(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
Take off with this dynamic, thrill-seeking, sexy New Adult Science Fiction series debut. Welcome to the exclusive Apollo Academy, where Aurora is about to discover that achieving her dream is only the first step towards her future.
As the heiress to Titon Technologies, eighteen-year-old Aurora Titon can have whatever she wants—clothes, expensive gadgets, anything money can buy. But all she really wants is to escape her pampered, paparazzi-infested life for the stars. Becoming the first female pilot to train as an astronaut for the exclusive Apollo Academy is exactly the chance for which she has been waiting.
Flying is everything she ever dreamed, her best friend also got into the Academy, and the paparazzi is banned from campus. Everything would be perfect, but for her unreciprocated crush on a fellow student, the sexy astronaut bent on making her life hell, and the fact that someone keeps trying to kill her.
The most important education doesn’t happen in the classroom…
[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
I’ll admit that I was a little wary about requesting anything described as a “sexy New Adult Science Fiction series debut”. I haven’t read much New Adult fiction but my experiences have been mixed with it to say the least. However, I’ve requested a lot of books from this publisher Escape Publishing and I’ve liked every single one so I decided to give it a chance because of the rest of the blurb. In the end I’m so glad I did.
Aurora Titon is an heiress to a technology empire built on the backs of the poor, who indulge in virtual reality classes in order to escape the reality of their dying world. She knows that her father’s business practices have been unethical to say the least and so she’s determined to make a difference, to do something worthwhile with her life. As a child she discovered that this was flying but the problem is that the very exclusive Apollo Academy has never had a female pilot before. Aurora could obviously bribe her way in with her dad’s help but she wants to earn her spot as a pilot. Once she’s there, things really got interesting as she tried to gain acceptance and respect. Of course the instructor, Sky, seems determined to make her life a nightmare while someone seems to be trying to kill her. This sounds like a pretty typical futuristic mystery story but it’s Aurora’s character that makes her really stand out. She’s determined to earn her place at the Apollo Academy but in the beginning she also shows a bit of her spoiled background. As her skills build and she learns more about the Academy’s mission, she becomes just a little bit more humble and more likely to reach out to people to try to understand them. Aurora wasn’t a horrible person at the beginning of the book but she did change for the better by the end.
One of the things I enjoyed other than Aurora’s character was the realistic love triangle. My regular readers know that I hate love triangles with a passion but this one between Aurora, Zane and Sky was actually realistic and relatively believable. Zane tries to keep things between himself and Aurora platonic because he has a bad background that he’s trying to overcome but the attraction between them is undeniable. At the same time, the Academy’s golden son Sky is also hiding his own secrets, including his attraction to Aurora. When someone keeps trying to kill Aurora, it was really gratifying to see the two men actually work together with minimal masculine posturing; they put aside their differences. What a novel idea! I don’t want to give too much of the plot away but let’s just say that every character is hiding something and it gets pretty interesting when the cards they’re playing close to the chest are revealed.
Other than the realistic love triangle (those words are almost an oxymoron, I know) what really surprised me was the world-building. When you picture a ‘dying world’ you’re probably picturing a Hunger Games-esque starving world where everything is filthy and falling down. That’s not necessarily untrue in Chase’s world but she also makes a point of contrasting that with the better sections of the city, which are experiencing shortages but aren’t yet in critical mode. The earth is running out of resources and it’s the Apollo Academy’s mission to train astronauts in order to set up colonies on other planets as well as mine those planets for critical resources. Again, I don’t want to give too much away but let’s just say not everyone is super excited about humanity expanding its horizons to the rest of the solar system.
My only real quibble with The Apollo Academy is not the plot in general, but rather the ending. When you’re about halfway through and learn that someone is out to kill Aurora, it’s not hard to guess which student or students it is/are. Kimberly Chase makes it pretty clear who is the likely villain and unfortunately she goes with that likely villain as the actual villain. Most of the book has interesting plot twists and turns but I found that the ending was very predictable. Of course in real life you get scenarios like the one in the book where it’s the obvious suspect but I would have liked to see a better developed villain. Other than that, this is a fantastic debut for the author. The characters are three dimensional and believable, the love triangle is actually realistic and the world-building was pretty darn good. I’d definitely recommend it if you think the blurb sounds interesting.
I give this book 4/5 stars.