Review + Giveaway: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: The irreverent space romp

Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: 
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: young adult sci-fi + ?????

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

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.

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. This does not affect the content of my review.
To get it out there first thing: Aurora Rising is something completely new and different from Illuminae. The series aren't connected aside from a few tiny interweaving details (like the lysergia plague). Aurora is an all-new story with an all-new cast so if you have not read the Illuminae Files, that's okay! Aurora is something you can definitely read! And if you weren't a fan of the funky formatting in Illuminae, I promise that Aurora is a much more typical book with the story told in regular prose with minimal formatting in a few interstitials between chapters. If you've read These Broken Stars, it's like the interview sections between chapters there. But mostly the book is regular text. But if you ARE an Illuminae fan, have no fear! This book, while not in the same format, DOES contain the same kind of high-adrenaline space adventure with elements of horror and wtfuckery with a lovable cast of weirdos and misfits told in that classic cheeky style we all love Amie & Jay for.

I think Amie & Jay are really good at coming up with wild stories that include familiar elements from stories we know and love but twisting them into something wholly unique and new. If I had to comp this series, I'd call it Guardians of the Galaxy meets Breakfast Club meets Star Wars meets Ocean's Eleven meets Jurassic Park meets The Ruins meets Lost in Space. There's a little bit of everything for every kind of reader. It probably shouldn't work.... but it does. And even though there are intentional nods or unintentional similarities to these franchises, Aurora Rising manages to be wholly unique.

It's pretty cool to have a book that seems like a straightforward action space adventure romp switch the plot literally in the middle of the book and turn into a heist. With a dinosaur. As a mood reader, things like this can really keep me hooked on a story. There are a lot of really cool, interesting books in existence, but I don't know of another book that hits all of my interests quite so neatly. I think this duo has an immense talent for wild, wacky, literally out of this world creativity.

Something I mentioned in my review for Obsidio remains true here: one of Amie and Jay's greatest strengths as a writing duo is how much they make me care about their characters. I adore this ragtag group of misfits, and I am ALL IN on them. Although most of the Illuminae Files was comprised of documents and not straight up prose, the series was still a full, what, 2000 pages? that we got to know that crew. In contrast, Aurora Rising tops out under 500 pages, but I'm still invested. I want to know more about literally all of our kids (especially Zila, who has short but important chapters), and I just want them to be safe and happy, dangit! And I can't think of a single combination of characters that doesn't end in some sort of hilarious or heartwarming conversation. I love when you have an ensemble cast that mixes really well.

This series is absolutely amazing and devastating. I actually have read Aurora Burning this year, and HOO BOY, y'all are in for a good time, but also may I suggest a fluffy pillow and some tissues, maybe? The entire Aurora Cycle is one heck of a ride, and I'm loving every minute. Well.... most minutes. This series is exactly the fun, irreverent space romp I wanted it to be. I have no idea how we're all going to wait until book 3, but I have no doubt it will be just as worth it as the first two. Highly recommend!

QUESTION: Are you an alpha, ace, face, tank, brain, or gearhead? Take the Aurora Legion quiz from Underlined, and answer in the comments!

Purchase Links:

About the Authors:

About Amie:
Amie Kaufman is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Illuminae (with Jay Kristoff) and These Broken StarsThis 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.

Amie's Links:

About Jay:
Jay Kristoff is the award-winning author of The Lotus War trilogy, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy. Part 3, Endsinger, is out now. He's also co-author of the upcoming Illuminae (with Amie Kaufman), a YA Sci-Fi... thing, to be released by Knopf/Random House in 2015, and Nevernight, the first part of a new fantasy trilogy kicking off in 2016.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13380 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.

Jay's Links:


Aurora Cycle prize pack (US only): One winner will receive a copy of Aurora Rising with pink sprayed pages (no, this is not the Illumicrate version. It's a US edition with professionally sprayed pages), a copy of Memento, Squad 312 character bookmarks, the exclusive Aurora Rising buttons (these were only available at the Texas stop of Jay's tour last year!), AND a preorder of Aurora Burning.

Aurora Rising prize pack(US only): One winner will receive a SIGNED copy of Aurora Rising, Squad 312 character bookmarks, and the exclusive Aurora Rising buttons.

Memento prize (open INT *outside* the US): One winner will receive a copy of Memento (the Illuminae Files novella that was the Aurora Rising preorder swag), Squad 312 character bookmarks, the exclusive Aurora Rising buttons, and a preorder of Aurora Burning (from Book Depository so you must be able to receive a book from BD).

Entrants must be 13+. Giveaway is open until 12 AM CDT April 24. Please enter via Rafflecopter below; winner will be chosen at random, and odds are determined by number of entries. I reserve the right to disqualify any entries that are not in accordance with my giveaway policies as stated in the Review & Site Policies tab at the top of the page. Good luck!


  1. I'm totally gearhead, which is perfect for the engineer in me.

  2. I need to read this book!!!

    The quiz said I was a brain...which seems accurate maybe.

  3. I got gearhead, not sure why though.

  4. Love Aurora Rising! Can't wait for Aurora Burning. Quiz said I was a brain!

  5. I think I would be the brain and then I got ace

  6. Oh I’m 100000% a brain. No questions about it

  7. I am an alpha!!! Excited to read aurora risingggg

  8. i took a test awhile back and it said i would be a brain, but it’s ironic because my friends joke that i’m dumb hahah

  9. i love aurora rising :( i’m so excited aurora burning is coming out in may!!! me and my friend are planning to reread aurora rising this month so this review is exciting

  10. Name bonniesrg...I got The Brain

  11. I took the quiz and got the Face! I didn't know faces could be as sarcastic as I am though haha

  12. I am so excited for burning! I loved rising! I got brain haha!

  13. I got brain. Sounds great. Love the cover.

  14. Look at me being Face. 😃
    Thank you for an amazing giveaway!!

  15. I gotta say alpha. I'm pretty bossy.

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