It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a story needs a who, what, when, where, why, and how. Perhaps I was expecting too much, that the illuiminae files spoiled me, but I found AR lacking. Not least of all, of a why. We know who the characters are. A great mix, whom I enjoyed but some of whom, such as Zila, who didn’t fit the initial description. We know what, when, where, and how. But we don’t know why. Why are they doing what they’re doing? How do the superiors know the value Auri has? Further to that, Auri, for my mind, doesn’t play nearly as big a part as I think she needs to. Like I said, I don’t know if my expectations were too high, going into this book, but it didn’t really do it for me. The more sci-fi-y aspects, the Ra’haam especially, was too weird for me. Can I try to get over it? I’ll try, but this book was a bit of a letdown for me. If you’re a fan of Amie’s shattered earth series, this is for you. Those expecting Jay’s sharpness, it lacks a little here.
Grab yourself a giant galactic pot and throw in a dash of Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Jurassic Park, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, and a bunch of bubblegum and chrome and you’ve got Aurora Rising!
I’ve been anticipating the everloving hell out of this book for the better part of a year, and MY GOD did it deliver! Aurora Rising is a cinematic, action-packed, fast paced, and surprisingly hilarious space opera following a ragtag bunch of space academy misfits. It’s full of laughs, explosions, space chases, aliens, hot space elves, and FUN.
This book is so much wider in scope than I ever could’ve contemplated, and way more explosive. It makes Illuminae look like a neighbourhood dispute in comparison! Geographically and mythologically, this story is massive and expanded exponentially as I moved throughout the book. Each time I thought I had a grip on the ‘verse, Kaufman and Kristoff kicked open another door!
It’s a longer read, but it’s incredibly fast paced, cinematic, and manages to maintain the momentum throughout. There’s no point at which it drags, and even in the quieter moments each scene manages to propel the story or character development forward in some way. No scene is without a clear purpose. It’s enjoyable all the way through, and by the end you feel as if you’ve injected a 22 episode emotional rollercoaster into your veins.
As for the characters, the dynamic between #Squad312 is FIRE. Each crew member gets a POV and each has their own unique voice. While certain characters fulfill certain tropes and archetypes, they’re so fleshed out and feel as if they could step off the page at any moment. There’s not a single weak link in the crew, they all feel like people rather than just characters. Yes, even the hot space elf. There’s also a diversity of sexualities, races, and abilities thus far, with more to be revealed as we get further into the series.
(PS: not to be dramatic but I’d take a bullet for my disaster children, Finian and Kal)
My only criticism is that a few points of the story rely on a certain element of convenience. I don’t think the average teen will be put off by it, but as an eagle-eyed critical adult reader, I thought these particular scenes could’ve used a little finessing.
Overall, holy hell this is an incredible epic YA sci-fi and it fulfilled every hope I had for the book. I laughed, I cried, and I WAS STRESSED AS HELL. This is the book my Firefly and Battlestar Galactica-obsessed teenage self needed, and I’m so glad I got it ten years later. ;____;
Representation: POC MCs (human and non-human), autism spectrum MC (unconfirmed), bisexual/pansexual MC, physical disability
I don't think that I could sum up who this book is suited for any better than the dedication of this book did:
"If your squad was hard to find, or you're still looking, then this one is for you."
I liked that after a bit of interesting story of Ty in space, we back up a little into the italics and find out what led up to that point. Aurora's chapters have the flashback italics too and I also like how the end of her present sentence is the beginning of her flashback. Character-wise, I loved Scarlett's sass, humour and scarcasm plus Fin's sarcasm too! Finian may also be gay or bi, but it's never explicitly stated.
Also, did anyone else notice that all the Syldrathi cabals start with W? No? Just me?
The best swearing ever occurs within this book too! For example: Hole cake. Son of a biscuit. Mothercustard...
Oh, THAT'S what be'shmai means... (If you want to find out what I'm on about with this part, then read the book.)
Every single damning way to protect something is being used all at once to protect things? Good luck, Squad 312! Side note:That star map is awesome and I want one!
What's Eshvaren? Is it going to get revealed and is it probably important? Yes and yes. I feel like I've heard that word somewhere before too but can't pick where.
I do wonder how everyone on the Hadfield ship died except for her. How was she the only one to survive? How did she even end up on the ship in the first place when the book ends like that?!
Doesn't the Illuminae Files trilogy also have "Foundation Day"? I know they're two different universes, but I’m still curious... I also like how there's info pages between every few chapters in this book though as it breaks it up a little and gives you a touch more info, plus the different font that they use for the texting they did with one another. It’s a similar style to the Illuminae Files, I think – but also very different.