Can the narrator please shut up? ‘Aurora Rising’ Book Review

While the chatty, informal style is for fans of Percy Jackson, the main difference between Percy Jackson and Aurora Rising? Percy Jackson is actually funny…

Name: Aurora Rising

Author: Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff

Published: 2019

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…

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.They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

While the chatty, informal style reminded me of Percy Jackson, the complex space tech is for fans of Gideon the Ninth. It’s very sci-fi! Lots of made up words, space stations and astro-physics – if you’re not into all that, I’d keep 10ft away. And I’d maybe advise sci-fi fans to steer clear too, because the main difference between Percy Jackson and Aurora Rising? Percy Jackson is actually funny…

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book. Once you got your head around it, the space world was super immersive – not only did the authors create new space species, but new cultures and traditions for each one which is really cool. There’s subtle commentary on ethics, climate change and family under the (many layers) of snark. The action is really well structured and I was pretty emotionally invested in a lot of characters. There’s a good dollop of pining and romance. Fast paced, emotional and pretty disturbing, the ending was near perfect and almost made up for the rest of the book. Almost.

My biggest gripe was the writing style. While the heavy sarc works for a short story, I didn’t enjoy it for a full book. There was some really good moments! But there was no need for a lot of poignant scenes to be interjected with a ‘funny’ quip – I don’t care! Can the narrator just shut up? Just my personal opinion, but it felt a bit overdone and did my head in after a whole 500 pages.

Aurora Rising is did feel like a Marvel film – perhaps one that was dropped because the cast would be too big! One main character? Yes please. Dual narrative? Sure. Six quite similar perspectives in a book where 50% of page time is taken up by quips? There just wasn’t enough time for each character. I was genuinely interested in each storyline but there were too many characters for the depth of background the authors were aiming for. Some characters were pushed aside: I really wanted more time exploring Aurora, who was dumped on a space station 200 years in the future. That’s interesting! And there’s literally four pages on Zila, their violent, space-tech. Leigh Bardugo managed to pull 6 narratives off in Six Of Crows by sharing the backstories between books, so maybe I’d learn more about the characters in the later books. But I won’t be reading the rest of the trilogy – I don’t think I could put up with the narrator…

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Published by Hundreds&Thousands

I’m a teenager (and a Hufflepuff) from Manchester. I like oversized jumpers, music that isn't on the radio anymore and books. Pretty much any book I can get my hands on but my favourites are Young Adult, fantasy and science fiction. One day, I decided to share some of my opinions on some great - and not so great - books to people around the world. And here it is! I really enjoy it and I hope you do too. The aim is hundreds and thousands of book reviews (see what I did there?) but I’m not quite up to that. Yet.

23 thoughts on “Can the narrator please shut up? ‘Aurora Rising’ Book Review

  1. This is such a great review! 😆
    It’s unfortunate that this is one I’ve been looking forward to reading because I can’t stand when the author throws in so many characters you don’t get to really know any of them.
    I may still consider this later but it won’t be anytime soon.
    Thank you for your honesty!


    1. Thank you so much! I don’t want to deter anyone from reading the book, I hope you enjoy it if you try it – I was also excited to read it but was a bit disappointed and wanted to share my thoughts! Let me know what you think if you try it ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you!! Ahh it was really annoying because I was looking forward to reading it so much, I’ve heard really good things about the series. I’m really interested – what makes it one of your favorite books? Maybe the other books are better and I need to persevere haha

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yeah, I feel that—way too often I go into super hyped books thinking that they’ll be 4-5 star reads, and then they’re super disappointing…totally get it
        but yeah, prepare for some sentimental rambling here…I already love sci-fi and all that, but what really stuck with me (and still sticks with me) about the whole trilogy is that kind of premise of finding your squad, of being an outsider and being accepted by fellow outsiders. that really spoke to me. also, as a mixed-race person, I loved that Auri was the star of the show, and she, on some level, also taught me that you don’t have to be brave to be a hero. plus, Finian being bi and disabled really warms my heart as somebody who’s also bi and disabled. 🙂 (also Kal and Auri are both hot who am I kidding lol)
        I’m definitely biased here, but I’d say that the other two books are worth reading—it’s hard for me to rank all three of them, but the second two have a lot realer-feeling stakes and are a lot more emotionally potent as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much for the rambling!! I totally understand what a great feeling it is to see yourself represented in fiction (especially within sci fi? it always feels cooler and less like box ticking? like yes queer people exist and they’re also in space!) and I’m really glad for your insight: maybe I will try the other books! Best wishes ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Totally! Have you read The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue? It has pretty much every rep I can think of in a historical YA and (no shade on aurora rising) but it’s really funny! 😉 Definitely worth a try if you haven’t read it!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you on the writing style. That was the one thing that really put me off and made me DNF the book. Doing six POVs in one book was definitely overambitious too. Leigh Bardugo can pull it off but, in this case and judging from what I read before DNFing, Kauffman and Kristoff didn’t quite manage it.


      1. I DNFed around the 20% mark at the point when I realised how much telling there was over showing. I was also reading it for a reading challenge and, at the point, I’d found a good alternative for that particular prompt so I didn’t see any point in continuing.


  3. You make some VALID points, but I just finished the series and I can tell you that though it was a chaotic pilot KEEP READING! Though the book’s formatting is much easier, in my opinion, comprehended like a show on Netflix, all of the switching perspectives are ESSENTIAL to keeping you on your toes for the final book! I don’t know though… Do whatcha want. This is just some food for thought. (You may have also changed your mind and read it so idk…)


    1. Thanks for the advice!! I gotta admit that I haven’t given the series another try, but I genuinely might after your comments 🙂 I’ll have to find out why everyone loves it so much! And I like the idea of thinking of it as a Netflix show – that works really well with the fast pace and cliff hangers and ‘teenagers played by 30 year olds’ vibe 😂


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