• ★★★★★-5

Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Spoiler-Free)

But they have not seen their sun die. Their people burn. Their world end. And they do not know, yet, that there are some breaks that cannot be fixed. oh. OH. After the masterpiece that was the Illuminae Files, I wasn't sure if another book by these two could possibly live up to the hype it would hold. So naturally, Aurora Rising truly surprised me. Did I like it better than Illuminae? Of course not (or at least not just based on the first book), but was it still incredible? Hell yes. After reading something that took a bit of effort, I was looking for a book that I could just fall into. This was a perfect choice. Reading this was effortless, each planet, ship, and scene was instantly vivid in my head. I could see and feel the mechanics of this version of the future like it was common knowledge. I felt like I knew every character. Tyler- the Goldenboy whose whole life's work was stripped from him in a matter of minutes. Scarlett- the twin sister who looks up to her brother as much as he does of their father. Finian- the Bestrakan Gearhead who values connection above all else and wishes to be seen as fully capable despite disability. Zila- the genius devoid of emotion (and fear) devoted towards solving problems. Kal- the daunting Syldrathi feared by nearly everyone around him, though what he fears is within himself. Aurora- the girl who lost her past but is determined to save the future. On top of character development in general, I was thoroughly impressed with how certain social issues and representation were handled in this book. While managing to remain a hilarious romp through space, the book also touched on current issues experienced by many Terrans (hehe), aka humans, on Earth. For example, Finian checks a lot of those boxes. He's bisexual and disabled, and actively voices the discrimination he receives due to his physical deformities. Additionally, through the characterization of Kal, Kaufman and Kristoff are able to introduce a conversation on Islamophobia. Because Kal is from a terrorist clan (and it is evident through a mark he bears on his head), he struggles with people fearing him on a daily basis. However, the crew from the book make a good point of reinforcing that just because people of his lineage are terrorists, it doesn't mean he is one. Also. ALSO. I have a very specific checklist of my favorite tropes in books, and they go a little something like this: - heists - dances/balls/galas (specifically masquerades) - space Guess what this book had. A HEIST AT A MASQUERADE BALL IN SPACE. yup. To put the cherry on top of all these great aspects, I must also address that this book is perfectly paced. I was never bored—just constantly on the edge of my seat. While, yes, some plot points were fairly predictable, others really blindsided me, and that's honestly pretty hard to do. I applaud this book for thoroughly entertaining me and fulfilling so many of the components that make up a good YA novel. Do you think I could use the Fold to get to the release date of the second one any faster? ;)

Song I was reminded of while reading: Ride

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