Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay KristoffAurora Rising by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Aurora Cycle #1
Published by Knopf BFYR on May 7, 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Adventure
Pages: 473
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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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.

Aurora Rising is excellent fun, and a good start to a new series by dream team Kristoff and Kaufman. If you liked The Illuminae Files, you definitely want to be reading this series as well, which has the same quality of writing, humor, plotting, and world building as the prior series. That said, it’s not quiiiiiite as good as Illuminae, but it’s pretty great and I have high hopes for the following books in the series.


The pacing is excellent, and I flew through this book as a result. Kristoff and Kaufman make a great team because the plot’s always solid (Kristoff has massive skills here) but the pace tends to be faster than his solo works. From the very first mission, shit doesn’t stop hitting the fan.

Obviously I’m a huge fan of misfit space crews, so like hello this fits the bill. Admittedly, considering that Tyler supposedly got stuck with the dregs for three of his crew members, everyone on the teams seems like absolute first round draft picks, but to be fair I don’t know what the other options were like. And it does fit with this being the best of the best at Aurora Academy.

The whole cast is charming and bantery, minus the “sociopath scientist” of the description who doesn’t talk enough for me to have a real sense of who she is yet, though obvs I’m hopeful. Their interactions are fun, and I suspect I’ll ultimately come to love them a great deal. So far, I don’t love them but I do like them a lot.


The romances so far have potential and are interesting in some ways, but I don’t ship them? It’s tough. What worked for me about the romance was that the story doesn’t go in the hackneyed direction of having Tyler and Aurora be the ship, even though he was the one who discovered her. HALLELUJAH.

Aurora and Kal (aka hot alien elf?) are the ship I’m most interested in atm. They’ve got a sort of fated thing going on but in a potentially super shippy way rather than an instalove way. Like, Kal’s got the ponfar for her, and that could be my jam, but again I’m not in the feels on this yet.

Meanwhile, the romance between Tyler and Cat absolutely is not working for me at all. It all hinges on them having hooked up once, but because of their working relationship Tyler hit the brakes, so she’s mad and he’s sorry and they’re both super in love but denying it. Listen, I get the appeal of this trope, but it’s just not my trope. And, honestly, I don’t feel the chemistry between these two at all? So I’d love to see them move on to other people, but we’ll see.

Also, I’m really feeling the bi energy to the cast so far, especially from Finian! However, I’m concerned because there has been no sign of an actual romance that’s not m/f. So I hope that changes? Fin’s definitely hooked up with guys, and there’s a fakeout make out between guys, so it’s not like it’s not there, but I still wouldn’t mind a non m/f ship. JUST SAYING.


There are a lot of flashback scenes in italics, particularly at the start, and they’re the only things that killed the pacing a tiny bit. Flashbacks are tricky, and I didn’t think this method worked. The opening few chapters especially were choppy because it kept switching back and forth between current timeline and flashbacks. I think the back story could have been conveyed more effectively than it was.

Too many POVs. Ultimately, this might be a plus in the series, but so far the POVs sound too similar and, aside from Tyler and Aurora, they don’t get enough screen time for me to really get to know the characters any better than if I’d only read them in Tyler and Aurora’s POVs. Zila’s POV especially seems pointless since she has less than a page at a time and adds nothing but commentary. I get that this is done as a joke, but it really doesn’t seem worth it from a narrative perspective. The myriad similar POVs are why I think this book didn’t pull me in emotionally the way Illuminae did with its more focused cast. That method used by The Illuminae Files and The Lunar Chronicles of slowly adding POVs might have been more effective here. Then again, Aurora and Tyler are the blandest of the bunch, so maybe that’s why we didn’t start with just their POVs.


Really super fun even if a couple of elements made the book a bit more distancing than their prior work. The plotting and pacing are excellent, and the cast of characters shows serious promise. I’ll absolutely be on board for book two.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

2 responses to “Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff”

  1. Nori says:

    You liked this one a lot more than I did. I was not feeling the characters much at all, though it’s nice that you have hopes for loving them in the future. I hated the “mating” romance thing with serious Sarah J Maas flashbacks…I agree that there were too many points of views. I love your thoughts.
    Nori recently posted…The Hummingbird Dagger by Cindy AnsteyMy Profile

  2. I did like this book a lot, but not nearly as much as Illuminae. All the different POVs made it hard for me to really connect with any one character.
    Kay @ It’s a Book Life recently posted…Mini Book Reviews: Verity, Heroine, & You’d Be MineMy Profile

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