Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 473
Release Date: May 7th, 2019
Series: THE AURORA CYCLE, Book 1
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars – Liked It!
Tyler Jones is top of his class at the Terran Defense Force Academy, and he’s all prepped to have his pick of recruits for his first squad. But when responding to a distress signal causes him to miss the Draft, he ends up with the crew nobody else wanted. But at least he saved Aurora, the sole survivor of a colony ship that went missing centuries ago. Aurora’s cryopod miraculously survived, and now she’s got to deal with the fact that everyone she ever knew died decades ago. But when she starts looking into the colony she was enroute to, Aurora finds more questions than answers, and some very dangerous people who will stop at nothing to make sure she stops investigating. Tyler’s the only one she can trust, but can his bottom-of-the-barrel squad keep Aurora alive?
AURORA RISING is a fun space adventure that’s hampered a bit by some hollow-feeling characters. On the plus side, I was constantly engaged with the story. It’s a great thrill-ride adventure, with some genuinely creepy bits mixed in with heists and ship chases. I enjoyed the world-building and figuring out the mystery of Aurora and what happened to the lost colony. AURORA RISING checks a lot of boxes of what I like when I’m looking for fun and should have been a knock out of the park.
Where it didn’t gel with me, however, was the characters. The exception might be Aurora, who is stubbornly trying to figure out what happened to her colony while also barely holding it together in the face of her vastly changed circumstances. She was great and struck the right note of floundering but determined to make it work. The other characters, however, came off a bit forced, particularly due to the dialogue. I’ve never seen so many characters quip about how good-looking they personally are, or make so many jokes on the “you must really be into me” spectrum. By all means, have confidence in your looks, but the overt-sexiness of everyone just didn’t feel at all like how real people talk.
That said, I did eventually come around to some of the crew members, even if they felt more like archetypes than people most of the time. The fact that the characters didn’t resonate with me stopped it from being the full experience I’d been hoping for. But again, I did enjoy the ride overall and would recommend for those looking for a good time in space!