Not All Bad? // ARC Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publication Date: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Rock The Boat UK
Part of a Series?: Yes, Part 1/3 of the Aurora Cycle
I Got A Copy Through: HarperCollins India (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Barnes and Noble || Wordery || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo ||
Blurb Description: 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 sarcasmA sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmatesA smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulderAn alien warrior with anger management issuesA 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.
Nobody panic.
If you didn’t already know, I AM OBSESSED with The Illuminae Files. It was a truly brilliant series that kept me at the edge of my seat, filled with twists and murderous AI and if you haven’t read it, you should.

This is why, when Amie and Jay announced Aurora Rising and the start of a new series, I WAS OVER THE MOON! The lovely book fairies at HarperCollins India were kind enough to send me an advance copy of the book and I JUMPED.

In retrospect, I probably expected too much from this series because Aurora Rising ended up being a huge let-down.

I feel bad even saying this because I WANTED to enjoy this book more than anything – with the beautiful cover and the premise and THE TRAILER. Not to mention, this was Amie and Jay and AAAH. Here is why I (very sadly) didn’t enjoy this book:

1.       The Characters: One of the BIGGEST areas of intrigue in this book was that these were supposed
to be a rat-rag group of characters that nobody wanted to be around, weren’t really ‘heroes,’ and weren’t really to be trusted and so they were stuck together and given a tiny mission. For some reason, squad 312 just didn’t work. The line on the cover of the ARC says, ‘they aren’t the heroes we deserve,’ but it certainly felt like it anyway. They were all noble and JUST SO TALENTED IN THEIR SPECIFIC FIELDS, if only their interpersonal skills were a little off-course. I actually wanted them to just be a mediocre group of kids pushed together that managed to make something work, but these were ALL STELLAR GOLDEN-BOY/ HERO TYPES with an unneeded flair for the dramatic and nicknames that just sounded awkward and I somehow feel cheated out of what I was promised – an actually different saving the universe story, in terms of the characters.

2.       THE PLOT: This felt very all over the place to me. With The Illuminae Files, there was always some purpose with where the characters were heading, a timeline and some structure, but this book was very faith-based. I don’t think I’ve ever read faith-based sci-fi before, and it all just seemed like a really big risk for something they didn’t know anything about. Which is the point of faith, I know, and I love that the authors tried something new, but it just didn’t work for me personally.

HOWEVER, AURORA RISING WASN’T ALL BAD – IT GOT GOOD AT THE END. Here is what I liked:

1.       THE REVEAL AT THE ENDING: I’m glad this wasn’t really a cliffhanger, but after an entire 500+ page book of feeling adrift with no concrete plot, I really enjoyed how this all came together in the end.

2.       CAT: I didn’t like her much through the book, BUT I BECAME A FAN AT THE END. I loved her last POV in the book and the tragedy and WOW. WITH NO SPOILERS, LET ME JUST SAY THAT THAT WAS SPECTACULAR WRITING AND PLOTTING.


Will I be reading book two? YES! With the hope that it makes up for book oneJ
Amie KaufmanAmie Kaufman is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Illuminae (with Jay Kristoff) and These Broken Stars, This Shattered World, and Their Fractured Light (with Meagan Spooner.) She writes science fiction and fantasy for teens, and her favourite procrastination techniques involve chocolate, baking, sailing, excellent books and TV, plotting and executing overseas travel, and napping. 

She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

Jay Kristoff
Jay Kristoff is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE, THE ILLUMINAE FILES and THE LOTUS WAR. He is the winner of four Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, nominee for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards, named multiple times in the Kirkus and Amazon Best Teen Books list and published in over thirty countries, most of which he has never visited. He is as surprised about all of this as you are. He is 6’7 and has approximately 13030 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

What highly anticipated books have let you down recently?
Have you read Aurora Rising? What did you think of it?
 

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