Aurora Rising – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Aurora Cycle #01

My book review of ‘Aurora Rising’ written by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

In my view

The first book in the series of the Aurora Cycle is a nice start! You are immediately drawn into space where a girl named Aurora is found.
Can you imagine a story about an interstellar adventure? Can you imagine a story about space battles in the future? Can you imagine a story about space exploration? Did some film and series titles like: Star Wars, Star Trek, Interstellar, Valorant or The Space Between Us pop up in your mind right now?

Immensely quick traveling in space through a fold. Black holes, a virus enveloped world, gigantic beasts, crowded cities. This is book is part of a series that combines it all!

Aurora : The name of the main character

The name Aurora immediately reminds me of Hans Zimmer’s song ‘Aurora’ which he composed in remembering of actor Heath Ledger with whom he worked with at the Batman films. It is definitely not the same as his other Aurora songs: ‘Aurora Borealis I’ and ‘Aurora Borealis II’ from the film Frozen Planet II. This Batman song is much darker and suspenseful. More spacelike? The song on Spotify is introduced with a small speech from Hans Zimmer himself about the story behind it.

You can listen to the song here at Spotify:

Or you can watch the live performance here on YouTube:

The name Aurora means in Latin ‘dawn’. And it is also often part of the reference to ‘Aurora Borealis’. But the song of Hans Zimmer and his speech before it, is what came to my mind first. Back to the book.

The girl Aurora is brought to a space station, also known as the headquarters of The Aurora Academy. Where lots of students are trained to become a member of a Aurora Legion Squad. Does this have something to do with the just found and turned up Aurora character? Not clear in the book to me. Maybe not yet clear and will it become more obvious (or not) later in the series).


What is made clear throughout the book is the main character and most important side characters specifications.

A squad consists of:

  • A squad leader: the Alpha
  • A diplomat/negotiator: the Face
  • A pilot/transporter: the Ace
  • A mechanic/engineer: the Gearhead
  • A tactician in combat: the Tank
  • A medician/scientist: the Brain

The names for these functions are a bit funny and not always clear but it gives some amusement to the story, also in their conversations and actions. The squad in the book is as follows: Tyler is the Alpha, Scarlett is the Face, Cat is the Ace, Finian is the Gearhead, Kiliian is the Tank, Zila is the Brain and Aurora is special and an extra squad member.

Each student aims to become the best student and therefor the become part of the best squad. An interesting core life question here is: what defines the best squad? What defines the best group of people? What defines the best bunch of random people? Each character has its strenghths and its flaws. And definitely a clear distinctive personality and background. I love this way of character building!

The most intriguing and mysterious character, though you read a lot about her in the first part of the book, is Aurora herself. She stays the most mysterious character throughout the book. Not that shallow since you get to know her opinions about other characters. But her opinion on her actions and the combats they encounter and just in whole: the adventure itself. What she thinks about that is a bit vague.


The writing style is very nice. There is a clear distinction between the story, the conversations and the thoughts of the characters. In fact they converse a lot. Each chapter is written from the point of view of one of the characters so this type of writing gives some differentiation. Halfway the book it is more distinctive since the characters are in different places and encounter different challenges. It is quite equally divided though the character building is quite strong for this first book. I hope the sequel of this book builds upon the strong character building that has taken place in this first book.

Book Facts

The series ‘The Aurora Cycle’ is also called a ‘Space Opera’. A term I have not encountered before. It encapsulates space exploration and interstellar adventures in a futuristic setting as well as epic battles in space.

Another interesting fact I have not stumbled upon very often is: Team Dynamics. Since the main characters are so diverse and some feel like a misfit as a person in a whole or feel like a misfit in the team itself, quite some thoughts and conversations highlight this underlying topic.

Dystopian is also one of the themes/genres this book ticks off. It is futuristic, it is fiction but not fully unthinkable: see how much we’ve already learned about black holes and the growth and shrinkage of stars in our universe in just a couple of human years which is very small compared to the age of the earth and the universe.

Worldbuilding is the last thing this book really ticks off besides the obvious themes and genres. The worldbuilding in this book is really strong since you get to know a couple of places, their characteristics and their inhabitants and the challenge each of them hides.

The Conclusion

This book is a teenage / young adult book. As a teenager you can dream of this example of achieving your goals and being the best authentic version of yourself. And as a young adult you want to hold on to it: if you have not chosen the right path for you – choose again, life is life and it’s precious. And if you’re not a teenager or young adult, you’ll get devoured in this fantastic build up fantasy science-fiction futuristic story.

All in all: the universe and it’s science is fascinating in general! And I love how this book activates your imaginary mind and brings you along this futuristic fantasy. Amazing!

Book Facts:

Title: Aurora Rising – Aurora Cycle #01
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Genre: Fantasy / Fiction / Romance / Science-Fiction / Space
ISBN: 9781984893956
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf | Imprint of Random House Children’s Books
Year 1st edition & read edition: 2019 | 1
Year read: 2023
Original title & language: English
Read language: English
Pages: 470
Places: Space in the future
Rating: 9 / 10
Filmed: Not yet

I hope you like the book too. It is worth to read it! I am not telling about the story too much, you have to read the book yourself and make your own opinion.

Enjoy reading!

Loves from Sophie

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