They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find.
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman are the king and queen of sci-fi. After their amazing Illuminae Files, I really could not have imagined they could outdo themselves. Yet, here we are.
Aurora Rising is everything I could ever have asked for in a sci-fi novel. It’s like Star Wars and Stargate meets The Breakfast Club, with a healthy dose of epic fantasy thrown in for good measure. From the moment I got my hands on my copy I was barely able to put it down. Non stop action, excitement, and FEELS.
Tyler Jones is the star pupil of the Aurora Academy. He’s a straight laced golden child who works hard and is dutiful, respectful, and passionate about his duty. When graduation day comes and Tyler is ready to choose from the best of the best for his own squad, he instead finds himself missing the ceremony in favor of saving a mysterious girl lost in space.
Now Tyler has been left with the bottom of the barrel as his crew. The absolute last group of individuals he would have chosen for himself.
There’s Tyler’s twin sister Scarlett, a snarky beauty who can talk herself out of any situation. Tyler’s best friend Cat, a badass pilot with a big heart. Awkward genius Zila who struggles to understand people and also has a habit of shooting her crewmates. Adorable mechanic Finian, an alien boy who flirts with anything that walks (I love him). And space elf warrior Kal, who comes across condescending (he is a little) and aloof (also true) but who really is a giant sweetheart. Then there’s the big reason they were all thrown together, the girl Tyler risked his life to save: Aurora O’Malley.
Aurora has no idea what’s happening to her. All she knows is there’s something mysterious and terrifying happening to her and Tyler and his crew are the only ones who can help her figure it all out. Even if that means they have to put themselves in danger for a girl they barely know against an evil they never could have imagined possible.
These characters really make the story. Each one of these little misfits is so unique and more than they seem. I love every one of them. There’s just so much heart and growth in this story.
I’ve always had a lot of love for the idea of found families, and Aurora Rising really drives that concept home. It takes a gaggle of misfits who don’t seem to fit together and throws them into situation after situation that would test anyone. And instead of falling apart, those trials push these misfits closer together. It’s truly beautiful.
As far as the sci-fi aspects themselves go, I couldn’t have asked for more. There’s an incredible and cohesive mix of tech and cultures and a natural progression of humanity through their years of space exploration. The whole thing is just so well done.
Even if you’re not a fan of sci-fi literature in general, the sheer amount of heart and struggle and character growth in this book makes it the kind of story anyone can be swept away in.
(Why can’t I give a book infinite stars???)
P.S. I tried really hard to pick a favorite character and I just couldn’t. I would seriously die for any of them.