I’m prefacing this by saying that I freaking adore Jay and Amie. I went to their book launch for Obsidio without having read any of the previous books in the series. So when I finally got around to reading Illuminae, my mind just exploded. I’ve been lucky enough to meet Jay twice since then, and I can’t get over how amazing these two are as authors – and especially together!
I was sent an Advanced Reading Copy of Aurora Rising as a prize for a competition run by Allen & Unwin on Facebook. I don’t think I’ve ever fangirled quite as much as I did opening that package!
Title: Aurora Rising
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Genre: Science Fiction
Age Classification: YA
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication Date: May 7th, 2019
Australian RRP: $19.99
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 tech whiz 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.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about starting this book. Illuminae was my top rated and most recommend book from last year. I adored it SO much . So while I was excited to Jay and Amie to be writing together again, I was nervous!
But oh my goodness gracious. Do Kaufman and Kristoff know how to write or what? What we’re basically dealing with here is a Six of Crows/Star Trek/Guardians of the Galaxy love child. Add in some Lord of the Rings space elves, and Indiana Jones-esque adventure heist, a swoon-worthy squad leader, fantastic representation – including aliens, some hella freaky plant life, and a well placed Doctor Who reference and, oh my heck, we have a book for the ages, my people!
As soon as this book started I was hooked. The only way I can describe the feeling I had was that it was like watching a movie play out completely in my head. Everything was so perfectly described – but not in a ‘three-pages-to-describe-fog-like-Tolkien’ way (side note: I love Tolkien. But three pages of description is a little heavy!) Kaufman and Kristoff just somehow have the amazing ability to suck you in, grab you by the hand and never let go!
This book is written in a much more ‘normal’ style than Illuminae – with only occasional additions to the world building through other means. This, along with chapters being written by every member of the Squad, means that we get to know the inner thoughts and workings of each character. And each character is SO different. They’ve all been trained to do certain parts of a job, but their adventure takes them somewhere none of their training could have planned for, and seeing how that affects each one of them really creates a connection between the reader and the characters. While having so many POV’s can get confusing, I highly enjoyed it and didn’t find it to be too distracting overall.
The story was incredibly well paced, and the world-building so beautifully complete. It really is like we could be looking into our future. (Please can someone invent Starfleet or Aurora Academy already?!) I know originally this series was going to be set in the Andromeda galaxy, but I’m so glad that changed to our galaxy, because that just created even more of a connection with the story! This could be possible peeps! In a very far-off time when we’ve made friends with aliens. It could happen, okay?
The end of the story honestly had the potential to give me nightmares. It was hauntingly terrifying. Not one big moment of ‘oh hell’, but the tiny little tidbits leading up to that moment. I recognised a similar thing in one of Kaufman’s other series The Starbound Trilogy ,with Meagan Spooner. She just seems to be able to include little pieces of information that will tug on your humanity, make you think and consider, and eventually be freaked the hell out. Or that could just be me.
Overall, this book was phenomenal. I loved every second of it and can not wait for it to be released! 5 out of 5 stars from me! But then I remember that I have to wait even longer now for the second book. Which is going to kill me. So someone please read the second book to me at my funeral. Thanks very much! 🙂 Grab yourself a preorder, folks! Also, make sure you check out both Jay and Amie’s websites for any preorder exclusives!