Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (473 pages)
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, the duo behind the wildly popular The Illuminae Files, are back again for this story about a motley crew of graduating cadets who must make tough decisions regarding the girl they just rescued. This story has elements reminiscent of The Breakfast Club in that these cadets are all misfits in their own way but ultimately prove indispensable to the team.
Aurora Academy has just celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2380 and these new cadets are off on their first mission. Tyler Jones, the Academy’s star student, is ready to choose an all-star team when his arrogance lands him with a group of misfits. On their first mission, they rescue Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, a girl who has been in cryo-sleep for two hundred years. Auri is reasonably shocked when she wakes to find that she is the ship’s only survivor and that she’s two hundred years in the future.
The story follows the squad as they work to evade capture from a government that wants Auri. We discover that the planet she swears she’s from has been off the grid for hundreds of years. The government is clearly trying to hide something there and Auri is a loose end that needs wrapping up. Through battles and close calls, we find out that Auri is more than she seems as we delve deeper into the relationships among the crewmembers.
The Bottom Line: 4/5 Brookie Stars
For such a long book, I expect not only solid world-building but also deep characterization. While a few of the characters are quite deep and dynamic, others are a bit dry. This is due, likely, to the (unwieldy?) cast of seven characters. Overall, however, the story is new and exciting with appropriate pacing and intrigue.
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Rachel Gomes is a 30-something high school English teacher who lives with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband and their son. Rachel is a voracious reader who loves to learn and has her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. She’s happiest listening to podcasts and talking to friends about the latest news in nerd culture.
Favourite book: Don’t make me choose between A Song of Ice and Fire and Harry Potter
Favourite brunch spot: The Farmer’s Table