5-Star Review: Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman (Aurora Cycle #1)


Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman // VBC ReviewAurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1)
Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
Published: May 7, 2019 (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Purchase at: Amazon or Book Depository
Review Source: Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 5 stars

Trying to work off some pre-draft jitters, star cadet Tyler Jones decides to take a little flight. Well, that little flight turns into a whole lot more when Tyler discovers a spacecraft that went missing more than 200 years ago. With signs of life aboard, Tyler can’t just turn around. He does what any good captain would do, but this also causes him to miss the draft and instead of getting to pick the five squad members of his dreams, he is stuck with the misfits.

However, they are more than just their role on the ship—Alpha, Face, Ace, Gearhead, Tank, and Brain. They have to learn to be a team, because when they leave for their first assignment one thing becomes abundantly clear: Aurora, the human female Tyler saved, is wanted by the Terran Defense Force (TDF) for reasons unknown. As Aurora begins to exhibit some strange powers, the group follows the clues across the Milky Way only to discover the far reaching conspiracy of something hundreds of years in the making.

Powerhouse writing duo Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman are back with the start to a new series. While this reader is, sadly, not up to date with the Illuminae Files, I was excited to jump into Aurora Rising.

Told from multiple points of view from various members of the team, Aurora Rising was a wonderful space romp from start to finish. While it took a little bit for the characters and plot to come together in the very beginning, once we get past the point of introductions and our group is firmly set on their path, I didn’t want to put it down.

I loved the different layers of the story as Aurora’s awakening powers lead the group on a treasure hunt, of sorts, that not only tests the tentative trust of the group, but also gives readers a wonderful view of the vastness that is space in 2380 along with all the varying lifeforms, and their relationship/history with Terrans (humans).

Tyler and Aurora are our main protagonists, but I don’t think this negates the importance of the other characters whatsoever. They were all such forces and such individual personalities that it was interesting to get a view of everyone from someone else’s perspective. It showcases each of the characters’ strengths and weaknesses, passions and vulnerabilities. They often go against their typecasting, but also not afraid to play to the characteristics that put them in the roles they inhabit. Seeing the slow familial bond build throughout the story was my favorite part. By the end, you know they’ll need that bond in order to survive what’s coming.

Aurora Rising calls to mind the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. They are both high-stakes stories with a seemingly ragtag group coming together fighting the good fight. I’d say the setup for what is going on is presented pretty clearly in this first book. From here, it’ll be all about how to deal with the discoveries made. Things don’t necessarily end on a decisive note in this one, and Kristoff and Kaufman are certainly not afraid to really put their characters through the ringer, but that’s okay because the adventure is just beginning.

Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex

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