Book Review: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1)

Title: Aurora Rising

Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Pub. Date: May 7, 2019

Pages: 473

Pub: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Genre: YA SFF

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible. Y’all let me sleep on this book for two years. This is Farscape meets Stargate and that’s my shit. If you know me, you know how much I love Farscape and if you haven’t watched it yet, and you loved this book, go watch it. If you haven’t seen Stargate (which is a pretty expansive franchise) and you loved this book, go watch it. It was so wonderful to see the nods (intention or not, I don’t know) to these shows. I loved this book.

Why did I wait so long to dive into this?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Even though I know they’re not connected any further than who wrote them, I haven’t finished the Illuminae Files (yes, I’m ashamed) I didn’t want to touch Aurora Rising. It’s irrational and dumb, but here we are, and I hate myself for waiting so long.

I don’t know what to say except read this book – though I’m so late in reading it, y’all have probably already read it. I will say that the audiobook production is phenomenal. Like, a straight up movie in your head – a full cast, acting, different effects – and it all makes it truly come to life. If you’ve been putting off this book/series, I highly recommend going the audiobook route – you won’t regret it.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book. I figure it was going to be good, just based on the track record of the co-authors who wrote it, and it is. It definitely lives up to the hype. And like I said, it feels reminiscent of Farscape and Stargate (ahem, puddle jumpers, I see what you did and I approve).

I loved the cast of characters. Straight off the bat, Tyler is fantastic, and I would totally fall in love with him if I existed in this world. Aurora is scary adorable, and I feel for her. Kal is…intense but give me a Space Elf and I’m sold. (Legit I loved that Aurora called him Elrond and Legolas – had me cracking up at work.) Scarlet is amazing and I love her confidence and power. Finn is to be protected at all costs because he’s my favorite. His brand of let me hit on anything that breaths and snark is amazing, and I honestly can’t get enough. Zila is an interesting contrast to everyone else, and I really loved how analytical she was. (And now with being almost done Aurora Burning) I appreciate her character so much more, and I really love how she rounds out the group. She’s so capable and I love her earrings. Now, I have mixed feelings about Kat – based on how the book ends, I grew to like her, but I spent most of this book finding her incredibly annoying.

I loved how these people really didn’t choose each other – that most were forced together due to circumstances. But they didn’t stay strangers for long, and the bonds they formed along the way were so sweet. And to see the growth in the characters…Kaufman and Kristoff know what they’re doing. I also love Magellan, and his little inputs – his chapters. I love that Kaufman and Kristoff do these sorts of things to tell their SF stories – that they basically give Tech a voice and make the AI a character that you enjoy reading.

I was immediately sucked into this book, and directly upon finishing, I dove into the second one. I love the world, the high stakes journey, the quest into the unknown, the ragtag team who against all odds are going to save the universe…this is the kind space SF that I love. You’re sucked into this futuristic world that just comes to life, and I honestly can’t get enough. Kaufman and Kristoff have proven once again that they can write and tell a story that hooks you, engages you and leaves you emotionally wrecked and I’m here for it.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1)

  1. The audiobooks are amazing with the full cast and sound effects (and it especially doesn’t hurt that Steve West is Kal). I really enjoyed both of them and can’t wait for the next one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m dying for the next book. That ending…
      I had to go look up who Steve West is – because I didn’t pay attention to who narrated, just that I loved who they chose. 🙈


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