Another possibly incoherent review coming your way!
A huge, HUGE, HUGE thank you to Knopf Books for Young Readers for providing a free digital copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
All quotes are taken from the ARC and may change in the finished copy.
Title: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1)
Author(s): Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release date: May 7, 2019
Genre: Young adult, sci-fi, fantasy
Length: 473 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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.”
“Thing is, impossible always comes with a price.”
Look. I say it all the time: how I’m horrible at making predictions about what will happen at the end of the novel. And when it comes to sci-fi novels, I’m even worse. So when I finally reached the end of this book, I’m just like:
And this was definitely brought on by so many things. The more I read this book, the more I realized it had dashes of some of my favorite sci-fi series like Firefly and Doctor Who. To be honest, I had a lot of hopes for this book after the amazingness of The Illuminae Files and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The plot is intricate and gripping, truly mind-blowing. It has you believing one thing, only to be proved wrong later (at least for me, LOL). It’s also fast-paced, and I couldn’t put it down. I was happy to pick this book up and sad to put it down every time.
“[T]hey do not know, yet, that there are some breaks that cannot be fixed.”
No complaints here! I am in awe of how realistic and three-dimensional Amie and Jay make their characters. Do I think I would be a good fit for this squad? Probably not. I have a feeling I’d be a bit like Aurora… Sort of just lost in the midst of things. I loved that despite everything, each squad member seemed to fit together as a whole in a way they didn’t think possible. One of those, “It happens for a reason” type of thing seems to fit really well here. I can’t say I have a favorite, though I’m really in love with Kal at the moment. I love the connections each character made with each other, and how even the strong are vulnerable. I really thought I would dislike Tyler, as he’s nicknamed the Goldenboy, but he would really do anything for his squad and it’s admirable (yet heartbreaking).
One of my only problems with this book pertained to the romance between two characters. I mean it was kind of out of the blue for one character, and when it was explained, I was like, “Okay… But…” But it wasn’t enough to deter me from giving this book less stars. I imagine it’ll be explored as the series progresses. The same could really be said for Zila, too. She’s a mystery, though there’s hint as to she is the way she is but it’s not explored.
I expressed some concern about Aurora being biracial (half-white, half-Chinese) and its nuances being lost on the authors. I’m glad to say that wasn’t the case, and the instances in which Aurora thought about her dad and his desire to make sure they knew about their Chinese culture was really nice.
I didn’t realize quite how much I had missed Amie and Jay writing together until I read this. I mean, I really enjoyed The Illuminae Files, and it was a great joy to meet the two authors last year. They spoke very briefly about what is now this novel, using the very specific phrase “hot space elves” which made us all LOL, but just so you know… It’s true! HAHA.
This book has everything you loved about The Illuminae Files and so much more!