When Aurora went to space, she didn’t think that she would wake up from cryo 200 years later. Squad 312 also didn’t think that they would have to save this girl and run from people trying to kill her. In short, Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is an emotional roller coaster ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
It all starts with Tyler Jones, the Alpha of Squad 312. He’s the golden boy of Aurora Academy, never breaking the rules and always trying his best. He also has some killer dimples. Killer dimples that get him stuck saving Aurora from the long lost colony ship she was on. He could have died saving her, but Tyler is too good to not do the right thing even if it finally means breaking the rules.
While saving Aurora, Tyler misses Aurora Academy’s draft, his opportunity to get the Squad of his life and is instead stuck with the rejects that were never chosen. His squad consists of:
Scarlett, the Face. She’s Tyler’s twin sister, and without her, he’d probably be dead. She also has a knack for diplomacy and getting her Squad out of most of their bad situations.
Cat, the Ace. The sharpest shooter from the Academy, gaining the nickname ‘Zero’ for the number of shots she missed. She has badass tattoos and the zero craps given attitude to match. She might also have a small crush on her Alpha. Just don’t tell anyone.
Finian, the Gearhead. The first alien of the squad. He’s Betraskan; Pale skin, white hair, and completely black eyes. He also has an exosuit for his mobility issues, but with his brains and sarcasm, you wouldn’t even be able to tell if anything was wrong.
Kal, the Tank. The second alien who is just a tan Legolas with silver hair and purple eyes. He’s Syldrathi, a race that is stoic and thinks they’re better than you. He also, as the author Amie Kaufam so beautifully put it, “could kill you with his little finger.”
Zila, the Brain. She’s a bit weird, to say the least. Or maybe a better word for it is scary. She’s gotten over 30 reprimands, one of the cases being when she shot someone with a disruptor pistol just as an experiment. She might be smart, but she’s also a psychopath.
And finally Aurora, the Girl Out of Time. The girl who woke up to discover she was the catalyst for a war a million years in the making. Will she be able to help Squad 312? Or will she only cause them more trouble with her new abilities?
In my opinion, Aurora Rising is a solid 4.5/5 stars. It’s a good book with original characters and worth the read. One of the reasons for my rating is Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s ability to switch between each character’s perspective with a fair amount of ease. Sometimes the characters voices would fall a bit flat, making difficult to figure out who was speaking if you set the book down for a bit. But for the most part, the perspectives stayed consistent and interesting. The chapters where this was most clear were Zilas, who only has three chapters in total, the longest being two pages. It was a smart choice on the author’s parts. Not only does it make her thought process more of a mystery, but it helps you get into the other characters shoes when they observe her.
The authors were also able to make a fairly original sci-fi universe, only riffing off of a few things like Guardians of the Galaxy and Firefly. This does cause the story to have a familiar atmosphere, but they still make the story their own. Squad 312 might be an homage to Guardians, but none of the characters have any personalities similar to each other. Unless you count Finian having similar sarcasm to Rocket.
I will say that the main reason the book is enjoyable and eye-catching is because of the characters. They all get a lot of development because of the switches in perspective, making their goals and reasoning behind them more obvious. You can also relate to most of them in some way, giving you a reason to root for them. The characters are why I’m excited for the next books in the series. Why I want to stick with the story and see how it will end. Because Aurora and Squad 312 are what make the adventures exciting, even if it’s the standard sci-fi trope.