Review: Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

Do you guys ever find yourself writing a wrap up post and before you know it you’ve talked about a single book so much you can easily post a review instead? Because that’s what happened here. xD

You might’ve noticed that I’m currently trying to get you guys caught up on my reading (we’re almost there!) and one of the last books I had to talk about was Aurora Rising. Unfortunately, this book and reading experience wasn’t what I had hoped it would be and I talk more about why down below.

Let’s just jump right in because this post got quite long and we don’t need to waste any words here! Enjoy. 🙂

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.


It is time we talk about a book that ended up being quite disappointing for me. I was so, so hyped for this book and couldn’t wait to actually get to it – especially since I had really enjoyed Jay’s Godsgrave earlier this year. Well, that’s not how this reading experience turn out, to be honest.

I did a buddy read with Merline from merlinereads for this one and unfortunately, neither of us really enjoyed the book too much.

The Good

Should we start out by talking about the things I did enjoy before we dive into everything I didn’t like?

Whenever I’m reading a book I’m not enjoying nearly as much as I had hoped I would, I’m always grateful when the story is fast paced and you find yourself still flying through what you’re reading despite not enjoying the content itself as much. And Aurora Rising definitely had that going for it, in my opinion! The authors even managed to surprise me with their plot choices a couple of times which was fun! One particular instance was especially funny looking back at it now. My notes are hilarious.

The other things I really enjoyed is how well the book kept answering questions that were brought up while also giving us more things to wonder and learn more about. And with how the book ended and what it set up leading up to that ending, I’m definitely still curious to see where this series goes next. I just don’t know if I’ll buy the book immediately like I did with Aurora Rising.

Lastly, for something really positive, if you’re unsure about whether or not you want to read this book – maybe give the audiobook a try! I really appreciated the effort that was put into it and that it went beyond just getting different narrators involved – there are sound effects and voice alterations which made for a fun hearing experience for sure!

The Bad

And now it’s time to talk about what I didn’t enjoy and while I wish my list was a bit shorter, it unfortunately isn’t. So, this might get long again. *hides*

Aurora Rising is sold to potential readers as this book featuring a group of misfits going on some sort of mission and how they aren’t the heroes you would want, they are the heroes you get. But that’s actualy quite misleading in my opinion? Our squad is made up of six members:

  • Tyler, Golden Boy and the star studend of Aurora Academy who doesn’t get his pick in squad members because he ends up rescuing and cyrogenically frozen Aurora from space
  • Scarlett, Tyler’s twin sister and someone who is very well capable of doing her job and actually had multiple offers from other squads too but she sticks with her brother
  • Cat, who is the best pilot the Academy has. she literally could’ve gone to any other squad too. they all wanted her, but she sticks with Tyler too because these three are BFFs since childhood
  • Finian has muscle and nerve damage which might be why no one else would want him which is ridiculous because he has a suit that helps with all of that, he’s still very capable of getting shit done
  • Zila, who is this super smart person and more than suited for her job has like 30+ reprimands to her name which makes her unfit in the eyes of other squad leaders
  • Kal is basically the only person I would understand why no one would at the very least trust to have on their squad as they (the human race) just recently fought a war against Kal’s alien race but he’s basically this super fighter and anyone would be lucky to have him on their team

How on earth are these the ‘heroes we get’ instead of the ones we might want? Like, that list of people? I would go on every mision with them. They are all more than able to do their jobs really fucking well. Half of them even knows each other super well and trusts each other no matter what. You’re already off to a good if not great start.

This entire ‘misfit group of people’ marketing strategy makes it feels like the marketing department just really wanted to cash in on people gravitating towards that dynamic in books despite there not really being much of it in the book. I hate being lied to.

Speaking of stuff I hate, Scarlett’s characterization definitely falls under that category too. How many times was she shown thinking about one of her 50+ exes (I swear, we got up to at the very least ex #45) or flirting her way out of situations rather than using what she’s learned in years of diplomacy lessons. Oh, and she wears skirts that are too short (the authors’ said that) way too often too. Like, you have these two women who are part of the squad and sometimes all they could think about was their exes or in Cat’s case Tyler and that one god damn ‘mistake’ they made. It got annoying. Real fast.

Don’t get me wrong, Cat does shine as a kickass pilot at times but that isn’t given nearly as much attention as her relationship with Tyler and that one stupid and annoying night that was brought up too many times.

Something I usually really like in books is whenever characters have some sort of established relationship before we meet them, right? But I think it hurt this book more than it benefited it. I actually think I would’ve enjoyed Aurora Rising more if we’d joined the characters earlier in their journey at the Academy rather than just before they are all joining squads. It didn’t even have to be about all of their years at the Academy, I would’ve been fine if at least part of it was about their time at the Academy – maybe their final year or something.

Here’s something I didn’t think I’d ever find myself complaining about but: the soulmate thing. No, please keep that for yourself, I don’t want it in my sci-fi book. As soon as the possibility of it was brought up I found myself yeeling ‘NO.’ at my book. Am I actually growing out of that trope? AM I? But yeah, I didn’t enjoy it here and it made the relationship feel quite forced and not at all like something that would’ve developed naturally.

And lastly, which is going to be a very me thing to not enjoy, but the book sounded quite young overall. I know this is a young adult novel but I also read so many of them that don’t read this young at all. I don’t know if it seemed even younger because I had finished Red Rising days earlier but yeah, it stood out quite a bit to me (and Merline too, if I remember correctly) – especially in the dialogue and the language the protagonists used.

Overall, I was honestly hoping for so much more from a Jay Kristoff book. Obviously because I had enjoyed Godsgrave so much but also because people seem to really love his and Amie’s Illuminae trilogy too. My hopes may have been a bit too high, who knows.

Rating & Release Date

In the end, I gave Aurora Rising 3 stars! You guys are already able to get your hands on this book as it was released on May 7th, 2019!

Did any of you guys read this book in the past weeks too? If so, what did you think? Did we have a similar reading experience? A completely different one? Let me know in the comments down below!

And for those of you guys who haven’t read this book yet, are you planning on it? Why or why not? Let’s chat in the comments about it! 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Review: Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

  1. Aw, it sucks that this book didn’t live up to your expectations. I read it a few days ago and I actually really enjoyed it! I think that for me, I didn’t really read so much into the individual characterizations and relationships, and it was instead more about the group dynamic. I definitely agree that there were a few things about the marketed „misfit“ team that didn’t sit right with me, but overall I liked reading about the group’s antics and interactions.

    Butttt, if we are talking about mismarketed stuff. What exactly was the chip on Finians shoulder??? Like. I was very confused. Also, it kind of bugged me how Cat’s whole character was, wow. I love Tyler.

    I did end up giving it a good rating though because it made me smile at some points and overall I enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

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