Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman · Book review

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⚠️ This review contains spoilers!

As cadets graduate from Aurora Academy, they set off on their first missions across the galaxy in groups of six. Tyler, top of his class, is looking forward to take first pick of the graduates to put together his dream team, but ends up leading a bunch of misfits instead.

The book cycles through the POVs of each of the six graduates, as well as the seventh character in our story, Auri. She had set out from Earth on a colonist ship, only for it to go missing 200 years prior. Mysteriously, Tyler finds her in cryo-sleep as the sole survivor on board the ship's wreckage.

The interesting thing to point out about Auri (other than the fact that she is now 200 years old) is that she's half-Chinese. Auri had a fractious relationship with her father (the Chinese parent) and in the book her Chinese heritage is usually brought up alongside mentioning something about her Dad. I guess this is an attempt to bring some extra flavor and conflict to her character. As a fellow half-Asian I did appreciate the attempt at representation but I'm not sure it really did anything for the story. If anything it might have been better to make her full Chinese because the other half of her heritage wasn't really mentioned at all.

There's a bit of romance with an alien "mating bond". If they did this well I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to it but the fact that they did it and it's bad just makes it all the more cringey. You've got to do a better job building up to it! It just comes across as really creepy otherwise.

Complaints aside I didn't find it to be too tropey, I liked the conflict between the team who weren't all aligned on their mission. Especially the conflict with Cat and the betrayal twist


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