Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff have done it again. Just like with their incredible Illuminae series, they have created another high-concept, heart-pounding, wild ride of a novel in Aurora Rising.
This book has it all: the camaraderie of a dysfunctional group of characters that you can’t help root for from the moment you meet them, a page-turning plot that has you hooked from the get-go and enough twists and turns to keep you flying through all 472 pages before you can quite comprehend that you’ve finished.
Through alternating point of view chapters, we meet Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley and the Aurora Legion Squad 312, a rag-tag bunch of young soldiers ready to embark on their first mission out of the academy. Aurora is a girl out of time, one of the first hopeful settlers on a mission to Octavia, a colony that Terrans hoped to settle two hundred years before. When the ship carrying Aurora and other passengers is lost, Aurora is trapped in her cryotube for over 200 years until Tyler Jones, the leader of Aurora Legion Squad 312 discovers and frees her.
This impromptu rescue mission costs Tyler his first pick at the draft–the ceremony where an Alpha, the leader of a squad, picks his crew. Because of this, he ends up with the remaining cadets that no one wanted. He had no idea that he would find a family capable of more than anyone would have given them credit for.
Tyler Jones is the Alpha and polymath of the group and heads up the squad. His sister, Scarlet is known as the Face, a diplomat and communications officer of sorts. Then there’s Cat, the Ace, a loyal pilot known by the nickname “Zero” because of her incredible flying record. The Brain or science office of the group is Zila, who is brilliant but unpredictable at best and trigger happy at worst. Rounding out the group are a Betraskan named Finian, a technological genius who can engineer almost anything, and a Syldrathi warrior who has an inexplicable pull toward Aurora. They shouldn’t work together but they do and along with Aurora, they are a formidable and spectacular group of characters. One book in and I’m ready to ride alongside them for a million more missions.
Balancing humor and heart with aplomb, these authors have written such an enthralling novel that I couldn’t help but wish I could have the entire series and a television franchise ahead of me for when I finished the book.
As a huge Star Trek fan (especially of the 2009 reboot), I often crave space epics and have to resort to fanfiction to fill the need. But this hit the spot. I was so impressed by the world-building, which offered clever nods to Star Trek. The cinematic quality of the writing is almost impossible to ignore and I would be so disappointed if an adaption doesn’t happen in the near future.
I can’t praise these authors or this novel enough except to say that I envy everyone who gets to read it for the first time. I look forward to the next installments and will eagerly looking forward to discussing how amazing this book is with anyone interested. Do yourself a favor and order this at the library or your nearest bookstore immediately–I also hear the audiobook is fabulous!