Title: Aurora Rising
Author: Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
Series: The Aurora Cycle #1
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi,
Published: May 7th, 2019 (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Synopsis: 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.
Tyler Jones is about to graduate at the top of his class from the prestigious Aurora Academy, which grants him first pick of cadets for his team. But unable to sleep the night before the Draft, he takes off on a solo space flight and ends up answering an SOS call from the Hadfield, a spaceship that has been lost for over 200 years. And what’s more, there’s someone alive on board – Aurora O’Malley has been cryogenically frozen all these years. But rescuing Auri takes too long, and by the time Tyler makes it back to base, the Draft is over and apart from his sister Scarlett and his best friend Cat, he’s stuck with the troublemakers and social outcasts of the class. Determined to make the best of the situation, Tyler and his squad take off on their first mission, but what appears to be a simple supply run quickly turns strange – and dangerous – as they discover Auri stowed away on board and learn that the Terran forces are after her for some reason.
Going into this book, I wasn’t really sure what to think, since YA Sci-Fi as a genre is still somewhat new to me. It took quite some time for me to get into the story, which also meant it took me way longer than normal to finish this book. I’d say the major reason for that is that the tone of the book is largely geared towards a younger audience – more of teen read than YA, evident in the rather juvenile humour and thought process, especially on Auri’s part. I found her constant Lord of the Rings references out of place and very annoying (and anyone who knows me knows that I adore Lord of the Rings).
Character wise, I really liked that Tyler’s squad was so diverse, although it was suspiciously convenient that the so-called dregs of the class all ended up being rather smart and capable. I enjoyed Cat, Scarlett, and Finian’s POVs the most. Tyler was the golden boy and that’s about it. As for Auri, well, I’m not particularly impressed with her character as of this book, and the only times I found her interesting was when she had one of her creepy episodes. There were points when it was quite difficult to differentiate between the characters as they seemed to overlap. In that sense, Kal’s voice was the easiest to make out since the tone of his thoughts are markedly different from the others.
The other thing I really liked was the world-building, getting to know this futuristic society where space travel is an everyday thing, and understanding the conflicts involved. What I really appreciated was that though there was definitely a lot to take in, it never felt like an info dump at any point. The world-building was subtly done alongside the plot, and Auri’s uniglass Magellan was a nice touch (even if everyone kept telling it to shut up).
Overall, it was an engaging read that sometimes reminded me of sci-fi version of Six of Crows. Aurora Rising is a well written, fast-paced, action-packed space adventure and I’m curious to see what happens in the sequel.
Have you read this book or do you plan to? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Other reviews in this series: