June 20, 2019 • Cee • Reviews

Aurora Rising (Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff • May 7, 2019 • Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House)
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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.


I received this book for free from Random House for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “I’m gonna miss the Draft.”

Sometimes, it doesn’t pay off to be heroic. Not if your dreams of recruiting the best squad in the universe falls upon you being there for the picking and not out in space following up on a distress call to save someone. That’s what Tyler Jones, star Golden boy of the Aurora Academy, finds out.

But that heroism kickstarts a hell of an adventure—it gets him to Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl whose existence defies time and space, and a ragtag of misfits who are along for this dangerous ride.

  • Get you a squad who is willing to break intergalactic laws for you.

You need a good squad when you’re in space. The people in this squad aren’t Tyler’s first choice—they’re the bottom of the barrel, the losers, but they somehow manage to make it work (y’know with a lot of snappy comebacks despite the danger).

Everybody meet:

  • Tyler Jones, the golden boy and Captain who has been waiting his entire life to have an awesome squad and take on the best missions;
  • Scarlett, Tyler’s twin sister and the diplomat of the squad;
  • Cat, the tomboy pilot who could’ve had any pick of squad;
  • Zila, the psychopathic scientist who has an itchy trigger finger;
  • Finian, the Betraskan tech gearhead who compensates for his ability with his smart ass comebacks;
  • Kal, the Syldrathi and combat specialist with anger problems;
  • and Aurora (Auri), the girl Tyler saved and is somehow over 200 years old.

None of them really get along nor do they want to be where they are (which is getting the missions nobody wants), but they have to make due to not get the dregs. And when danger comes, they have to rely on each other to not get captured or killed.

This shouts found familes, which I’m a sucker for that, but this hasn’t reached full levels of found family-ness where these teens would do whatever it takes for each other. I’m sure it’ll reach it eventually, but I don’t get that immediately which is disappointing.

Because of the multiple points of view, I had issues with the characterization—in that most weren’t well developed and some characters sounded the same. I should care about Tyler’s squad, but I don’t for some of them because there wasn’t much development to understand their motives and their personality. Sometimes, they sounded too similar, and because most of the characters are sarcastic, what I think is Cat’s chapter is really Finian’s or Scarlett’s. I’d have to flip back to the beginning to confirm whose chapter it is.

  • Auri’s existence defies time and logic.

This girl is someone who should not be alive, but here she is, having been rescued from the Hadfield, a ship that had disappeared 200 years ago. Yes, that’s right, Auri is 200+ years old and somehow has the ability to see a glimpses of the future, and neither she nor the people she has encountered know how and why the hell she’s alive, but there are forces that are willing to stop anybody from finding out.

Out of all the characters, Auri’s background and personality has been well developed. (Expectedly so, for a lot of things seemed to be named after her.) I’m so riveted by everything we find out about her. Because of that, I cared more about her story and what happens to her. It’s heartbreaking what she has to deal with, adjusting to an entirely new world without the people she loves or knows. She’s the one who really drives the story forward. Everybody pales in comparison.

  • It has a heist. 

When you get a ragtag team like the one in Aurora Rising, you want there to be a heist. I wouldn’t call Aurora Rising a heist book. The one that happens isn’t the best, but it’s a start; it’s their first one, so this squad is just getting their footing. It gives you a taste of what they could do. Also, it’s a good starting bonding experience when you’re on the run and having to steal something that makes it necessary to survive.

  • It gets weird. 

What we find out about the people chasing Auri and the squad is…well…weird. And I liked it.

Warning! SPOILER!!!
It wasn’t where I thought the story was headed, but it somehow made it more riveting; it slightly creeped out (in a pleasant way though). It became like a space horror. It kind of reminded me a bit of The Expanse.

Should you read Aurora Rising? Yes. If you want a new space opera—verging on space opera horror—Aurora Rising will be an excellent book to pick up. You get a girl whose existence defies time, a squad of misfits having to rely on each other to survive, lots of action, and weird mysteries. It gave me Firefly and The Expanse vibes (more so of the latter), so if you’re fans of those, give Aurora Rising a chance.


One Response to “REVIEW • Burn Bright, Legionnaires (Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff)”

  1. Carrie says:

    I love these authors! I’ve only read the first chapter, and I’m hoping for this weird you’re talking about to pop up soon.

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