Book Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Publishing Info: May 2019 by Rock the Boat

Pages: 470

Star Rating: 4.5/5

Back Cover Summary:

It’s 2380 and the graduating students of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Tyler Jones has been a star pupil who hopes to recruit the squad of his dreams but ends up with a mixed and volatile crew.

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem – that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

Vividly told in the seven voices of the team members, this is fast-paced, action-packed, wickedly humorous and fabulously entertaining.

Having absolutely loved Illuminae, it was a bit of a no-brainer for me to pick up the first in Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s new YA sci-fi series. Although it didn’t blow my socks off in quite the same way Illuminae did, Aurora Rising is a superb novel and a new favourite. I felt completely immersed in the futuristic world.  

Aurora Rising kicks off all guns blazing and hardly slows throughout the novel. I was gripped all the way through and didn’t want to put it down. The characters that make up Squad 312 and the dynamics between them are great. The group are thrown together at the beginning of the novel and forced to work together. I loved seeing their relationships develop slowly over the course of the story. The banter between them is hilarious. I found myself smiling through most of it which made it such a fun read. But then I also found myself with tears in my eyes at the end!

All the characters have interesting stories and the situations they’re thrown into are challenging for each of them in different ways. I loved how sassy and confident Scarlett is, yet also sensitive. Finian always has a comeback or witty quip, but there seems to be more to him under the surface. He’s also disabled and wears an exosuit, so I really appreciated the disability rep there as it was really well done. Cat is a bit hot-headed but also fiercely loyal to her best friend and leader, Tyler. Zila a quiet genius but there’s a lot we don’t know about her. Kal is a warrior fighting with his own nature. Auri is a girl out of time, unfamiliar with this big, new world and finds herself joining the squad. Tyler is their leader and a stickler for the rules, so when their mission goes off-course he has a good dose of conflict.

I loved this book so much I don’t have many negative things to say. But there are a couple of things that prevented me being able to give it five stars. The fast pace means there isn’t much time to get to know the characters in much depth, especially since there is such a big cast. Some of them I felt I understood better than others. We don’t get a deep insight into any of the characters because there are so many of them in what is a fairly short novel. I hope we get to know more about them in the sequel, especially Zila who is quite mysterious but seems to be opening up by the end.

Speaking of the ending. Part of it is told from an unusual perspective, which is really interesting and effective (that’s all I can vaguely say without giving everything away). However the narrative then skips to the final chapter after the action, when there was potential for another chapter in between that could have been very exciting and suspenseful. This seemed like an odd choice to me personally. Others might not be bothered by it.

I wish there was more YA sci-fi set in space because it turns out I seem to love these kinds of stories! But that shouldn’t really come as a surprise since I love sci-fi films like Star Wars. I’m eagerly anticipating the release of the sequel, Aurora Burning, next month.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

  1. I agree with you, this one was not as good as Illuminae but this is still a very good book! And I can’t wait to pick up the sequel very soon!
    Great review!


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