Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Posted May 2, 2019 by Lillian in Reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffAurora Rising by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Aurora Cycle #1
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on 2019-05-07
Length: 480 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
4 Flames
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2019, 2019 New Release Challenge

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

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.

I could not sit Aurora Rising down! This is the first book by the writing duo Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff that I’ve read, and it will not be the last. I cannot stress enough how fantastic this book is. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, and then I laughed some more. The diverse characters, the out of this world setting, and the cryptic plot have set the tone for the entire series.

Squad 312

Aurora Rising alternates points of view among the seven main characters: Tyler, Scarlett, Cat, Finnian, Zila, Kal, and Auri. Tyler is the goldenboy and leader of his squad. He’s also the most intense of the characters. Tyler is concerned with leading his team to the best of his and their abilities. He pushes them to the limits, but also knows where those limits are. Scarlett is Tyler’s twin sister and the “Face” of the squad. This designation means that she is like a diplomat/liaison for the group, and she is perfect for the job. Scar has a way about her that puts the other members at ease. Cat is the pilot. She is a no nonsense girl and I love her for it. You never have to wonder what she is thinking. Fin is one of two aliens in the squad. He’s the engineer and comic relief. He has a self-deprecating humor that endears him to the reader. Zila is the “Brain,” meaning she is the smartest person on the ship. However what she has in smarts, she lacks in people skills….which is a lot. Kal is the other alien of the group and the “Tank,” or the guy that goes in to battle for his crew. He’s also the least trusted, and my favorite of the crew. He’s stoic but when you get his POV the first time, you’ll fall for him, trust me 😉

Then there is Auri, or Aurora O’Malley, a girl out of time. Tyler saves her at the beginning of the book. She’s been floating in space for over two hundred years, the only surviving member of her crew. I ached for Auri. She’s grieving the life she lost and people that have been dead centuries, but to her were alive when she went to sleep. It’s heartbreaking, but she faces it headon. I admired her courage throughout the book.

The Trigger

When Auri’s life is entrusted to squad 312 (without their knowledge by the way), the plot thickens. Auri’s life in the past has been erased, but why? And why does the Terran government want her? None of it makes sense to Tyler, but he will follow orders and protect her. Auri is seeing things, things that haven’t happened yet, it is all Tyler has to go on and that is what takes them across the galaxy.

Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff built an amazing world / galaxy in Aurora Rising. The different alien societies that Fin and Kal are a part of are fully established and immersed into the story so that as Auri learns about them the reader will as well. It isn’t info-dumping at all! I naturally accepted them without question as I read. In addition to Fin and Kal, the crew travel to multiple areas of the galaxy encountering different settings and societies in each. Reading, I was engrossed in the story, and it flowed from one section to the next without any holes.

I loved every moment and plot twist! I particularly loved reading the multiple points of view. Sometimes when you have that many characters, it can feel like head hopping and the characters blend together. That is not the case here. Each character is fully fleshed out, and their personality radiates through their chapters. I never forgot who’s head I was in, not once, throughout the entire book.

My Final Thoughts

Overall I loved Aurora Rising from start to finish. I loved it so much that I read the entire 480 pages in less than 48 hours. It is everything I love about science fiction in one pretty package (have y’all seen that cover 😍) The year wait for book two is going to be SO long but absolutely worth it! Perfect for sci-fi fans young and old, Aurora Rising is everything I love about Star Trek with the dry humor and hijinks of Firefly.

About Amie Kaufman

Amie Kaufman is the New York Times and internationally bestselling co-author of The Illuminae Files (Illuminae, Gemina) and the Starbound Trilogy (These Broken Stars, This Shattered World, Their Fractured Light.) Her award-winning books are published in almost 30 countries, and she is based in Melbourne, Australia, where she lives with her husband, their rescue dog, and an extremely large personal library. To learn about her latest releases or be notified about events and signings in your area, you can sign up for her newsletter at

About Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff is the #1 international, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of LIFEL1K3, THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE and THE ILLUMINAE FILES. He is the winner of five Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, has over half a million books in print and is published in over thirty five countries, most of which he has never visited. He is as surprised about all of this as you are. He is 6'7 and has approximately 12,000 days to live.

He does not believe in happy endings.

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