Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff & Amy Kaufman Review

“The only places I fit are the places inside my head,” she continues. “It is as you said, sir. I do not understand people.” She looks around the bridge. “But I believe of all the places I have not fit, I fit here a little better.” – Aurora Rising | Jay Kristoff & Amy Kaufman

Synopsis from Allen & Unwin

If I were to describe this book in one word, it would be entertaining. From the very beginning, I was hooked. Aurora Rising opens with a scene in which our brave hero, Tyler Jones, is attempting a daring solo rescue mission. From the first page, Aurora Rising is action packed and fast paced. It’s a story full of action, drama, comedy and even a little romance. It’s an exciting read that I don’t think anyone could describe as dull. There’s a lot of hype surrounding this release, and for me at least, Aurora Rising more than met my expectations.

Since Aurora Rising is Kristoff and Kaufman’s first book together since Obsidio, I think it’s only natural that people are going to make comparisons between this series and The Illuminae Files. In a lot of ways, the two series are similar, both are set in space, feature a band of misfits and are overflowing with Kristoff and Kaufman’s trademark blend of sarcasm and sass. The most obvious difference though, is that Aurora Rising doesn’t have the visual elements that were included in Illuminae. The Illuminae Files featured maps, sketches and all kinds of imagery like the following:

I think that Illuminae’s unique format was something that a lot of fans loved about the book, but personally I just found it distracting. Yes, the visuals were gorgeous and fun to flip through, but I felt like they broke up the pace of the story too much. Thus, I actually found it a lot easier to get into, and enjoy Aurora Rising, though I do suspect others will be disappointed by the lack of images.

Now that I’ve written a little about Illuminae, I think it’s time to move on and focus on all the things I loved about Aurora Rising! Firstly, the book is actually hilarious. There are seven point of view characters, and of those seven, I’d say serious Kal was the only one who didn’t make me laugh at some point. Finian, who was easily my favourite character, had me in stitches for what felt like half the book. I also adored the bond between Squad 312 and Auri. Aurora Rising is essentially a book about friendship, and finding a place in which you belong. The passage I quoted at the beginning of this review really epitomises this theme, and it resonated with me a lot. Aurora Rising is a story that will resonate with misfits, loners and those still searching for their squad.

While I loved this book, and the friendships between the main characters, I will say that the romance felt a little forced at times. I’m not into the whole love at first sight trope, whether you call it “imprinting”, a “mating bond”, or in this case, “the pull”. I’d rather see a romance that grows slowly as the characters get to know one another, and while we do have a bit of that, we also have another case in which a character instantly recognises that he has found his soul mate upon seeing her for the first time. However, there was also a much more low key potential romance brewing, that I’m very excited about.

Ultimately, I think fans of Kristoff and Kaufman will be very happy with Aurora Rising. It’s fun, exciting and addictive. Yet, there’s still some drama and heartbreak! I can’t wait for all of you to read this book and fall in love with Squad 312, like I have.

4.5 stars

Thank you to Allen & Unwin for providing me with a review copy!

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