Series: Aurora Cycle #1
Published by Allen & Unwin on May 6, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
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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 sarcasmA sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmatesA smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulderAn alien warrior with anger management issuesA 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.
Featuring a squad of misfits who nobody else wanted, the cadets from Aurora Academy must deliver some precious cargo across the galaxy. What they didn’t bet on, was that this precious cargo would actually be a girl with superpowers – who has awoken from being cryogenically frozen.
There’s a lot going on in Aurora Rising, as it introduces us to seven new characters who each have strong, conflicting personalities that clash. As with any squad, it takes time for them to learn how to work together and complete their mission successfully. What entails is a zany, fun-filled space adventure filled with sarcasm, banter and unlikely friendship.
So who are #squad312?
The blurb says it all, and each of these characters have an attitude to boot. From the sassy and lovable Scarlet who could talk her way out of anything, to the straight-A Commander who does everything by the book, the autistic engineer, tomboy pilot, an alien with a disability and the other with anger management issues, they were each fascinating in their own right. There’s also Aurora who finds herself in the future and has no idea what’s going on, other than the fact that everyone she’s ever known is dead.
While there are some pre-existing bonds between the squad members, such as Tyler and Scarlet who are twin siblings and Scarlet’s roomie Cat who is “slightly” obsessed with Tyler, most of them operate on their own. And no one has any idea why they’re in this squad or what their mission is and it’s hella entertaining to watch.
The other species in the squad presented an interesting angle, as we learn about these different alien races through their perspectives. My favourite character is Finian, who needs to wear an exosuit and has the best snarky lines in the book. He’s a Betraskan alien, who has a clan-like family structure where absolutely everyone is related and need to call upon favors. Kal was also interesting, as a hot space elf from a species who are bred as warriors. Because he’s working with Terrans/humans, he earns the scorn of the rest of his race and he’s constantly struggling against the call of his blood.
What about the rest of the book?
Learning about each of these characters is a big part of it, but there’s also how we learn about the space world 200 years in the future. We learn about the Fold which allows travel through space by skipping through time and how humans have learnt to co-exist with different alien species. It’s a lot to embark on, but I was impressed with how a story of this magnitude was told.
Aurora Rising feels very much like a set up book, as it switches between all of these character perspectives and the crew wing their way through the mission that constantly changes. The plot is kept pretty simple – as they find out what to do with Aurora once she starts showing her powers, because there’s so much ground to cover.
Just when I felt like I was getting into the story however, it ends with an obvious lead in to the sequel, which was kind of frustrating. I wanted more – why can’t we have that now?!
…We’re the Aurora Legion. We don’t bow to tyrants, and we don’t back down from a fight.
So does Aurora Rising live up to the hype of the Illuminae Files? While I missed the crazy artistic format of the Illuminae Files, it was nice to discover another new galactic adventure from my favourite authors. With sarcastic banter between unlikely squad mates, a girl out of time and a mission that has no clear objectives, Aurora Rising is a snarky, fun-filled galactic adventure not to be missed.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Aurora Rising is available from Australian bookstores for RRP$19.99 or from The Book Depository.
Thank you to Allen & Unwin Australia for sending me a review copy!
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