Aurora Rising Book Review

Aurora Rising Needs Weed Killer


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.


Wild. I had pretty high expectations from the moment I saw Jay and Amy announce Aurora Rising on their Instagram (Let’s be honest if you’ve read the Illuminae Files the standard was high). But I did not expect the ride that this book strapped me into! It was like the Scooby-Doo ride at Movie World (pre-renovations age 10) just constantly throwing blind corners at me.

The pace is constant with very few moments of slow filler pages so the action grabs your attention from the start and holds you until you turn the final page. However, the level of action and constant shocking moments leaves what should have been the really BIG shock reveals a little flatter. Because each chapter feels like it goes BAM BAM BAM I feel like some of the defining moments don’t have the same wow factor. All characters are distinctive, well written and showcase a variety of personalities which is one thing I really love about Jay and Amy’s writing skills. They have the fantastic ability for representing all of the personalities. I instantly felt drawn to Finian, Zila and Scarlett because of their wit and unique characteristics more so than Auri and Tyler who I felt were characters I’ve seen before (many times). BUT it is super refreshing to have a half Chinese female lead in a sci-fi style book because it’s something I haven’t seen personally.

Each chapter is shown through a different character’s point of view which breaks up the story and keeps it exciting! The first person pov aids in building relationships with the 7 main characters, providing intimate insight into their roles and feelings that you don’t always get in a book boasting legit squad goals. The Syldrathi are like basically space elves (So Vulcans only ridiculously good looking) which I thought was cool and fun. Honestly – each of these characters remind me of Star Trek characters: Tyler is Kirk, Kal is Spock, Scarlett is Uhura, Zila is Bones, Finian is Scotty, Aurora is like a combo of Khan and Deanna Troi and Cat is… Pike… because she dies… and Tyler is left regretting things he did and didn’t do… like Kirk… so, yeah!

Now don’t even get me started on how cool the – let’s call them villains? even though I don’t think that category really applies here – are. The ‘baddies’ are actually some of the most creative work of fiction I’ve come across in a LONG time and I. AM. HER. FOR. IT. I’m not even ashamed to say they were in a nightmare of mine months later. Like, that shit stayed with me. If for nothing else, read this book for the ‘baddies’ reveal. That alone is worth the 30 odd chapters prior to. WORTH. IT. Go! Read it. Now.
Anyway… My only main critique is the elf boy soulmate thing which seems to be becoming a real teen/ young adult fiction trope (Twilight, ACOTAR, etc.) that I’m just not into. I find it creepy and uncomfortable, not sexy or romantic… But it sells, so it might just be me who feels this way… let me know.

Altogether the story line is interesting, action packed and full of laughs and moments of real friendship and team building that makes it a fun and addictive read. I have my copy of Aurora Burning which is the second installment in the Aurora Cycle series and I am keen as a bean to get stuck in… there may be a review up in a day or two who knows!

Rating – 4/5 stars
Author/s – Jay Kristoff & Amy Kaufman

Publisher – Allen & Unwin 2019

ISBN – 978 1 76029 573 8


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