Action/Adventure

Aurora Rising: Guardians of the Galaxy + Alien Legolas + Star Wars

4/5 Stars

Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Publisher/Imprint: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Edition: Hardcover, 470 Pages

Publication Date: May 07, 2019

A Spine that Shines? Fairly Well

“Who am I to deny gravity, Aurora? When you shine brighter than any constellation in the sky?”

Kal, Aurora Rising

Initial Thoughts & Narration Style

Ice cream aurora

Good morning, everyone! I’m literally sitting at my kitchen table, eating leftover iHop pancakes. (Who else loves iHop?) Yum! I finished Aurora Rising yesterday, and wow, it was quite a ride. There was so much hype surrounding this book, and it made me feel a bit nervous reading it. I did not end up loving it, but it definitely earned at least a 4-star rating from me.

Many aspects of the book were quite enjoyable:

  • It is action-packed! There are space pirates, space monsters, and plenty of fighting!
  • In some ways, the book feels like a mash-up of Guardians of the Galaxy and elements of Star Wars – with a hot alien version of Legolas.
  • Instead of using crass terms, Aurora curses using baking terms: “Son of a biscuit!”
  • The humor throughout definitely made me laugh!
  • The world-building is pretty detailed, and the alien lifeforms the authors created have very interesting qualities/traits.

However, in some ways, Aurora Rising disappointed me a little. But that mostly has to do with the narration style.

  • This book’s narration is witty and sarcastic, and sometimes it feels as if the narrator is talking TO the reader in certain moments. I think you have to enjoy this narrative style in order to really love this book. Personally, I prefer a more serious, lyrical narration style, so I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I wanted to.
  • There is also a LOT of sass in the dialogue, and sometimes it feels as if the sass takes over the scene. So I might have preferred a little less of this as well.
  • The chapters are often quite long. I tend to prefer shorter chapters, because they usually help move me through a book at a faster pace.
  • In addition, there are a LOT of characters because the squad team has seven members.

Characters & Romance

Aurora spine image

I did have trouble connecting emotionally to the characters, because there are just so many POVs. I typically prefer no more than 2-3 POV’s in a book. Otherwise, it can be difficult for me to really feel for the characters. It takes a while to introduce all of the characters in this book, and we don’t get to spend that much time in a single character’s head.

Here is a brief overview of the squad members:

  • Aurora is over two centuries old and is part Asian. She is pulled out of cryo-sleep unexpectedly and thrust into the year 2380. She has creepy visions and develops powers of telekinesis.
  • Tyler is the squad’s witty, confident leader. Because he rescues Aurora, he misses his chance to select his own squad members and is left with the misfits nobody wants.
  • Scarlett is Tyler’s twin sister and the team’s diplomat/negotiator. You can expect a lot of sarcasm from her.
  • Cat is the team’s pilot. She has crazy flying skills, as well as a ginormous crush on Tyler. Sometimes Cat’s negativity and jealousy were a little annoying and repetitive.
  • Zila is the team’s scientist. She has no social skills whatsoever.
  • Finian is the squad’s tech guy. Is a Betraskan alien, with a mobility condition. He uses a high-tech exosuit to help him move. He is also quite sassy.
  • Kal is a Syldrathi alien. He is the Legolas-like, warrior figure and the team’s combat specialist.
  • I wasn’t entirely into all of the romantic relationships. I wanted to root for them, but one couple’s bond forms due to a mating “Pull.” It’s not necessarily bad, and I do think the couple is cute, but I kind of wished there had been more reasons for them to like each other, too.

Final Thoughts

Here are my other reasons for withholding a star from my rating:

Aurora Rising actually felt quite long (almost 500 pages). Despite the action scenes, it took me a while to actually finish the book.

Furthermore, the “villain” at the end was not what I was expecting… There was so much build-up regarding the reason everyone in the galaxy is after Aurora. I just thought that the ultimate “villain” would be something other than what it was.

Don’t get me wrong. Aurora Rising is certainly well-written, and the authors make a good team. I enjoyed the story quite a lot! I just think that the narrative style may not have been the best for me in particular. Perhaps the sequel will be a library read for me. But please do give it a try if this sounds like it would be your cup of tea! Plenty of other readers have enjoyed this book immensely. Happy reading 🙂

*Content Warnings: Sci-fi violence, swearing – including the s-word and one clear use of the f-word (plus a few interrupted f-words)*

Spines that Shine

4 thoughts on “Aurora Rising: Guardians of the Galaxy + Alien Legolas + Star Wars”

      1. That’s true (: I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully I’ll get to this soon (especially as I still need to check out some books by both of these authors!) but I am kind of buried in books that I want to read right now although I don’t really plan what I’m going to read next, just pick up what I’m in the mood for, so it may end up being sooner than expected.

        Liked by 1 person

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