Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Aurora Rising
Series: The Aurora Cycle
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 470

Don’t have time to read the entire review? That’s okay! Scroll down to the very end for a TL;DR.

This post does contain affiliate links. I will receive a small amount from any purchases made through Book Depository at no extra cost to you.

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.

Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository | Indiebound

Disclaimer: I’m just going to let you know right now that if this is your book baby and you’ll do anything to protect these characters then this might not be a review you’ll want to read. This book really irritated me and I’m glad so many people absolutely loved it, but sadly I am not one of them.

Second Disclaimer: This review is going to be a little different than all of my others. Any time I have thoughts about a book I create a note for it in my phone with bullet points. This time I’m just going to share all of my bullet points and I’ll interject when I have more specific thoughts about things.

First off, I did go into Aurora Rising pretty blind. I knew the general idea of what it was about, but no specifics. Honestly, I was expecting it to be a lot like Illuminae just because this one was also set in space and because of who the authors were. When I picked the book up at Barnes & Noble I was definitely a little disappointed to see it was just a regular novel and I actually almost didn’t even get it.

  • I’m disappointed this is just words. Where are all of my emails, documents, surveillance footage, and reports?
  • WHO ARE ALL THESE CHARACTERS
  • Magellan is annoying as fuck make it go away
  • Zila is the only good one
  • Okay maybe sometimes Auri too

Seriously though, these characters…. I feel like they were just all thrown at us very quickly. They each had their own point of view, but I had the hardest time distinguishing between any of them. We never got to know who the characters were before all of the shit started going down and because of that I didn’t feel any sort of connection to them. I needed way more background information and more defining attributes and characteristics to help me tell the plethora of people apart. I absolutely think this would have been much stronger of a book had we only gotten POVs from maybe Tyler and Aurora.

  • Oh my god. I. Hate. This.
  • Whyyyyyyyy
  • If I have to read any more “maker” profanity I’m going to scream.

This is a huuuuge pet peeve of mine – I know these books are meant for young adults, but it’s still okay to curse. You aren’t fooling anybody with your fake curse words and honestly it’s just the most annoying thing you could possible do. Please, authors, stop making up your own curse words because it’s honestly just so distracting. Especially when your characters say them all the time.

[Related: Author Guest Post: Zack Smedley – On the Use of Profanity in YA Books]

  • IT’S ACTUALLY OKAY TO WRITE A BOOK WITHOUT ROMANCE. SHOCKING I KNOW.

I hate this. Can we please stop forcing romance/relationships into everything? If it fits into the story and makes sense for the characters then that’s great! But it doesn’t every single time. And Aurora Rising is definitely one of those times. It felt so awkward and forced and not right for those two characters at that specific time. Later on maybe it would have been a great thing, but definitely not at the point that it happened.

  • Obviously…..
  • It was like not a big deal at all during the entire book except now it’s the hugest deal?
  • How or why did any of this happen to Aurora? Did I miss that part? Or am I just supposed to not question it?
  • Could you have made that ending any more abrupt?

One of my biggest issues with this story was that so many of the questions had answers that were glossed over and only halfway explained or even just ignored and not explained at all. And there were a lot of questions the story line brought up. I completely get that this is supposed to be a series, and that there are two more books planned, but the reader deserves at least some information to somewhat wrap up the events that just took place.

I did actually go and read quite a few of the positive reviews and I just didn’t get the same things all those readers did from this book. It was cringey, unremarkable, and confusing. I’m afraid that a lot of people got swept up in who the authors were (because they are both huge powerhouses with tons of fans) and read this with rose colored glasses on. Had this been a debut by an unknown author I definitely don’t think it would be getting the amount of praise that has been going on. With that said though, I’m definitely not bashing anybody who got enjoyment from this book. I just love seeing people read, and if this is the book they loved, then I think that’s great. It just wasn’t for me.

TL;DR: Cringey, unremarkable, and confusing. Had this been a debut author I definitely don’t think it would be getting the amount of praise that has been going on.

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8 thoughts on “Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff”

  1. I’m really sorry you didn’t like it 😦
    I read your review anyway, even though I loved this book and I knew this review would be hard for me to read 😂 Sorry… anyways, It’s not that I don’t totally understand what you’re talking about here. The romance did feel too soon, even though I’m like a HUGE romance fan and I love it in every book I read. But yeah I did wish it would have been a bit more… natural? Since Auri was going through SO much and it felt kind of sudden to throw romance at her too. I do think the authors can fix that in the future books though which is why I didn’t worry about that *too* much.
    It also really did feel like too many POVs and we hardly got much time with any of them. I think 4 POVs could have somehow been okay but it was… 6? 2 really would have been ideal. Auri and Tyler really are basically the “main” characters so it would have made sense to hear just from them.
    And hmm… about profanity? I kind of thought the whole “maker” thing was like saying “god”? But since it’s hundreds of years in the future and it’s in space and there are a bunch of aliens and stuff, it’s now referred to as “maker” and not “god”? But maybe that’s just how I saw it, I don’t know.
    Despite seeing those faults, I loved it anyways – maybe even because of it, but I also know others would see it totally different because of it.
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to go against your review or anything, just wanted to share my opinion so I hope it’s okay…? 🙂

    Like

  2. I’m really sorry you didn’t like it 😦
    I read your review anyway, even though I loved this book and I knew this review would be hard for me to read 😂 Sorry… anyways, It’s not that I don’t totally understand what you’re talking about here. The romance did feel too soon, even though I’m like a HUGE romance fan and I love it in every book I read. But yeah I did wish it would have been a bit more… natural? Since Auri was going through SO much and it felt kind of sudden to throw romance at her too. I do think the authors can fix that in the future books though which is why I didn’t worry about that *too* much.
    It also really did feel like too many POVs and we hardly got much time with any of them. I think 4 POVs could have somehow been okay but it was… 6? 2 really would have been ideal. Auri and Tyler really are basically the “main” characters so it would have made sense to hear just from them.
    And hmm… about profanity? I kind of thought the whole “maker” thing was like saying “god”? But since it’s hundreds of years in the future and it’s in space and there are a bunch of aliens and stuff, it’s now referred to as “maker” and not “god”? But maybe that’s just how I saw it, I don’t know.
    Despite seeing those faults, I loved it anyways – maybe even because of it, but I also know others would see it totally different because of it.
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to go against your review or anything, just wanted to share my opinion so I hope it’s okay…? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, thank you for reading my review anyway! I totally didn’t equate “maker” to “god”, but now that you mention that it definitely makes more sense. So I’m a little less angry about that part lol. I’m glad to know that you noticed some of the things I complained about though. But I’m also glad that you still enjoyed it! And it’s always okay for you to share your opinion, even if it goes against mine!

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  3. Mari, I have to say this: thank you for writing an honest review. I am not sure if I am reading the same book as everyone else because I am frustrated by the characters. Yes, the whole “Maker” thing was irritating. I am almost halfway through the book and I still don’t know who’s who. Some other gross things: “mating” bond? 7 people and everyone is shoe-horned into potential relationships. How do they all sound the same, I don’t even know? The person who does negotiations sounds terrible at it. Just the over the top swagger presented in the story doesn’t make sense. I am unsure if I’ll be able to finish this book and it’s frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While I wish you were enjoying the book, it’s also so nice to know I’m not alone in how I felt about it! I too had that feeling of wondering whether or not I was reading the same book as everybody else. Honestly, I really think a huge part of it is who the authors are. It can be really easy to get wrapped up in that and read things with rose colored glasses. I’ve definitely been guilty of that. But I’m also glad that people love it so much and are passionate about it because that’s what reading should be about!

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