Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff ★★
“But they have not seen their sun die. Their people burn. Their world end. And they do not know, yet, that there are some breaks that cannot be fixed.”
My first read of the new year and new decade and man was I disappointed. I started this book with a positive feeling. I saw the reviews on Goodreads and it has an average score of 4.18/5, which is very good. The genre is my favorite one, sci-fi and the plot really resonated with me. But the writing style of these two in this particular book isn’t for me.
The story takes place in the year 2380 and follow the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy. 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.
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.
Naturally after reading this back cover, I was ready to start the book. I had heard such good things about this novel that it came to a surprise when I found out that I didn’t like it at all. Last year I read a book that’s quite similar to Aurora Rising. It’s by Kass Morgan and is called Light Years. It’s set in a similar world, follows a similar sort of squad. The big difference is that Light Years had less characters and I could concentrate on them and their stories.
Let’s start off with something I did like a lot: the cover. The cover art is absolutely stunning. This also contributed in my urge to read Aurora Rising. How can you not want to read it? The cover art is designed by Charlie Bowater. I love the style of it, the color palette is very appealing. I love the little shining star inside the letter ‘O’. I am a huge fan of the purple background. But my favorite thing might be the constellations on top of the cover. Seeing such beautiful designs bring me joy and I just love how authors are paying more attention to cover art. Choosing a book in a store often has a lot to do with the cover and this one definitely scores a 10 out of 10. Here’s the link to the designer’s Instagram https://www.instagram.com/charliebowater/.
Now back to the story. Aurora Rising tries to follow all seven (7) characters and it is just too much. You can’t write a novel in seven point-of-views and expect your reader to connect with all the characters. And that’s not even talking about all the nicknames. It’s hard enough trying to remember every who is who without reading those ridiculous nicknames like ‘Pixieboy’ and ‘Goldenboy’. This might have been the dealbreaker for me since I had no feeling with the any of the characters. I like multiple point-of-views but not seven. Because of this a lot of the characters felt bland and flat, which can be expected if you have to concentrate on the storyline and try to bring some life to seven people in your story.
Let’s get take a closer look at the seven characters. I know I’ve said it like a thousand times but I feel like there was so much potential. Kaufman and Kristoff actually had a good and interesting story going. A nice world in which the crew finds themselves. But then you have to read 475 pages about characters that all resembled each other and honestly I couldn’t really remember who was who. I do think the authors will explore the backgrounds of these characters in the next book.
Another thing is that there was so much misplaced humor in this novel. There are a lot of serious moments. Moments where you don’t need humor to create ambiance. The squad finds themselves in a life threatening situation and two girls interrupt the conversation and one says to the other “you still have my eyeliner, btw”. This was totally unnecessary. And there are a lot of similar situations like this one. Those kind of conversations feel unnatural and it just makes me roll my eyes.
It was hard for me to keep reading, but deep inside of me I kept hoping that something more was coming. Zila, the only person of color literally had like a total of 5 pages for herself. I would’ve liked to see more of her, but maybe that’s for the next book in this series. The science and space travel wasn’t all bad, a little complicated from time to time but interesting. A lot of squads and legions have abbreviations like TDF and GIA which makes it hard to follow. The world was quite pretty and well built.
Aurora Rising had so much potential and it sucks that the book had seven characters the authors could’ve done something with. I also think it’s sad that almost every character is heterosexual. Except for one of the characters who’s bisexual but I think he is being pushed in a heterosexual ship. The world was pretty, well built even but overall, sadly, it is a no for me. The characters were lacking. I do have hope for the next book in this series, I think the way they ended Aurora Rising was good and I am excited to see what’s next. Hopefully they’ll dive into the pasts of these personas.
Would I recommend this book? Not really, I mean I didn’t click with the different characters which is very important when reading a book. I did like the whole feel of the story and the world was nice. I might try rereading this one before Aurora Burning comes out!