Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Book: Aurora Rising
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: The Aurora Cycle #1
Publication: May 7th, 2019

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.

Holy smokes. I wasn't sure what I was expecting after reading this duo's Illuminae series, given that those stories were told as a dossier. But this story was absolutely amazing.

To begin: this is probably the biggest group of misfits I've read about since Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows. They were hilariously entertaining based on the sole fact that none of them were actually compatible with another. Snarky geniuses, anger management issues, shoot-your-team mates-first-ask-questions-later...you name it, they have it. Completely incompatible, and probably the most ragtag band in the galaxy, but that just makes them the most interesting group I've read about. Everyone balances each other nicely; Ty's hero complex was kept in check by everyone else's impulsiveness, Kal's anger issued were grounded by Aurora (more on that later), the crew's uneasiness over some of Ty's decisions were smoothed over by Cat's faith in him. I'm really looking forward to watching each one of them grow, because it's obvious each character has so much more potential to grow.

The plot itself was fascinating; I don't read a lot of hard sci-fi books (I've unfortunately read too many poorly written ones and gave up...if you have any recommendations to help me remedy it, please let me know!), so maybe that's part of the why I found this book so neat. It had a video-game-esque feel to it, which created this cool backdrop to the entire world.

But then: PLOT TWISTS!!! Things happen! Secrets are revealed! People die! Stakes keep getting higher! I LOVED IT!!! :D :D :D

Dialling down my excitement a notch, I was quite fond of Aurora Jie-Lin O'Malley's character. Not because of her role in the plot (so many mysteries to unravel!), but her ethnically. She's mixed: half Chinese, half Irish. I really liked that a mixed child like her was one of the leading characters, because honestly, mixed children are going to be a predominant part of society and they all deserve stories of people like them.

The other aspect I enjoyed was, and SPOILER ALTER, Kal and Aurora's budding relationship. The whole Kal-sees-Aurora-and-something-clicks-and-knows-she's-his-soulmate thing was very similar to the whole werewolf imprinting phase that the world went through back when Twilight was a thing. I mean, I get why the whole imprinting thing was a common plot point to force romantic development, but all those stories were kind of...possessive. So I really appreciated it when Kal, after realizing what Aurora was to him, tried his absolute hardest to distance himself from her, to not force it onto her or make it seem like he had claimed possession over her. And when Aurora found out about it, they didn't immediately go to being a couple. Instead, Aurora agreed to give Kal a chance, and they both agreed that she would have the ultimate decision to accept or deny the bond Kal felt between them. See, respect! That's what every relationship should be! Ahhh, loved it!!!

So, if it hasn't been glaringly obvious, I loved this book. It's beautiful cover will adorn my bookshelf until the end of days, as will the rest of the series when they come out. I just...need to...wait...a few months....ARGH!!!

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