Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Review of The Apollo Academy by Kimberly P. Chase

As the heiress to Titon Technologies, eighteen-year-old Aurora Titon can have whatever she wants—clothes, expensive gadgets, anything money can buy. All she really wants is to escape her pampered, paparazzi-prone life for the stars. Becoming the first female pilot to train as an astronaut for the Apollo Academy is exactly the chance for which she has been waiting. Everything would be perfect if it weren't 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 first in a four book new adult science fiction series, The Apollo Academy, is an action packed story of love, discovery, and survival.

 *summary from Goodreads

 My Review**
The Apollo Academy is the first New Adult book I've read. I wasn't sure what to expect from a book in a genre that is still at its heart finding its place in the market. But when I read the summary referencing, astronaut training, female pilots, and hot boys, I instantly knew I needed to get my hands on this book. And I was not disappointed, in fact I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Zane and Aurora are multidimensional characters from two different ends of the spectrum. But at their cores, they both want the same thing--to blend in. As heiress to the Titon Technologies, Aurora is always in the spotlight, the last place she wants to be. Aurora dreams of being a pilot at The Apollo Academy. However, her goal takes her out of one spotlight and thrust her into another, as the first and only female pilot to enter the program. Despite all the claims that Aurora's father bought her a spot in the program, she is determined to prove she gained entry on her own merits and surpass every challenge laid out for her. Her sheer determination while proving herself time and time again was not only a quality that I loved but also something I identified with as a female engineer.

As an unknown Zane is constantly scraping to get by. He wants nothing more than his status as an unknown to be erased and join society as a normal citizen. Entry into The Apollo Academy is his only chance to make something of himself and elevate his unknown status. Although his strong aptitude for tech might be his ticket into the academy, he faces a different set of challenges. Unknowns usually aren't permitted in the academy and if anyone finds out his real status, it could mean hell for Zane. Not to mention hiding a genetic anomaly that could get him kicked out of training and ruin his chances at a normal life. Despite all his struggles early on, Zane seems to adapt well to his surroundings and is extremely likeable from the moment he steps onto the page. He's a fighter in a much different way than Aurora, and he isn't afraid to get his hands dirty in the process.

Despite their vastly different backgrounds Zane and Aurora seem inexplicably drawn to each other. Even with their secrets, each sees the other for who they truly are rather than what the rest of the world does. But each stands to lose a lot by getting involved with the other. Aurora doesn't need any additional distractions in her training. It's bad enough that her attractive flight instructor, Sky is always on her case. And Zane has his secrets to maintain too. Not to mention a girl like Aurora would never date a guy like Zane or would she?

The further into training Zane and Aurora go, the more challenges they are faced with. In addition to hiding secrets, Aurora finds her life in danger when several training missions go wrong. It looks like Terra United, an extremist group bent on stopping the moon mining missions, could be behind the attacks but there are others who just think the incidents were simple accidents. Zane's inexplicable need to protect Aurora draws him into the mysterious mishaps, and they both need Sky's help to get a closer look at the situation. But Sky has secrets of his own and no one is sure who they can trust.

As The Apollo Academy unfolds, the reader is faced with secrets, steamy, tension-filled romance, and the excitement of astronaut training. The book is well paced and told in three POV's. Although I'm not sure Sky's POV was needed throughout the story, I still found his voice unique and interesting. That said, I was immediately drawn to Aurora and Zane's stories and the two of them really kept me flipping the pages. Aurora and Zane left me constantly guessing who they could trust, including each other. As an engineer I enjoyed the aerospace and pilot elements tied into the book. I contemplated the science surrounding mining the moon and the potential risks it could have for Earth, but not so much so that it detracted from the story. I found myself wanting to know more about Terra United's side of the story and am hoping it is touched on in future books. All in all, The Apollo Academy is a great book, with a unique setting and premise, characters you can latch on to, and a story that reels you in and doesn't let go. I give it 4 stars.

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