Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – REVIEW
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.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Rock the Boat. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
“Though this pack of losers and discipline cases and sociopaths might’ve been the last picks on anyone’s mind during the Draft, turns out none of them are bad at their jobs.”
If there was ever a book I was going to automatically buy, a new space adventure by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff would be that book. I was one of the lucky readers who received an early review copy and couldn’t wait to dive straight in. If you’re a fan of the Illuminae Files, then you’re going to love Aurora Rising as it has a lot of the elements which made that series so compellingly readable: memorable characters, government conspiracy, space setting, humour and gut-wrenching emotional moments. For those who didn’t like the format of the Illuminae Files or who had visual difficulties with it, you’ll be pleased to hear this book eschews that style in favour of a more traditional narrative.
“My whole life, I’ve been on the outside looking in. A problem. A burden. An aberration. Just like her. And it’s taught me to be sure of one thing. Us outsiders gotta stick together.”
Squad 312 is now my new favourite band of characters. As the squad flees across the galaxy pursued by almost everyone, there were definitely elements of Guardians of the Galaxy but it holds its own thanks to the fast-paced plot, fantastic characters, and world-building. Every character added something to the team dynamics, plus the banter between them all was brilliant. The chapters are written from the alternating viewpoints of each member of the squad plus Aurora and interspersed with helpful explanatory files from AI Magellan (who I loved by the way). Not one character is weaker than the others and I’m looking forward to exploring the backstory of certain characters, particularly Zila, in the sequel.
“I cannot stop being what I am. Instead, I must muster the rage to master it.”
The mystery behind Aurora is the driving force of the action and it leads the squad deeper and deeper into a government conspiracy. One of my favourite parts was the heist which took place on Sempiternity, a trading hub populated by space pirates (if that sentence doesn’t make you want to read this book, then I don’t know what will). This scene exemplifies the skill of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff with great character moments, breathless action, unexpected twists, and their trademark humour. I loved how the book ended, with the squad on the brink of something huge after an emotionally-devastating event. This was an absolutely fantastic story and I highly recommend adding this one to your reading list – you won’t be disappointed.