once it got started, it was well-paced and I devoured it in no time. Some may feel the wrap-up was a bit drawn out, but I felt it held the tension well and played to that focus on character relationships, though there were elements I didn't agree with.Safe to say I'm hooked. I've already snagged the next two in the series and am looking forward to diving in.This review first appeared on Earl Grey Editing.

  • Jen
    2019-04-21 10:35

    Aurora: Darwin is Bridgeman's debut novel and the first in a projected series. When Captain Saul Harris is summoned from leave and given a new mission, he is already a little uneasy. He and his crew are to visit a black ops space station with communication problems and determine if that is all that is wrong. Harris and his crew are not usually sent on minor assignments involving communications. The details of the mission leave a lot of questions unanswered and Captain Harris a little concerned about all that is not being said. He is being deliberately kept in the dark about the situation, and to add to his discomfort, he is ordered to take on three new crew members--women.Corporal Carrie Welles is one of the women--thrilled to have her first opportunity on space duty. She is delighted to be included on the mission and eager to depart, but Welles and the other two women are not going to be easily accepted as part of the crew. On arriving at their destination, Captain Harris' uneasiness increases. Although the premise of the mission is simple, the dark station gives him pause, making him especially cautious."The lights are off. But somebody is at home."Fast-paced and exciting, suspense builds as the crew fights something they never expected. The initial reservations of the men concerning the women as part of their crew lessens, and a sense of camaraderie and mutual dependence develops. They must work together to survive.The lack of military discipline, especially on the part of Carrie and a couple of soldiers toward the end bothered me, but the novel was a fast and enjoyable read.An interesting debut novel by Amanda Bridgeman...with more to come.NetGalley/Pan Macmillan.Science fiction. May 2013. Print version: 523 pages.

  • Steven Cole
    2019-04-20 15:38

    I received this book as part of the Goodreads first-reads program, which means: free!But hm. So this is sort of supposed to be military sci-fi, but it feels that way only in the way it hits all of the most negative of military stereotypes. The misogyny was so thick you could cut it with a knife. We had our protagonist, a woman with a military father, joining an existing all-male team (along with another pair of women) as an “experiment” in how women do in the military. The men all acted cringingly awful toward the women. And the women didn’t help, as the “inner monologue” that seemed to go on was all about which features of the men were attractive.What is Bridgeman trying to accomplish with this? Is it a statement against sexism? It really doesn’t work. Even the most dated sci-fi treats women with misplaced protectionism. Not this unrealistic passive-aggressive nonsense. All we got here were characters to dislike. In the 2010s, I expect my future-facing fiction to show improvement in gender relationships. Not back-sliding.And the length! Good grief this book is long. Finally, about four hundred pages in, the plot actually started to get interesting. But seriously, 400 pages? It was way too long. And the physics! Let me just slam my head into the wall. We can hand wave away a lot, but when the characters themselves don’t even have a reasonable grasps of things as simple as distance between planetary objects, it just falls apart.Was it a good book? No, not really. It got interesting about two thirds of the way in, but really, that’s too late. That ‘interstingness’ keeps the rating at three stars, but there are a lot of parts of this one dragging it down.3 of 5 stars.

  • Lily Malone
    2019-03-27 13:37

    Disclaimer: I won the Aurora series (first 3 print books) in a giveaway.In my time, I've loved a lot of Sci-Fi movies (Alien is a huge fave, plus all the Star Wars and things like Total Recall, Pitch Black, Chronicles of Riddick etc) ok, anything with Vin Diesel (drool). So when I heard I'd won these books, I thought: "awesome".Amanda Bridgeman has built a credible and intriguing world with the Aurora series. The tension leading up to the fights on the Darwin space station were really well done, as were the interactions between the crew of the Aurora - who aren't prepared for 3 female soldiers to join them on their mission.My only problems (and they weren't really problems): I felt it took a very long time for the crew to reach their destination (the Darwin). Much of the opening of the book is used for backstory and characterisation for the crew on the Aurora. I did enjoy this part of the book, I just felt it might have been handled quicker.My only other issue was, I felt the team escaped the Darwin too easily. When the crew is intercepted (having thought they'd escaped the Darwin), I was fully expecting they would somehow find themselves betrayed by mission control, and back on the Darwin once again. When this didn't happen, it meant the ending became very drawn out for me.As far as Ms Bridgeman's writing style goes - I feel like her action scenes are excellent, and her portrayal of a male crew which suddenly finds itself 'babysitting' 3 females - very well done. I could really see the reactions these women got in a real sense.So - I've started Book 2: Pegasus. I finished Darwin in just a few nights of reading and particularly during the middle of the book, it was an absolute page-turner for me.

  • Sean Randall
    2019-04-20 11:46

    This sounded good, from the synopsis, and I'm not saying it wouldn't suit some people. For my own taste, 227 uses of the word fuck is a real off-putter, especially when the prospect of a single cigarette causes genuine consternation among the characters. The machismo was worryingly flat, characterisation bland, the plot slow and the UNF organisation seems silly, ineffectual and disturbingly reckless.Space seemed to be incidental to the whole story; which I understand in a not wanting to focus on the SF angle kind of a way. However, there was no description of any technology, simply a reliance on "high-pitched beeps" and "whooshing" noises. Everything seemed a bit slapdash as well; the captain just seemed to decide to have a training exercise, was a nice guy and a complete asshole the next minute because of orders he received, but then proceeded to pretty much shaft his crew in the same way by handing out his own inexplicable orders. There were three female officers, but it was evident only one was of real interest and the rest were just padding. This book tried for several angles; military sci-fi, a bit of spaceship stuff, a little space operatic romance with a small court martial drama added in. It succeeded in a very vague, limp way at all of these, but so pitifully as to not be worth reading it for any of those aspects on their own.To sum, disappointing. Not my sort of thing.

  • Todd Simpson
    2019-04-19 15:58

    Thoroughly entertaining. It doesn’t take long to realise that Amanda Bridgeman has an obvious talent for writing Sci-Fi books. I really enjoyed the plot. Especially since it had me guessing, with what was going to happen from one moment to the next. I really liked not knowing what was going to happen at the Space Station. Captain Saul Harris is a bit surprised when he’s told him, that he and his crew are being sent to investigate a distress beacon on a small Scientific Space Station. It’s even more surprising when he’s told there will be 3 new females joining his crew. Colonel Isaack isn’t sure what the problem is on the station, but they have lost communication, and have no other way of finding out what is going on. The powers to be aren’t quite prepared to tell Captain Harris what the Darwin Space station is used for, besides that it’s classified, and biological in nature. They are very keen to keep this quiet, as they don’t want any negative publicity involving space. Especially with the plans for establishing a colony on Mars. With scientific experiments being carried out at the station, they may be in for a surprise in what they find. I really enjoyed the background the Author has put into each character, and I loved the anticipation of not knowing what the crew would encounter on the Darwin. This is a memorable book and certainly well worth reading. Great characters, and a very interesting and entertaining story.

  • Rick Keuning
    2019-04-09 11:49

    I first encountered Amanda Bridgeman at the new authors show case at Conflux 8 back in April. This got me interested enough to buy her newly published book, Aurora: Darwin. It took be a while to read it, but I’m glad I did.Aurora: Darwin is a good book.As it is clearly the first book in a series it spends a fair chunk of the book establishing the characters and setting the scene. This was done very well, I almost never got bored or tempted to skip a bit. I wanted to know about them. There was just one thing I found odd. This was the incredible tension causes by the women being introduced to the military space ship. I did not ring true to me that there would still be such incredible prejudice against women in the military in the future. Perhaps I’m just a bit to idealistic.Things really ramp up when the story reaches the Darwin space station; lots of great tension and plenty of well written action scenes. There were just a few times when I had to pause in an action sense, and reread a bit, to get a clear picture of what was happening. Over all, Aurora: Darwin is a great read, well worth consideration by every Scifi reader. Book two in the series, Aurora: Pegasus, is coming out on the 1st of December and really looking forward to reading it.

  • Justin Woolley
    2019-03-23 12:52

    I think the best way to describe Aurora: Darwin is as the love child of Battlestar Galactica and Alien (just without aliens). The reason I say that is Bridgeman writes the military space-opera of life aboard the Aurora and the interplay between the crew very well, particularly when it comes to the dynamics developing around the introduction of new female recruits. This reminded me of that Battlestar-type focus on the crew's daily life. We get to know them as people rather than just a bunch of generic space cowboys. Then, once they reach the Darwin station the threat they face is reminiscent of the overpowered, stalking and frightening danger in Alien. I have to say I found the book a little slow going at first but once the crew reach the Darwin it really ramps up into a cracking action-packed sci-fi read. There is a lot of character establishment early but it lays the foundations not just for what happens later in this book but, I imagine, for the series as a whole.If you're a fan of military space-opera this book should definitely be on your space radar. I'm looking forward to seeing where the series goes. We learn at the end of this book that there's a lot more in store for the Aurora crew and I'm definitely on board for the next Aurora mission.

  • Jason Franks
    2019-04-15 10:48

    Cracking action-packed space opera by debut author Amanda Bridgeman.With the POV sections divided between optimistic young recruit Carrie Wells and the ship's grizzled captain Saul Harris, Bridgeman gives us a terrific view of life on board the ship and the place of the individual crews in the UNF organization. The book is a bit slow through the first half as Bridgeman carefully introduces all of the characters and sets up the relationships between them. There's quite a large cast and it's great to see so much attention given to all of them.Once the crew arrives on the space station the pace really picks up. The enemy 'Jumbos' are also nicely distinct characters; threatening and clever and genuinely cool.I was particularly pleased that the book didn't just give us some explodey and a straightforward ending. The debriefing is just as gripping and suspenseful as the action.Terrific stuff. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

  • Mark Harding
    2019-03-23 09:01

    Aurora: Darwin is great military sci-fi in the style of Leviathan Wakes or Aliens. Amanda Bridgeman constructs a very convincing not-too-distant future in which the furthest reaches of human explored space are populated by military and research space stations and bases. When contact is lost with the station known as Darwin, a team of Space Duty soldiers are sent to investigate. But there are last minute additions to the team in the form of three female recruits, and these sorts of missions don't normally include women. There's great character development as the girls have to prove themselves as team members and clash with the established soldiers. The two main characters, Harris and Welles, are well rounded and interesting. And once the action begins, it doesn't let up. This is a great novel that I would recommend to anyone who likes good military sci-fi.

  • Steve P Vincent
    2019-04-13 07:57

    A rollicking, Big Mac sized space opera that builds the tension through the first third of the book, then punches you in the mouth while you beg for more. Alien without the aliens, I could see the parallels between the Aurora crew tracking bad guys using head sensors and Ripley’s squad doing the same for critters. A steep learning curve in terms of the number of characters, but once I found my feet I learned to love pretty much all of them. Layers of complexity I look forward to peeling back in future books in this series. Hard to believe this was the first book in the series. If the stakes were this high in the first run through, what’s in store next?Recommended. Available from where all good ebooks are sold.

  • Maddalena
    2019-04-15 08:00

    I won this book and its twin Aurora: Pegasus in a giveaway contest. My thanks to Momentum Books for this opportunity and to SF Signal (one of my favorite places for information and reviews on spec-fic books) for hosting the contest.Unfortunately I have to confess I could not finish this book, even though I tried hard, doing my best to hold on until the middle of it: it did not work for me on several levels - plot, characterization and a few writing choices. I'm quite sorry about it, because it sounded very promising and I always try to keep my mind open for new, emerging authors, but after a while the struggle became too much.Full review here:

  • Bob Forsythe
    2019-03-29 12:46

    i cannot say enough about how disappointing this book was. First off, there is no science of any fashion present. The book is merely a pulp romance set "in space". The characters are shallow caricatures in every respect, the writers view of the future is consistent with sf written 50 years ago, to the point that the technology described is literally already obsolete. I mean, knobs on a control console? Worse, the story is supposed to be a military adventure and the writer not only knows nothing about the military but has made no effort to learn. This book would be not be worth reading if it was free. .