An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
While I don’t usually read science fiction (though I do love to watch sci-fi movies), after coming across the synopsis on Goodreads at the beginning of the year for Aurora Rising it quickly became one of my highly anticipated releases for 2019. So, when I had the opportunity to review an advanced copy I jumped at the chance!
While I’ve had Illuminae, Nevernight and Godsgrave on my shelves for a while now, I haven’t actually read anything by Kristoff or Kaufman before so this was my first foray into their storytelling and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Keep reading for my spoiler free review.
“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. “
From the very beginning we jumped straight into the action which drew me right into the story. I much prefer this approach rather than spending a couple of chapters introducing us – Aurora managed to combine the two effortlessly, revealing the characters and the settings whilst the action continued. I was really pleasantly surprised by this as often I can find sci-fi a little info dumpy which usually puts me off, but I couldn’t get enough of this story!
Told in first person through a multi narrative with some flashback scenes dotted throughout, we got to see the story from each character’s perspective. While at times this could get a little much, and there were definitely some POVs that I preferred to others, I really loved the rag tag bunch of misfits. I feel like they would be my people!
Some of the characters were definitely more memorable than others, such as Tyler, Auri and Kal (dubbed the “hot space elf” – how could I not love him?) but I think they all complimented one another well, bringing something unique and necessary to the team in their own way. There was a teeny bit of what some might consider insta-love however this was explained and I’m intrigued to see how this will develop going forwards.
Throughout the story I was getting serious serious Guardians of the Galaxy/Six of Crows vibes. Luckily enough for me, I love both of those! There were also references to Lord of the Rings sprinkled throughout, nicknaming one of the characters “Lord Elrond” and “Legolas” which was amusing. There is also a scene very reminiscent of a particular bar in a much loved sci fi film…
Alongside the plot and the characters which I loved, the world building was also second to none. With incredible visuals and out of this world (pun definitely intended) descriptions, it was so easy to imagine this journey. With so many different locations we were definitely spoilt for choice. From bars to jungles, busy cities to space stations and even an aquarium – all in space!
Throughout Aurora Rising I honestly could not work out where the story was heading. With plenty of clever plans and witty tactics, the team could truly have gone anywhere. Towards the end, the story took a truly unexpected turn so I am very intrigued to see how this will develop as the series continues.
Action packed from beginning to end, there was never a dull moment. Aurora Rising was a fast paced and gripping read filled with political intrigue and conspiracy. Despite being so unlike my usual choices I gave it 5/5 stars nonetheless. I devoured the book in two days and can’t wait for the sequel! Aurora Rising is out on TUESDAY so make sure to get your hands on a copy here.
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