AURORA RISING by Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman | REVIEW


Title: Aurora Rising

Authors: Jay Kristoff & Amy Kaufman


GenresYoung Adult, Science Fiction

Release Date: May 7, 2019


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.


my rating: 2.5/5 or 3/5 stars

In all honesty, this low rating is partly my fault, I should never have thought I would be able to comprehend an audiobook that had 5+ different POVs. It’s hard enough for me to keep a story straight when there are that many characters in general, but when there are that many POVs, I’m completely lost, especially in an audiobook. 

Also, I definitely lost interest/zoned out for a good chunk of time when I was listening to this audiobook, so a few of my main plotlines are a little hazy for me. 

That said though, it is a very mediocre book, with some pretty decent humour. The Kristoff/Kaufman writing style that I loved in Illuminae is just as present here as it was in the Illuminae series, so I really loved that. I loved that it felt like I was returning to one of my favourite series, I unfortunately just didn’t fall in love with the plot or any of the characters. 

You have to do a pretty damn good job in order to juggle that many different characters and make them all seem like individuals, but I was surprised that the authors weren’t able to do so. Maybe it was just me being dumb but I never once felt like I understood who was who. I don’t doubt Kaufman and Kristoff’s ability to write amazing characters, I’ve seen them do it time and time again perfectly, but for some reason, it just didn’t work for me in Aurora Rising

ok wait I have another thing to say about the number of characters: 

when you have this many main characters, please for the love of god stick to ONE name for them, each character was referred to by like 2 or 3 different names!! My brain was ?????!!!!11?!?/ the whole time. Literally took half the book for me to realize some of the names were NICKNAMES and not just another character. 

The length: it’s way too long. This book is almost 500 pages and it took me ages to read. I flew through Illuminae/Gemina/Obsidio in 1 or 2 sittings, so I know they can write well-paced longer books, but Aurora Rising was painfully slow, and slow + longer than most YA books I’ve read = disaster. 

rapid fire comments time:

  • the supernatural elements were confusing
  • the “mating” thing with the aliens was disturbing and extremely cringey.
  • character development felt nonexistent
  • does earth still exist or not ???
  • literally everyone was straight??
  • wish it went more in depth into the trauma Aurora would have been facing upon the realization that everyone she knew/the society she lived in would have died by the time she was found and woken up.
  • I’m just now realizing that her name must be a reference to sleeping beauty, if so that’s kinda cute.

The mixed reviews for this book are completely understandable. I can see some people loving this, but can also see some people hating it. I’m in neither group, but it was definitely a forgettable book for me. It’s a good thing I wrote this book immediately after I finished because I’m not going to remember a single plot point by dinner time. 

I don’t see myself reading the next books in this series, which I’m definitely upset about, I really wanted to love this.

thank you so much for reading, if you’ve read this or plan to read this, I hope you like/liked this more than I did!

xo wren

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2 thoughts on “AURORA RISING by Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman | REVIEW

  1. I enjoyed it for what it was, but it definitely was 3/5 or 3.5/5 if I’m generous. I agree with your rapid fire comments, although I believe Finian was gay or bisexual, not that it was developed and easily overshadowed with the het romances. I do love Amie & Jay’s writing, but really wish they would have a prominent LGBT+ couple in their books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wouldn’t be surprised if I had just completely missed mention of Finian’s sexuality as I ended up skimming a lot of it/not really paying attention to the audiobook. But yeah, that is the one thing ive noticed from Illuminae, pretty straight. Haven’t finished Nevernight though so unsure as to whether that has much rep

      Liked by 1 person

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