ARC Review: ESCAPE FROM AURORA by Jamie Littler (Middle Grade Monday)

I received an eARC from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: Yes - second book

*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for FROSTHEART*

Synopsis:

Book cover for FROSTHEART 2 ESCAPE FROM AURORA: title in spiky yellow on green above a boy in a circle with a purple background

Ash and the rest of the Frostheart’s brave crew have finally arrived at the majestic stronghold of Aurora – and Ash’s mind is blown. It’s an extraordinary place – unlike anything he’s ever seen – and he can’t wait to solve the next clue that will lead him to his parents. But it’s quickly clear that even Aurora isn’t safe for Song Weavers. A fanatical Pathfinder captain has turned the city against Ash and his kind – and it’s not long before the Frostheart has to make another break for freedom.

But when a vicious Wraith attack leaves Ash, Lunah, Rook and Tobu stranded on the ice, they will have to use all their strength and cunning to reach safety. But what they find is even more incredible.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

The title of this book is quite deceiving, as is the blurb. They’re only in Aurora for about a third of the book, and getting out of there is actually relatively easy for them. From the blurb and title, I was expecting an adventure in the city itself, full of danger and stymied attempts to leave, with a big final escape in the third act that then lead to a discovery to kickstart the next book (which I am assuming is a trilogy. There definitely is another book coming)

This is absolutely not what happened. Instead, the book is a quest to find the hidden city of Solstice, which takes Ash and the crew of the Frostheart all across the world in the second two acts of the book. I love quests, and I really enjoyed this book as Ash unravels a riddle to search for the city where his father might be. However, I wish it was packaged better so I’d known it was a quest book rather than a prison escape book. It took a while to get past the disappointment of unfulfilled expectation, hence it’s not five stars.

Once I’d gotten past that, it was a really nice book. Ash is learning about his gift, and uncovering some secrets at the heart of his world. It’s a tried and tested idea for a second book, but it works so well. It’s a chance to dig deeper into the world building and increase the stakes.

This book is illustrated, once again by Jamie Littler himself. Usually, illustrations cause HAVOC in eARCs (which are notorious for having poor formatting even when they’re text only). However, this was one of those rare eARCs that was formatted fine, which meant not only was it easy to read, but I could also appreciate the images. They weren’t cut up into six pieces and scattered around.

Naturally, being on a digital reader, the images were quite small and they weren’t integrated with the text the way they would be in the book (the images are between paragraphs in this), so I couldn’t appreciate the full affect of them, but they look as dynamic and fun as before. I really like this art style, and it’s an effective world building tool.

The ending sets up an interesting dilemma for the next book – and brings Ash one step closer to finding his parents…


Read my reviews of other books by Jamie Littler:

Frostheart (this series):

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