Book Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Rating: 5/5

What It’s About:

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm. A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates. A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder. An alien warrior with anger management issues. A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering.

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.

amiekaufman.com
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Before I get started:

Aurora Rising is officially my favorite book of 2021 (so far). I normally stay away from the science fiction genre but I’m glad I took a chance on this one. It was a fast paced adventure from beginning to end. I’m going to split my review into two types. A short and snappy bullet point list followed by a more detailed review. Because honestly, my experience reading this book was so much fun that I don’t even know where to begin.

What I liked:

  • the beautiful cover with the vivid colors, illustrations, and design
  • the diverse main characters with interesting backstories
  • the approachable level of science/space stuff for readers like me
  • the mix of drama, humor, action, romance, and plot twists
  • the themes of being an outcast, chosen family, taking risks, facing fears, having faith, good vs. evil

What I didn’t like:

  • the length of the book
  • the sometimes corny humor
  • the multiple POVs

Detailed Review

I’ve avoided this book for a while because as I mentioned earlier, science fiction is not really my thing. I think I had bought it on an impulse because I loved the cover, it was on sale, and had good reviews. Aurora Rising is book one of the Aurora Cycle Trilogy. While I was reading this book, I remember thinking that this would be a great tv series…and it turns out that it’s in the works!

I’ve seen several readers compare this group of characters to The Breakfast Club, and I can see the similarities. Guardians of the Galaxy also comes to mind. I liked that they were different races, and had a variety of personality traits, and backstories. The story is told from each of the character’s first person point of view. It was interesting to experience what was going on through their eyes. However, the multiple POVs could be a little disorienting at times because I would forget who’s POV I was reading (there are 6 different characters in the crew!). But since each character had their own voice in how they told the story, I was able to figure it out. In the beginning, there was alot of mistrust, misconceptions and prejudice between the characters but their team bond grows as the story progresses.

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Aurora Rising had so much that kept me invested throughout the book. The descriptions of the scenes were so engaging and completely drew me in. There was one instance where I was reading while my husband was watching tv, and he asked me “why are you all hunched over like that?” and I laughed and told him “this is a really good scene!” 😆 I remember I frequently reacting out loud while reading and that doesn’t happen to me often. This book had parts that were surprising, funny, sad, heart-pounding, and nerve-racking. There are two romance story lines in this book. One romance between two characters that were childhood friends was hinted at for a majority of the book until towards the end. The other was kind of instant love/mating bond, which normally is kind of weird, but only one character felt the bond instinct while the other character wanted to take their time to get to know each other (and both parties did agree to get to know each other better first).

One thing that helped me alot was the inclusion of one to two page “information entries” from a technical communication device used in the story, called Magellan. Each entry gave background information on topics in the story, such as squad jobs/roles, organization information, species, historical events, etc. Having these inserted throughout the story helped me understand the world better without having to think too much. That’s one thing about fantasy and sci-fi books that can be daunting is having to figure out how that particular world works. So it was nice for me to have that extra help!

Aurora Rising is a long book, clocking in at 473 pages. After I finished reading it, I felt like I had just completed a marathon. At about 80% of the way, I was so tired that I started skimming parts to get it over with and also to hurry up find out what happened at the end. There were definitely some sections of the book that were drawn out longer than they needed to be. My last thing that I didn’t really like about this book was the humor. Well…I enjoyed the humor overall, but the jokes and sarcasm sometimes felt juvenile and kind corny…but then again this book is written for a young adult audience so it could just be my age showing. 😜

Overall Thoughts

Before picking up Aurora Rising, I had just finished reading a historical fiction set in the mid to late 1800’s. So it was a nice change in book types that came at just the right time for me. I loved the action, adventure, and characters. And while it had some flaws, I thought it was an entertaining read and is one of my favorite books so far this year. If the books weren’t so long (the second book is 495 pages 😫) I would probably consider continuing the series (which is a big deal because I don’t really read books series anymore).

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought.

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